finally seeing things

“You know who I’m really upset at?” Papa shouts from across the table. “Matty. That’s his mother. He should be ashamed of himself.”

“He’s only thirteen,” I answer. “He’s just following Katie’s lead. The people you really need to be upset with here and in just about any situation are the adults. The parents. Why can’t they ever take some responsibility for their own actions?”

I was on my second drink of the day. It wasn’t even two in the afternoon. We were gathered around a large table at a new German restaurant. We were talking about how my niece Katie had recently set fire to her mother’s wedding gown and posted the video on Facebook.

My dad was upset at the news of all of this. He didn’t see the video as Katie took the video down after her older brother called her out on it on Facebook. But Papa’s still very upset because the wedding gown wasn’t Katie’s to burn, it was my sister’s–Katie’s mother. So my dad, near 80, found it extremely disrespectful. “You don’t do these things with family.”

It’s hard not to agree with that.

But then when he says he’s “most upset” about what Matty allegedly did in the video–laugh and be present to the torching of the gown–because Matty is a child and should have more respect for his parent? That’s where I draw the line. Of course a child should have respect for his parents, but that respect needs to be taught and nurtured before it can be reciprocated.

“That’s like saying Jordan should be the one to talk to Marco when Marco was the one that walked out on Jordan,” I shouted.

Jordan looked at me and smiled. Not a Ha-Ha-Life-is-So-Grand smile but an Aint-that-Some-Shit smile… because his father (my brother Marco) walked out of his life when Jordan was all of 13, and eight years later, Papa thinks Jordan should be the one to contact Marco. Simply because Marco’s the parent. That is Papa’s reasoning. The parent trumps the kid, apparently. No matter the situation.

Fuck that, I say.

The parents are the ones who are the adults. The parents are the ones with the responsibility of setting good examples for their children…their children who are still learning and growing and absorbing oh so much.


My eyes are finally opening up to things I haven’t seen my whole life. For years and years I wondered how my siblings could be so self-absorbed to ignore my dad most of our lives. I wondered how I could be so different from them if we all grew up in the same household. But here’s the thing: they’re both very selfish–much like my parents. Seriously. What kind of parent lets their kids see them get arrested? What kind of parent gets wasted in front of their kids over and over again? Mine. But I’ve let it go because–get this–they’re my parents.

Man my eyes are opening up. Finally. At nearly 41, I’m starting to finally see things clearly–and it’s even uglier than I ever imagined it being.

I kind of wish I could go back to being blind to it all.

26 thoughts on “finally seeing things

  1. mamarific says:

    I totally hear you on this. Once I turned 40, and also became a parent myself, I started to see my parents through the eyes of an adult/parent, instead of a kid, and I didn’t like what I saw in one parent, in particular. It sure would be nice to go back to the time when “ignorance was bliss”, but I doubt that’s very healthy either. All we can do is break the cycle and turn things around for our own kids.

    • Absolutely! I’ve known forever that I would break the cycle. I had my doubts and worries here and there, of course (because honest to god my siblings both are repeating my parents’ lives to a T!), but I knew I’d break the cycle… it’s just odd that I’m now really SEEING what cycle I’m breaking. I don’t know if that makes much sense but that’s where I’m at right now. Thanks for reading & commenting. 🙂

  2. I’m sorry. But what a great thing you are doing by breaking the mold! I’m amazed by people like you who grew up difficult environments yet persevered. Go you!

  3. Amen. I don’t understand adults who expect adult behavior from children, particularly when they fail to demonstrate it. It is amazing what becoming a parent can do for perspective, isn’t it? I’m sorry you’re facing these things though. It’s hard to look back sometimes.

  4. I always knew the dysfunctional. What I didn’t learn until I was an adult, a middle-age adult is how deep the dysfunction runs. Incredible raw here. Kudos for getting naked. Most of us never have that kind of courage.

    • thanks so much LaTonya. I think that’s me. I wasn’t so much blind to the dysfunction in the past so much as just not realizing how deep it runs till now. Not fun realization.

  5. I believe in temporary blindness. I use that tactic when the bullshit overwhelms me and I need a break. It’s frustrating and sad to see adults – especially older ones- act and endorse immature behavior. You might be 40, but you might as well be 98 with all the wisdom you have and all the learning you are open to…..bravo!

  6. nataliedeyoung says:

    Shitballs. Seeing flaws (especially major flaws) in loved ones is so hard – especially when you get to the point where you can’t unsee them. Great reflection! I think I’d take your side in that argument.

  7. Christina, It is tough at any age to discover that your parents are not perfect and made/make bad decisions. I think that writing about them — and you write very well — is your therapy. Though many are sad, I enjoy your posts

  8. I’m totally with you. Just because they’re the parents doesn’t make what they do right. And like Natalie said, you can’t unsee things. Christina, even though this s such sad subject matter, you write it oh-so well. And powerfully!

  9. Everyone complains about the youth of today but nobody mentions who let them become the way they are. Parents have absolute accountability there, but no one accepts it.

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