Are you ever grown up enough to not feel like a child with your parents? I am sitting here wishing I felt strong enough, grown enough, to let my parents just be two people I know, and not two people whose actions profoundly affect me. Once again, they are in marital turmoil. My mother is borderline suicidal, completely hysterical. I haven't spoken to my father, but at the moment I am not sure I want to.
The background: my father is out of town at a jazz festival. The day after he left his girlfriend called my mother, to announce her existence. She called every day, several times a day. She was upset, because she believes my father is with another, different girlfriend. My mother did not know my father was cheating. AGAIN. My father has called to confess, now that he has been caught out. He is not particulary contrite. He initially agreed to marriage counseling, but has called back to say he doesn't know that he can do that.
My mother is 76 years old. She has no job skills. She has no income. She is in poor health. My father is 67. He is also not in great health. He has very little income, and much of it is not documented.
I am trying not to judge who is right or wrong here. Their life is a mess, their marriage problems their own. Except. Part of me is feeling 11 years old, finding out about my father's first affair. That time was a long term one, with my mother's best friend. A woman I called "aunt" and adored. I feel angry all over again, feeling that my life has been turned upside down.
I was supposed to host a joint birthday party this upcoming weekend for my father and my mother-in-law, who share the same birthday. I don't know if I can do it now. My mother wants me to have the party, but she will not attend. She doesn't want anyone to know why. I don't feel particularly like celebrating, and I can't really tell people why I am cancelling, if I cancel.
I am freaking out that I may have to support my mother, with whom I have a rather uncomfortable relationship. I have visions of future holidays, all minefields of hurt feelings. How do I explain to my son what is going on with grandma and grandpa? I know my mother is really hurting. But I also know she is a difficult woman, and I have never understood how my father has hung in all these years...I feel guilty for not being more sympathetic, and for being focused on how this all affects ME and my family.
I want Ozzie and Harriett to be my parents. I want a Norman Rockwell kind of life. I want to wake up and have this all be a bad dream.