Ambivalence

April 22, 2007 at 8:07 AM (family) (, , )

I read a great post yesterday. From someone who’s public blogging face shows that they love their kid.

They don’t disguise convienience as love. They don’t want to be viewed as a sainted martyr or some other lousy stereotype for raising an autistic child. No one will write some horrific news story about how their child was neglected or abandoned. They love their kid. That’s it. I’d imagine they have daily stresses and concerns related to this, and had some anguished days when they first knew the score and days when they are frustrated with their life…not the child, but the life….but that’s just an adjustment. And the loving ones make it quickly.

****************************************************

My mother loves me too.

But…

Imagine a late 1950’s living room 46 or so years ago. Two good looking barely twentysomethings are sitting on a couch. The guy has a deer in the headlights look on his face, and the girl is perhaps the most terrified she’s ever been up to this point.

She hasn’t been able to tell her father yet. But she’s pregnant, and it was quite unplanned.

Her father and his father are facing each other across the room. Her mom is standing terrified in the kitchen doorway unable to make a sound. His father is there. I never knew him, seems he died of a hard living heart attack after I was born, but before I was out of the incubator.

I imagine him as the coolest looking guy on the block with unfashionably unruly hair, the requisite fedora,  and my uncle’s killer smile (that was something of a family trait.)

Cool Guy said to the Engineer: “Well, it looks like these kids are going to have a baby.”

The Engineer started toward the young man bent on physical harm. He asked a question, none too nicely about the young man’s knowlege of prophylactics.

Cool Guy stepped between his son and physical harm, no longer quite so jovial.

“*** Sit down. We’re going to settle this like civilized people.”

After some discussion that I’m not privy to, Cool Guy and his son left.

The Engineer sat down with his daughter sometime between that night and her marriage, and said. “***, you know you don’t have to marry this boy…”

I know he offered to have her stay with them *with the child in tow* and they would help her raise it.

Adoption may have also been discussed. I don’t know about that.

This post will no doubt raise questions about whether abortion was discussed. That’s not the point and I’d prefer not to go down that track, except to say my understanding is that it was not considered by the girl, the guy or either set of parents. I don’t know why, and I’d rather not examine that.

They liked each other. It wasn’t love. They married.

And, I showed up premature, the cause of my CP.

He started drinking.

And that twenty year old girl lost:

A teaching career. She did get her master’s in math but was unable to use it as planned.

Any time to handle adult self discovery without a baby to consider.

And a romance with someone she fully loved had to be delayed and deferred.

And gained the 17 year long suffeirng trying to undo daily damage done by an alcoholic husband.

She loved me. And resented me. She protected me. And was bitter about what my existence cost her. She liked me. And tried to control me. She laughed with me. And was angry when I had less empathy than she thought I might. She pushed me when I needed to be pushed. And often expected perfection from someone who would never be. She taught me. I taught her. There was a lot of putting my needs first in the early years, and a lot of open selfishness later on.

Most of those tough changes would have affected her *whether I was disabled or not.* It was the unplanned pregnancy that drastically altered the *course* of her life, and then, when the diagnosis came, when I was four…she thought that made her even more permanently trapped, I imagine.

If I could use a time machine, and travel back, hold up a giant signpost for her during this time in my life, I’d go back, roll my wheelchair up to the large back windows of my home, and hold up a sign: “It’s Not The Kid’s Fault that She’s Here at All or That She Has CP.”

And I can’t stand that I’ll never really know where the bitterness stopped and the love started.

Love was there. Definitely I’m not denying that. But how much got overshadowed by her percieved losses….to be married to an alchoholic… have an unplanned child, *and* have it be disabled.

In those earliest days, some further family members gave her unflattering names, and wagged their fingers *really believing* my disability was the result of her “sin.”  But she was still beautiful, smart, and beloved, and so soon into it, that stopped.

And the grandparents, great grandmother, aunts cousins on both sides… *never* treated me as anything less than someone they loved and enjoyed…

When a parent loves a kid without complications, it’s clear and obvious to the kid, and helps the kid all the way through to being a grownup, and beyond.

Complications made things murky for me. And are part of the reason why I feel ungrounded, uncertain, sometimes.

Advertisements

2 Comments

  1. Attila the Mom said,

    Thanks so much for linking me and commenting.

    You know it’s just so hard—on one hand, I can usually find some empathy or understanding in myself when thinking of those whose views and experiences are so different from mine when faced with a similar situation. Sometimes I can’t. I have to try to make allowances for cultural or generational differences.

    I’m ashamed to say that I’m just not always that big of a person. 😦

  2. I’m supposed to have been here « Midlife And Treachery said,

    […] I know.  I wasn’t planned for by either parent. Yes, I know, I wasn’t sought after.  Yes, I know that my late father castigated my mother […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: