Well, I'm going to let you all in on some history of who I am, and how I came to be.
I'm the oldest of two boys. My brother is 4 1/2 years younger than I am.
My parents are still married, and are headed for their 40th wedding anniversary pretty soon.
But I'm going to let you all know about something that I touched on in my earlier post.
I'm a liar.
Yes, that makes me a bad person, doesn't it?
If you think that, then you can stop reading now.
If you want to find out how I came to be this way, then feel free to read on.
Growing up, I was taken care of by my grandparents. Both of my parents worked full-time jobs, and usually put in TONS of overtime, so we didn't really get to see them much. I'd go to school, get out of school, head home, do homework, eat dinner, then get picked up by my mom and head home in time to take a bath or shower, and get to bed. I'd hardly ever see my dad when it wasn't a weekend.
Then the time came when my mom decided that I was going to be old enough to be home by myself. I was 10.
I was given a list of things that I was expected to do once I got home. Here's the list:
1. Start dinner. This was then to be ready to serve at 5. If it was later, spanking.
2. Start a load of laundry. Clothes needed to be washed daily. If fresh laundry wasn't done, spanking.
3. Clean the house. A literal white-glove test was done each night. Failure meant a spanking.
4. Vacuum. If there wasn't fresh tracks in the green shag carpet from my vacuuming of the house, a spanking would be forthcoming.
5. Clean dishes and empty out dish washer. Failure to comply will result in a spanking.
6. Homework. Any non-passing grade will result in severe penalties.
7. Shower - Quickly. Anything over 5 minutes spent in the shower will result in a spanking.
This was my routine from the time I was in 5th grade. I'd get home, and make sure that dinner was ready and going. Then I'd run through the house, pick up all the laundry I could find, and start a load. Once that was done, I'd grab the Pledge and a rag and start wiping down each and every surface I could find. Then I'd grab and start vacuuming the carpets and floors. Once that was done, it was usually time for dinner. The table would be set, and we'd eat. Then i'd clean up the table, wash dishes, and put them away. That would then leave me just enough time to sit down at the table to do my homework, and get it finished. Once done, I'd jump into the shower, scrub, and get ready for bed.
I can't tell you how many times I was spanked, to be honest. Things like finding a line of dust on the coffee table because I was a bit careless, or a piece of crusted-on food that I couldn't get out of the crack of a tupperware lid (I still hate those things!), or one section of carpet that didn't look like it had been vacuumed.. All these things led to spankings.
Needless to say, I got used to them, and they didn't really faze me one I hit middle school.
Now at this point my mom was at a very stressful time in her career. She worked as a nurse, and the hospital that she'd been working at was bought out by the larger hospital in town. Because of this, she had to relocate her job, lost her seniority, and was busted down to "new hire" status.
This led her to come home at night in really foul moods.. Which she would then find an outlet in beating me.
However, because of my lack of response in getting spankings, she then resorted to more "creative" ways to punish me. Plus, she found more things for me to be responsible for.
I recall one time being beaten with the rolling pin she used to make bread and pie dough with..
I also remember the time I'd been told that I could go play with a friend, only to be told just after she got home that I was going to stay home. I argued, and then was knocked out. I found out later that she'd ripped the top off of a piano bench, and belted me alongside my head with it. This resulted in my being taken to the hospital to be treated for a concussion and minor skull fracture. My mom's explanation? I had been playing football in the street, and dove for a catch - hitting my head on the curb.
No questions were asked, because she was a fine upstanding member of the hospital, and it was an era of "don't ask, don't tell" as well.
Finally, I got my chance at freedom.
When starting High School, I found that I could get a job, if my parents signed a release form.
So, I took the form to my dad one weekend, and convinced him that I needed a job in order to pay my own way.
Once the dotted line was signed, I took it back to school, and got a release from them so that I could get work. Once I got my first three checks, I moved out of my parent's house.
I was VERY lucky in that I'd had an older friend who was willing to let me move in and stay with him. If not for that, I'm sure I would have been in some serious trouble. As it is, I still got into trouble, but I did manage to get through it all mostly in tact.
Yet because of the fact that I would get beaten for any failing, I developed a severe defense mechanism.
I'd get asked questions, and I'd make up an answer to avoid a beating. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it failed MISERABLY. Other times, it was ignored.
Yet this behavior was more like a "fight or flight" response. Any time some kind of confrontational challenge was issued, the response was almost immediate. Lie. Make it good. Memorize it. Recall for later stories.
Now, I'm not excusing my behavior. There really should be no reason to lie.
However, in my defense, I honestly feel that some of my lies probably saved my life.
Those times when my mother would come into the house, and you could feel the anger, rage, frustration and overall peevishness of the day washing off of her like heat from a furnace - those were days to make up really REALLY good lies.
You might ask yourself where my dad was in all of this? Working.
My mom didn't try to leave bruises, and when there were bruises, well, I'm a growing overactive boy, and things do tend to leave marks.
So, if he wasn't there to observe it, it was my word against my mom's.. Who do you think he'd believe?
Now? I cope with my mom, and I still try to keep the lines of communication open. However, there are serious times at their home when I can feel trouble brewing, and it is at those times when I'll pack up the wife and kids, and head for the safety of home.
Do I still love her?
Yeah. Of course I do. She's my mom.
Do I accept what she did?
Absolutely not. There's no excuse for it.
This is also one more reason why I love my wife. Because she's helping me to learn to be a much better parent than I grew up learning from. Now? I can parent with love instead of discipline. I can discipline with moderation, not rage. And I can now say "I love you" to my kids without feeling semi-silly.
Anyway, that's my rant. I hope it didn't bore you. I'll have something less serious to talk about tomorrow!