Knowing a parent and what makes kids be good people

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Do you ever really know what kind of people your parents are when you are little? Now in my 30’s I’m finding out. I think in a family that had more contact I might have figured this out earlier, but due to recent circumstances I’m seeing  previously hidden depths to a family member that I already didn’t like but didn’t really have an active dislike for.

So, my grandfather died recently and there is some inheritance business. As my grandmother had died some years previous, he had intentions to change legal wording so that me and my siblings would be covered but didn’t get to it in time. Things are still up in the air (and thus I’m not publishing this until I get a copy of the trust myself), but last-minute legal changes were made. It’s a fingers crossed situation that my father won’t contest the new legal wording which will deprive me and my siblings of being covered under the inheritance. I’m not bothered whether anything comes my way or not. We are financially fine. My siblings could probably use it though. It’s just the intentions I guess. Relative intended (but procrastinated) for us to be covered. And my father may very well intend to deprive us of any cover.

Now I should have figured out my father wasn’t a great person from him leaving his wife and three children to go off and play happy families with someone else. But I’m not even mad anymore. I’ve been living with a pronounced sense of indifference to him for some years now. I guess I could, not like or understand, but accept that fathers leave families and that’s one level of scummy. But finding out that my father was more concerned with financial gain from his parent’s death than the actual death (and also depriving his first set of children further) is a bit jaw dropping for me. I think for my aunt and uncle as well. It makes me wonder what happened in his parenting that made him like that. My aunt and uncle are great people and their kids are all great as well. Moral, responsible, successful, working toward happiness and so on.

Of course it might not be anything. This has been weighing on my mind lately as my children get older. I don’t get on well with my mother and I am trying to figure out what she did to drive me away. I am so jealous of my cousins relationships with their mothers. I will never have that with my mother. It’s just too awkward and uncomfortable even if I were to bravely fake that level of camaraderie. I can hope and work to have that with my children though.

From all accounts my mother and I had a great parent-little kid relationship. At some point I grew to distrust her and dislike her and we will never be friends. I’m sure the things she was doing during the divorce didn’t help my opinion (she apparently knew my father was leaving her so she started enthusiastically sleeping around. Of course I had no idea what was going on in regards to my father and so I thought she was just being a bad person), and she did not deal well with my teenage years (I had little boundaries or discipline and nothing to rekindle trust in her. Frankly the only reason I turned out as ok as I did is because I had goals and I knew a pregnancy or arrest would interfere with my goals), also post divorce we were on welfare and poor, sometimes homeless. I have heard that girls drift from their mothers in their early teens and grow closer in their later teens. I had a tumultuous time with not understanding what my mother was going through in my early teens and then her not being relatable (I didn’t trust her, I would have never wanted to talk to her about anything scary or important. Still don’t really) in my later teens. I guess sometimes it can just be circumstance and a lack of following up. Of course I have heard tell that my father was a terrible teen and my grandparents kicked him out at one point. But all the time I was 12 and under we would go to my grandparent’s house and hang out with the rest of the family. So it’s not like he grew up and didn’t like them. Something eroded the closeness (in addition to distance) as an adult. Or perhaps he just chose his second family over his parents and siblings.

I just remember being three and a neighbor kid asked me if I liked my mother or father more, and when I was told I had to choose (kids can be mean) I cried because the idea of loving one of my parents less was too hard. I want my kids to have that forever. Oh I know that one or even both parents will go out of favor at times, but I want both of us to be important to them into their adulthood and beyond. Just today Thing 1 told me she wants to sit and cuddle with me forever (as I was grumbling at her for putting dinosaurs in my shirt and snuggling my arm while I was trying to eat breakfast). I hope I don’t take it too personally if she hates me every day during the teen years  (the closest she’s come at 3 is telling me that she’s not friends with me right now).

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