As a dad we want the best, OK … let’s get personal, ‘I’ want the best for my kids and I imagine them to be the best.
When they are growing up we have a sort of game plan on how things are going to turn out with tons of room for adaptation but always within a framework about which we are certain, within that we can allow just about anything and it’ll be fine.
Annoyingly, other human beings have a habit of developing their own agenda without consulting anyone else or considering that anyone else may have already mapped things out.
As parents we know we have to do the ‘tidy your room’ thing without ever seriously expecting them to think for themselves until they move out, that’s normal rebellion. We expect chores to be done and are surprised every now and then when we are right, that’s normal too. The point of all that silliness, all that which seems time consuming and wasteful is to hope that a little of this will rub off on them when they are in panic land soon after moving out. That suddenly this survival instinct will kick in and they’ll soon realise that the dick head who raised them may have had a point about the whole clearing up thing. Well, that’s frameworks for you and how fragile this whole parenting thing is. Thankless is the very best word I can use to describe it, totally and utterly a waste of effort and one of the most depressing experiences a person can have much of the time. I should by now be saying how rewarding it as well and how one counters the other but it really doesn’t. Sure, that may work with one, maybe two kids but not more than that because there is always one or two screwing up the way things should be.
Stupidity is one of the things which is hardest to cope with. Having perfectly good arguments for why exactly they should not do something then listening to them arguing back with some reasoning which effectively agrees with me but they are going to ignore it and do what is most fun anyway. Take smoking for just an example … as a dad there is very little I can think of which is worse than the thought of harm coming to my kids, it is the thing of nightmares. Matt smokes, he’s killing himself but he doesn’t care because the future is so far away it isn’t important. He says though, that if he has kids he’ll quit. His reasoning? Because he wouldn’t do anything to harm his kids! He totally fails to see where I am coming from when I say that … he wouldn’t harm one of his kids but he would harm one of mine?
Thankfully I am convinced he doesn’t think. If I thought he did then he’d be one heartless piece of work for sure. Most of the time I feel used and seriously abused by him. If I explain to him how he makes me feel he dismisses it because that’s my responsibility for being a parent … like I owe it to him as some form of compensation to be miserable whilst he has fun.
He still screws up with money boasting again of how he works and how he has got himself out of debt. He is now overlooking the £900 windfall he got recently which all but erased his debt and also how he would have been totally out of debt had he not, within a week, spent no small amount on stuff he could barely justify and the bulk on stuff he couldn’t justify at all. Following on from that, I am made to feel bad for mentioning I think it is unfair when I am in so much debt that he is prepared to see me furnish his new flat getting in a lot of debt whilst he goes out buying new clothes and drinking. To make matters worse, I am at home relaxing whilst he is out drinking and, no doubt, smoking … and I am asked to get up, leave the comfort of my lounge and go down town to pick him up … after this I find out it isn’t just him, it is Anne too and he chooses this moment to ask if it is all right for her to stay. I like Anne, I don’t really mind her staying, that isn’t really my point. What I am saying is that it is all expected. He is still using guilt trips he should have grown out of years ago. I did that, picked them up, they said thanks then went upstairs to Matt’s room and didn’t so much as offer to make me a coffee! I simply cannot imagine a day or time when Matt makes any effort to make any of this up to me and no, this is not ‘normal’ parenting. This is way above and beyond what the role of a parent should be when there are two people involved, both earning and me paying out whilst in debt to ferry them about.
Daisy is not a lot better. Chores are getting done right now not because she feels it is the right thing to do but because she knows she doesn’t get to go out Thursday if she doesn’t do them. By Friday she’ll be back to normal again and not doing what she is told whilst expecting he social life needs to be met in full. I am not stupid, I have seen this so many times before I know how it works.
Zoey, on the other hand, is actually one of the better kids. Sure, she throws strops and tantrums but she seems to think and she genuinely appears to care without expecting anything by way of return. I simply cannot think of a time when I thought Zoey was sucking up to me to get something. If there was such an occasion then it wasn’t devious, she’d have been painfully obvious about it.
This is what I dislike so much about the way Daisy and Matt operate, it is so underhanded like there is some sort of battle going on between us with them constantly fighting to get what they want with minimum cost in effort and regardless of anyone else. I so don’t want to hear any more how I should feel bad that their mother has to pay out for stuff every now and then! She has done hardly anything over the years yet seems to have the love and respect from the kids all the same for that. I guess that is the beauty of being the ‘when I feel like it’ parent. All the advantages without the shit that deserves them.
More and more these days I just consider giving up all which is familiar to me (except for John) and heading off somewhere, just walking away from this because one of my biggest fears if going on for more and more years like this and then realising I am too old before it becomes easier or even worse, that my time has got very short. I don’t want to just be remembered as a guy that could seemingly cope with everything, a real hero or anything like that … I want to be remembered as the guy that knew how to live, knew how to have fun and knew how to relax. I am currently none of those things. I am a mess acting a part which others would have me act.
My kids refuse to grow up and probably see me as just a challenge to be worked. In most cases I am on the ‘B’ list of life. Many know I exist but don’t care that I do … with a few exceptions.
Don’t allow this to confuse … I know there is love there from my kids but knowing it and feeling it are not the same thing. When someone is let down as often as I am let down, been promised things and had them taken away again as often as I have, it is difficult if not impossible to believe that someone really cares in the way which makes them show it before the funeral because, by then, it is too late. I won’t give a shit.
I think I have said this before but … when is it my turn?
This is a problem with kids in general, with me most certainly in the case of my own mum … there is no perceivable end to life. Everything can wait until tomorrow because there always is a tomorrow. The problem with getting older is the realisation that tomorrow can turn painfully into yesterday.
I cannot say my mum’s life was wasted but would she have known that? I cannot ever remember saying I loved her, not outright like it was a revelation to me. I always assumed she knew yet, you know, I wasn’t perfect, she wasn’t perfect. Right up until the end she was trying to protect me but I didn’t see it. I didn’t even see she was near death because she was my mum and parents don’t die, they are out rock and they must always be there and then she wasn’t. For the first time in my life I had to really grow up and I had no support, not really. No one who didn’t have an agenda. My mum never ever from anything I can put together had an agenda for me except to love me and when shortly before she dies, I refused to do one simple task for her, I through that back in her face.
Of course, I don’t expect to be dead any time soon and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. But then, I doubt she thought she would be dead any time soon either. As much as I loved my dad and still do, I have never felt I was ever on his A, B or C list. There has never been a time I can remember when he really made an effort to tell me he was proud of me. Despite that I spent years trying to impress him. I loved mum and didn’t show it, how like my Dad I must have been then?
I try to show it with my kids, I try so hard but basically I just feel foolish because I sense they would see it as weakness and use it against me to get another concession. I wish I was wrong but parents get used by kids, it’s the way of things, not all parents can cope with it from so many kids for so many years and cope with the major decision making single handed. I have had partners but I have been the one pulling the parenting strings and under really difficult circumstances. Sure, the kids have helped out with Jermaine issues but they never had the pressure of it all, the real pressure and the meetings and the fights, campaigns, letter writing, phone calls and the constant thoughts of ‘what if?’ That’s a level of parenting none of us sign up to when we decide on being parents and yet I have had more than my fair share of it.
This coming week is my chance to unwind and forget, just for a short few days what my life is. I so need to do that without any reminders except for my mind of what I have left behind. That way I may come back feeling differently but, let’s be honest with myself, it can only ever be a sticking plaster and short of a miracle, these wounds will stay with me the rest of my life and frankly, that scares me yet …. all it takes is others to really think and see the whole picture and not just their little piece of it.
No apologies for the length because I neither ask nor expect anyone to read this. If someone does then fine but it is entirely for my own sanity, to make me feel better by writing things down