My parents were divorced by the time I was five, and I have no recollection of a time when they were together. And my mother moved to Pennsylvania by the time I was in High School, and she passed by the time I was 19.
As a young child, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. I lived with my paternal grandmother for a number of years, and I spent a lot of time with my other set of grandparents as well. My grandmothers did a lot of the heavy lifting of raising me and providing me with strong maternal influences. They taught me a lot about how to conduct myself as a compassionate person, among a million other things. I can never express to them how grateful I am and how lucky I feel to have grown up in the way I did.
My dad remarried when I was in middle school, and I was strongly, and foolishly, opposed to it. I was asked to stand up with my father and I refused, something I really regret to this day. On that wedding day, my dad’s best man, my sister’s godfather, my pseudo-uncle, gave me some advice that I have not forgotten. He told me that it was okay to be angry and emotional, that those things were a part of life. But he told me that when something happens we can either be angry about it or we can accept it and make the best out of it.
I’ve mentioned before that I was an angry child, and to be perfectly honest, I doubt anything made me angrier than this wedding. Although I have to admit it was less about the fact that my dad was remarrying, and it wasn’t at all about the person he was marrying, it was about me. I was angry that my voice wasn’t being catered to. I felt like if I opposed this wedding it shouldn’t happen; that my opinion should matter that much. It was about me not having control of what was happening in my life, and the lives of my family.
I don’t remember exactly when it started, or how long it lasted, but I was not very good to my stepmom, in fact I was a miserable pain in the ass. She had taken on a lot, trying to slide into a family that was pretty well formed and had been working in that way for years. I can’t imagine doing that. I can’t imagine how much fear and anxiety I would go through attempting to do that. I’ve never really talked to her about it but I am sure it was plenty difficult. And me being me, I tried my hardest to make it as bad as possible.
By the time I was well into high school things mellowed out between us and we started to build a relationship. I continued to fight with her, and my father of course, but overall things were better. By the time I was well into college things were really rather nice between us. She was tremendous for my sister and I when my mother passed. She was supportive in my studies and me moving out for the first time.
And outside of a few scuff ups that have happened since then, including times you would expect that kind of thing, like wedding time and baby time, things, to me at least, have been really good.
She was a tremendous help and extremely generous and gracious for our wedding shower and wedding. She was probably the most excited person when we revealed we were pregnant. She has been an amazing help with babysitting my daughter, and from the times I have seen her and Jocelyn together, she is already an amazing and involved and loving grandmother.
And to be perfectly honest, the times that we have had problems in our recent past, have mostly been times when she was upset because she wanted to be MORE involved, or wanted to make sure she was making the moment MORE special for my family.
It is amazing to me that she is like that towards me after everything I did to her. She gave me her car when I turned 16. She chose to put me through college, an extremely expensive college no less. She chose to help pay for my wedding, which wasn’t cheap either. She has given a ton of her time to help babysit. She was there for me and taking care of me when I was staying with her and my father during my ECT treatments.
Despite the darker side of our past, I’m pretty excited for our future.