May 15, 2009

The Other Shoe

Lately I've been thinking about cycles.

In my family, there's a history of fatherless children. My mom's dad died when she was two, and my dad became severely unable to be a father when I was three. My dad's father died when he was in his early 20s.

This means that not only did/do I not have a satisfactory relationship with my own father, I also had a non-existent relationship with each of my grandfathers since they had both passed away long before I was born.

The only real strong male figures in my life growing up were my brother and my uncle Charles. And when I say "only," I don't mean that in a negative way, only in a way meant to illustrate that there was an absence in my life growing up where a dad should be. I don't blame my dad; his condition is not his fault. It's circumstances, really.

As a result (and with a lot of work), I have grown up to be quite the independent woman. I know how to take care of myself, and I know I don't need a man to define me. So far it appears that I've beaten the odds. I am happily married to a man who is more than willing to let me be my own headstrong, independent self. I've got it made, to be honest.

But I am afraid. This whole time I've been wondering if this is all too good to be true. How did I actually end up in a functional and happy marriage? I have quite the laundry list of dysfunctional boyfriends and relationships preceding this marriage; how did I beat those odds and manage to get into something so....well, good?

I can't help but feel that something has got to go wrong. Surely I was not meant to be happy. Surely I don't deserve to have a normal life complete with lazy Sunday afternoons and family dinners, a baby boy whose room is painted blue, and a husband who makes me mac and cheese whenever I want it. Surely something is going to come along and screw it up.

I am most scared that Charlie (and our other children) will have to suffer through what I lived through: the lack of love from a parent. I want so badly for everything to work out. It doesn't have to be perfect. The house doesn't have to be Donna Reed clean; we don't have to have a ton of money in the bank; and those fantasy vacations may be put off indefinitely. But really, all I want is the guarantee that our kids will always have both of us, for better or for worse - and that I won't be left without Roy as my husband and best friend.

Ten years ago, if you would have asked me about family, I would have said, "Eh, I can take 'em or leave 'em." But now family is everything.

If I were a praying woman, my prayer would be this:

Please do not take my everything. Please don't allow this painful cycle of fatherless children to continue. Please help me to stop fearing abandonment. Please help me to stop waiting for something bad to happen. Please let me keep my normal and happy life. Please do not take my everything.

I want the cycle broken. And I want to stop feeling the sorrow that I felt as a child, knowing that my dad would never be able to love me the way I needed to be loved. I want to stop fearing this for my own children.

More than anything, I just want to stop waiting for that other heavy shoe to drop.


kim said...

I can totally understand your fear, but I know in my heart that the cycle has been broken already for you. Enjoy it! Charlie will have two parents who love and adore him.

You have what a lot of people don't, and for that, you are really lucky. :)

Erika said...

I know how you feel.....its going on 6 1/2 years after my dads death and i STILL feel like I'm waiting for that shoe to drop.

My cousin says my aunt Lydia son, which is my dads nephew says, don't ever think you going to be OK with one day you wake up and it would never affect you ever again..... because it wont just have to learn how to put it in the back of your mind and try to deal with it as best as possible.

And he is right....I'm still trying to ignore that little voice inside my head and make the best out of a REALLY sucky situation.

JennB said...

First off, dysfuction is one of those relatives terms, so quit worrying about that nonsense. Second, make sure that you don't spend your time waiting for that shoe to drop, or you might miss some really important stuff. It's all the little moments in life that build the big ones.
I still think that one great parent is a ton better than two crappy parents, or one good parent and a crappy parent. Charlie is lucky, he's getting two great parents.

ok that comment probably made no sense. No more commenting after three glasses of wine

Bex said...

I am all for breaking cycles, and I know you'll do it. I often feel the same way as you though- I feel like things are really good and somehow it can't last forever. That's the pessimist in me :)

alejna said...

I've had this post open in a window for days now, meaning to come back and leave a comment.

I hadn't read that post about your father before. I guess I met you a bit after you posted that. What a sad story. I'm so sorry about the loss that you and your family have gone through.

I spent much of my life also expecting the other shoe to drop. My father died when I was 6, and both grandfathers had died when I was 4. Other men (including some stepfathers) weren't around long, either. Not having had men in my family in a stable way, I didn't really expect that I'd ever have a longterm relationship with a man. I kept expecting something to go wrong. But here I am now, and I'm happily married to a man who's been in my life for over 17 years.

I'm not sure when I stopped worring about the other shoe. I guess I've just accepted that there is no design to all of this, that maybe there is no other shoe. I have as much chance at things working out as anyone else.

I wish you continued happiness. You deserve it and have as much chance as anyone else of getting it. Maybe even more!

Leslie said...

Kim - Yes, I really am lucky. I am reminded of it every single day.

Erika - I'm so sorry for the loss of your father. I do know that pain, although my situation is different. It's nice to know that someone can relate, but at the same time, I don't want anyone to be able to relate, know what I mean?

Jenn - No, I get what you mean. I definitely am not a wallower, and I don't dwell on what could happen. But there are times when I am completely sideswiped by my feelings of fear and abandonment. I just try not to give into them too much.

Bex - I think that it's realistic to recognize that things won't always be great. I can handle that. I just fear the tragedies.

Alejna - Thanks. I can't adequately put into words how your comment makes me feel, but just know that I so appreciate your words.

amber said...

I just want to read through the computer and give you a big hug. Just because bad things have happened in the past doesn't mean your destined to have your future turn out the same way. I have a lot of faith that things are going to be just fine. {{hugs}}