Thursday, July 26, 2012
Today I went to Detroit to see my friend defend his dissertation. He was in the same program as me the same year I started, and so we got to be really good friends. I had a great time watching him defend, and I got to see some great friends - including Lynne (hi!) and my friend Bayley. I drank 2 pints of stout for lunch, actually drinking more than I ate, I think. It was a good time.
David had his parents, in-laws, grandma, and two aunts there, along with his wife and some friends. His dad made a great speech after lunch (which he all took us out to) and toasted David, saying how proud he was of him for being such a great person, too. I was really happy for David. He's got a great job lined up, and his wife has a great job lined up at Yale, and so they're going to be all right.
But seeing things like this - supportive, and loving families - reminds me of how my family isn't really there, and although I wouldn't say I was jealous or anything, it did make me resent my family a little bit more this afternoon.
When I was a kid, I didn't really realize how crappy my family was until I met my husband's family. Now, they are by no means perfect - they can be kind of douchey sometimes - but when I was 13, and actually sat down at a dinner table and we didn't sit in uncomfortable silence or through some awful degrading lecture about how someone was going to be a "sad little puppy" or something like that, and listening to arguing and screaming and crying all the time (well, Airin's sister was kind of whiny, but it's not the same thing)... I realized that I sort of wanted a real family like that (and later, I married Airin, and now I do have a family like that).
And my mom met her current husband at church, and I thought maybe he would be like the Beechnuts, but it turned out he never wanted me around, and I had to use the showers at my university to bathe because he didn't want me home when he was home, and I had to eat all my meals at Coney Island because I couldn't eat at home, etc... anyway... I guess on reflection ...
Seeing other people have great families reminds me how awful mine was. And that the older I get, the more I can look at them with some objectivity - I have some comparison - and wonder how the hell I turned out the way I did. Why I bother talking to them. And why, when I do talk to them, I don't tell them to go F*CK themselves sideways.
And I also see them still treating me badly, and rather than go along because that's considered normal and how things always are, I go along out of duty but with a lot of resentment. And I am starting to realize that I'm letting some of them, particularly my father, drift away. And that it doesn't really bother me because I'm not all that attached.
My mom and dad didn't come to my dissertation defense. My in-laws didn't go either. No aunts, no grandma. The only family that was there was Airin. My dad didn't go to my graduation. My mom and my aunt went, and my friends went. My dad went to his then-fiance's work holiday party.
I know I'm a crappy mom sometimes, but I do plan to be there for my children's graduation ceremonies, and maybe even their dissertation defenses. They might be sitting on their therapist's couch one day, explaining how I yell a lot, how I was impatient, and had exceedingly high expectations. They might tell the therapist about how I swore a lot, and that I wasn't particularly affectionate. But if they need a ride, I would be there to give it to them.