Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Parental Relations

So, there hasn't been a lot going on around here lately. I've got two straight weeks of summer vacation where I don't have any obligations to workshops or conferences. Cleaning the apartment has been on the top of my to-do list. And I'm sure you don't want to hear about my adventures with laundry. So, I figured I'd continue on with another Thirty Things post. Today's topic:

#3. Describe your relationship with your parents.

I think all of us have unique relationships with our parents. But, we all go through the same phases in life: As infants, we rely on our parents for everything. As children, we're looking for ways to become more independent. As we become teenagers, we think we're right about everything, our parents are out to make our lives miserable, and we rely more on our peers for advice. Then we become adults and realize that maybe our parents aren't that bad after all, and that they we're only doing what they felt was best for us. Taking all of that into consideration, I figured I'd skip over most of the "growing up" phases and jump right into present day.

But first, I should probably let you know that my parents divorced when I was in first grade. I was maybe 6 years old? Can't really remember anymore. My Dad never remarried. My Mom dated a man named Paul for many, many years after the divorce. They finally got married when I was a freshman in high school. Because it took so long for them to get married, my brother and I never learned to call him "dad" or any other form of the word. He was simply "Paul." And that was by his choice; he always said that we already have a Daddy and he didn't want to take that away from him. And his kids call my mom "Nancy" rather than some form of "mom" for the same reason.

Now that you have some background...

My Dad

I would describe my relationship with my Dad as distant, mainly due to miles. Right after the divorce, my brother and I would get to see Dad every other weekend. But, he eventually moved back to Georgia to be closer to his side of the family, which meant we didn't get to see him as often. I think because of this, we have always had a somewhat superficial relationship. 

I worry about him. Mainly about his health. And I worry about his financial status. Sometimes I wish there was more that I could do to help him. But it's hard when we live 5 hours apart from each other, and I know can only do so much. It still doesn't stop me from feeling guilty though. It doesn't stop me from feeling like I'm not doing enough.

He lives in a place where cell phone reception is nonexistent, so we don't get to talk often. He's usually the one who calls first. It never seems like we get to the "deeper" or "bigger" issues in our conversations because we're so busy catching up on the day-to-day stuff that happened since the last time we talked. But, he asks a lot of questions about what is going on in my life and in the hubby's life, which really shows that he cares.

My Mom & Paul

Of my three parents, I'm probably the closest to my mom. It's probably because of the whole mother-daughter relationship thing. But I think it more has to do with the fact that I always respected my mom for everything she did (and continues to do) for my brother and I. 

Recently I asked if she was experiencing "empty nest syndrome" since I was the last kid to move out. She said no, except for when she gets in a mood to go shopping and she doesn't have anyone to go with her. But considering the fact that I call her all the time, it's as though I'm not that far from home. I probably call her two or three times a week. Sometimes for something specific. But usually for no reason at all.
I would describe my relationship with my stepdad as strained. Only recently has it gotten better. We argued a lot. Sometimes it was my fault. Sometimes it was his. Sometimes I don't know what even started the arguments. We don't agree on many things. But now I've learned to accept it, smile and nod, or walk away. Growing up, though, my stubborness got the better of me the majority of the time. I think moving out and living on my own has been the best thing for our relationship. It's given me the ability to look at him from a different point of view.

Continuing with the family theme, I'll be back tomorrow with more of an inside look into our family dynamic and how it has changed over time. But, in the meantime, let's talk about your family. Do you get along with your parents better now that you're older? Or have you always had a great relationship with them?

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