I’m continuing on with my exploration of what goes wrong in my relationships.
One of the biggest obstacles I’ve had is parenting and having a relationship.
Since before Master Owen (MO) was even born, I knew he wasn’t going to have the classic two-parent-relationship he deserved. Owen has never experienced life with two parents. Why, you ask? Well, quite literally, MO’s biological father and my former husband was incapable of being a father, plus his presence in our lives proved not only counterproductive to us but also harmful, due to his ongoing battle with drugs and alcohol.
I learned of my husband’s addiction problems about halfway through my pregnancy; I remember the exact moment it happened. I was about five months pregnant and scheduled on a 6am flight for a “last hurrah” vacation with my sister. At 2am, just a few hours before my flight, my husband woke me screaming and cursing; he had just been arrested for “possession with the intent to distribute”. According to him, It was a “bogus charge” and he was “going to fight it”, because he “had his pride to think about”. Seriously?!?
Well, I did what any sane, pregnant women would do; I told him to clean up his act and then I went on vacation.
He didn’t clean up his act, of course. He got worse. And I got more and more pregnant and, unfortunately, very sick. Sick to the point of being hospitalized sick. And then ordered on bed rest for the rest of my pregnancy. All while my indignant husband sat on a lawn chair in front of a chiminea gabbing on his cell phone, drinking and drugging and unable to work “because of the stress”. Oh? Did I mention he fueled his drug habits by siphoning money from our accounts and selling all of my jewelry?
The icing on the cake was the morning I went into labor and tried waking my husband to take me to the hospital. I was met with refusal that left me waiting for my sister to take me. The husband later admitted he was so high he couldn’t drive, but it didn’t stop him from being a total ass to me as I sat crying on the sidewalk with my Pullman suitcase.
So, by the time MO was born, I had prepared myself for being a single mother.
Yup! It was pretty clear it was going to be a “you and me against the world” scenario.
Sure there was help along the way. I had my two sisters’ and my dad’s help in the early days, but for the most part I managed on my own. In addition to caring for a newborn, I also had to care for my animals (two corgis and a bunch of cats) and a very old, large house, both inside and out. Remember I live in New England, so that means snow removal!
Add to that the enormous stress of fighting with my former employer over benefits I earned, having little to no income and dealing with some obnoxious in-laws and I was an enormous ticking time bomb.
Needless to say the first few years of MO’s life were not MY happiest. Just when one thing got resolved, another reared its ugly head. I was dealt several almost overwhelming blows in the decade that followed MO’s birth, the hardest of which was losing my father in 2011.
And through all of this, I realized I was always looking for a replacement father for MO. My needs did not matter as long as MO was happy. Which led to some pretty weird relationships as well as a few men taking full advantage of my situation. I labored under this delusion that Master Owen was missing out on something I was so grateful to have…that is a wonderful, healthy relationship with a stable and loving father.
It wasn’t until a few months ago that I realized–no matter how hard I tried–I could not be that for MO, but I could be something better. I could be what the late Nora Ephron so aptly described “the heroine of my own story”.
Which I have pledged to continue to be so long as I live.