Family Memories Reconsidered

One of you recently asked me why I’m so much closer to my mom. Why I tell more stories about her, post so many photos of her and so few of my dad.
The short answer is that she’s prettier.
The long answer is that my dad and I have been adversaries most of the time.

The truth is, my parents split when I was two.
They remarried when I was eight.

And I was at their second wedding, held at a friend’s house in Washington State. I was sobbing so hard that this friend took me into her kitchen. She hugged me at the formica table and told me that sometimes we cry when we’re happy, even if we don’t understand it.

But I knew she was a liar.

I was angry. For all those years, I had been the man of the house. I had taken care of my mom. I was a latch key kid. At age 7, I made my own dinner when she worked late, and walked the mile to and from school, alone.

I was a tough motherfucker. And I thought she noticed.

But then she just took this person back. This person who I hadn’t seen more than two or three times during the time they split. Who gave us so little in alimony that we never had enough food. (Of course, my mother’s lawyer had explained that she didn’t need a big settlement, because she was so pretty that she’d find another man soon enough.)

It felt like a betrayal.

But then sometimes you look at photographs and wonder if you got it all wrong somehow. A person can only give you what they have. It’s unfair to expect more. Now when I look at this picture, I see a fucked up guy who is struggling to do the right things, and fails most of the time. But he is trying. Shouldn’t that be enough?

Then again, if a picture is worth 1,000 words…who’s to say they’re the right ones?


2 thoughts on “Family Memories Reconsidered

  1. I once heard someone allude that we like to remember life through photos because we never take pictures of the tragedy. Every photo I have seen in my old stack is of people smiling or at a party. Weddings, not funerals. Graduation, anniversaries, etc. Although I agree people can only give what they are equipped to give, I really believe that they should be responsible for so much more. Every one has a story, every one has a crutch in the corner. Some of us choose to live forward instead of wallowing in the corner. And really, he may not have known how to be a dad, but he knows some basis of love. He knows he wants to be loved, therefore he should be able to attempt to give love. I think excuses are over rated. One thing I always disliked about my parents was how quick they were to take the credit for how well I turned out. They were always there for the photos, never for the living, if that makes any sense.

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