Parenting Styles

Of late, I have been thinking about this a lot. Not in respect to friends or aquaintances, but rather with regards to myself and my brother.

My bro and me are 7 years apart, with myself being the elder.

By the time my brother was born, my parents were already living in seperate homes. By 1982 they were divorced, truth be told I believe in was as early as 1980 but that is neither here nor there. What happened was, our dad took a long walk off a short pier. No, he did not commit suicide, but he dove into a bottle and remained there until the day he died. My brother and me, blips on the screen and only when our mom really stuck to her guns. For the most part, she allowed his parenting responsibilities to slip because well, he wasn’t a parent. Or rather not a great one.

So, I was an only child until I was 7 years old. Than he came along. LOL yes, I am referring to my brother. I was ecstatic I had a brother. A wee part of me, okay like a massive part of me wanted a sister, but hey what do you do? Once they come out it isn’t like you can return to sender, according to my mom, it just does not work that way. So I made do. Yeahhhhhhhhhh a baby brother.

And I did love him. I protected him. I raged for him. Until the day he decided he was smarter than me. Than the war was on. And well, I am the knowledgeable fount of information that no one wants to know, so that makes me so much smarter. I am laughing and digressing at the same time.

And than things happened. I got older, he got older, but I was a teenager. Do you know what it was like to be a teenager in a single parent home in the late 1980’s? If you weren’t born than, than no you don’t. If you were, you remember it was unpaid hell. You had to look after the younger sibling sometimes up to three times a week for free! And not only that, they could say you twisted their ears off, and despite evidence to the contrary because they still have both ears, you were the mean one. And the infant child is coddled while he/she smiles the evil smile of all younger siblings.

I use to swear up and down that our mom parented my brother and me differently. With me she was strict. Bedtimes, weekends home by 8:30-9 p.m. and no later. I was tangled in the leash as she tried so hard to protect me. And than there was my brother. Oh how my mom and me fought about the differences in parenting. I screamed and raged that she was so much tougher on me. That she allowed my brother to get away with murder. She did. And even when she did put her foot down, it was kinda like my bro knew how to talk his way around it.

All of this is not a criticism of how our mother raised us. I am the woman I am and I have the morals and a compass by which I lead my life all because of her. Essentially, how would my mother deal with this.  My brother, he too has morals and a compass that guides him, and he would not be the man he is without our mother. Having said that, my grandmother (mom’s mom) and my mother had/have both apologized to me for how a) grandma always insisted that mom treated us equal when she so did not and b) mom apologizing because she admits to having been more permissive with my brother than me. But she was playing the role of both parents and it is a heady one.

All of this leads me to my current topic. The differences in how myself and my brother and me raise our children. Despite the fact that he is younger than me, my niece is now a teenager with my nephews coming right up behind her. T is 8. The one thing my bro will ever be able to hold over me for being first, having kids.

And suddenly I see the differences. My brother and sister in law, they are hands on parents. They know what their kids are doing morning day and night. They know who all their friends are. They spend their time with their kids. My niece watched Netflix one morning without permission and my bro wrapped her device in layers of tape and bubble wrap. Yet she spent the afternoon at home with him unwrapping said device.

Their boys are in baseball, basketball and play video games. All with their dad and mom, in their corner, being there for them. Bro and nephews play a lot of video games together and yet all three of those kids are verocious readers.

Part of me wonders, is he so reactive and so involved because our mom was permissive? Do not get me wrong, she was involved with his sports and encouraged him. But in some cases, there were parameters that were missing.

Than I look at myself. I talk a lot to T. I am always talking and bugging him to talk to me. I tell him that us having conversations is how I know what is going on in his day to day life. Never mind that I miss two weeks of that life every month. I sit outside (now that it is warmer) reading and watching him play. Because that is what he wants of me. Not to hover over him. Not to intrude, but just to be there.

Inside, he likes to play with lego. Watch Youtube. Play his Scrap Mechanic. He creates, and draws and I am there. I have asked him about that. I will say to him we never do anything and he always responds to me with the same thing. Mom you are here, you are beside me. You are always in the same room as me, always within reach, what more do we have to do?

And we are happy with that.

For the longest time I have compared myself to my bro and his parenting style.

I also know that our mom, and my bro, they think that I am permissive. And I am. Which leads to the whole point of this blog. Which actually has just turned into a reminiscent of my childhood.

Our mother was very strong handed with me. Curfews, knowing where I was and who I was with. My bro, he went where he wanted and came and went as he pleased. And I truly believe this has lead to how we each parent. Neither one of us is better than the other (although were you to ask the bro he would tell you it was him) we are just different. And there is nothing wrong with being different. In fact, it is how come each and everyone of us is unique.

 

 

Advertisements

Sacrifice

Laying upon the rocky altar

bloody and in chains

Demons cluster at my feet

rejoicing in my pain.

They feed upon my despair, the words woven

they suckle deep at the deceptions I weave

Gorging upon my flesh, my soul

until bloated they fall aside,

To be replaced by some more.

I stare blankly at the mountain above

knowing not the damage done

for the demons have once more come.

And I fall into their dreams, their blatant bullshit

while their claws dig deep, making me wince.

©Jay-lyn Doerksen

April 26/17

 

He makes me laugh

Of late, T has taken to talking to me more. Whether he is making mock of me, like when we started exercising and he poked me in the belly and said ‘mom you are getting fat too.’ My response was to blame the whole belly thing on him. It was because I carried him for 31 weeks that I am rounded out. He thought that was hilarious. Or when he lets out a really loud fart looks over at me and says ‘mom you might want to move.’ Two seconds before the aroma hits my nose and makes my eyes water.

Yesterday, I was ill. My head didn’t feel right and I was coughing nonstop. I ended up calling in sick and sleeping the whole day. T gets home and we need to run to the store for cat food and drugs so I am able to go to work today. ‘Mom, I have like a really good immune system. I never get sick when you and dad do.’ Now, I have no idea how ill his father has been but I have had a rough year with colds/flus. I look over at him sniffling away, only wanting to go to sleep and crankily tell him it really is all his fault. Him and his grubby little friends all covered in germs. With great disgust he looks over at me and informs me ‘mom my friends and I are not covered in germs. We are clean! We all take baths or showers.’ Not even sure what I can say to that.

On our way to get our hair cut this afternoon I ask the age old question every parent asks, what do you want for supper. T hems and haws and than announces pizza. I am skeptical of this choice because I was sure we had just had it. We finally determined that it was actually last Thursday that I broke down and bought it. T looks at me and states ‘mom if we had pizza the very next day, that would be to soon but it is all good, it is almost a full week later.’ Again how do you argue that?

I love that T is starting to talk to me. Our conversations are wacky and insightful. He doesn’t really believe that I know anything at all, so we tend to spend a lot of time arguing the facts until I pull out the all knowing Google and we google it. We giggle and we laugh, and we enjoy one another’s company during the time that we are together. He will go back to his dad on Sunday and I will miss a full week of laughter and conversations. Until he comes back.

For when he comes back to me, he has a week’s worth of adventures and pent up stories to tell me. He will instruct me and ask me to confirm or deny his facts. And he will most likely pull some numbers out of the air (like 50% of all men will go bald) and I will laugh and argue and giggle and help him to grow. I just hope that I have a few more years of these conversations, before he decides that I am just to uncool to talk to.

Amazing Day

I had a realization today. A rather awesome and fulfilling realization. I am happy and so much more stable than I was a mere eight weeks ago.

I had to work today.

Let me set the scene for you:

A grocery store.

The Saturday after being closed for Good Friday (in Canada Good Friday is a statutory holiday and businesses are closed. Restaurants, gas stations, small convenience stores can be open). As well it is not like there are not thirty million gatherings that are going to take place within the Good Friday to Easter Sunday days. And it isn’t as all those gatherings will not food because everyone will have brought something. And yet, when I opened the doors at 7 a.m. we had a steady stream of customers. At times the line ups were so long and tangled no one knew who was going where. Our customers were awesome, no one complained and we ran.

That being said, let us go back a few hours. I knew today was going to be insane so I had already decided to go into work a little early. Up at 5 at work by 5:40. Which was a good thing because the carts had all been moved from the lobby into the mall which meant I needed to move them back into the lobby. I looked at it shook my head and said to myself:

‘Jay-lyn Anne you can totally rock this.’

And I did.

Eight weeks ago, this would have killed me. I would have spun out, my brain frantically trying to shuffle the hundreds of things that I had to do within my allotted time period. I would have been near tears, while also raging and frothing at the mouth. Instead I looked around, counted the good things that happened this morning. Had an awesome sleep, bounced out of bed, the day was starting off warm and set to get warmer.  I hit all 6 green lights on the way to work and most importantly because I realized how far I have come.

Than my boss and I were talking. And as we walk away in opposite directions I turn around and call him back. Stamped my foot like a bloody pony to emphasize my point (do not even attempt to ask or understand because I don’t) and thanked him. I thanked him for not shunting me to the side and firing me. I thanked him for being brave enough to talk to me without really understanding. And he told me I was doing amazingly well. That staff had been commenting on how much happier I am. I thanked him for that too. And as we parted he said to me you are doing a great job keep it up.

I had customers today tell me that they always see me; moving at top speed and yet I always had a smile on my face and would stop for a chat. And how they appreciated that.

And I had another good thing to add to my list.

I love this feeling. I love having come through the shadows, of having allowed the demons that reside within so much control and I am the one now in control. I have no doubt that there may come a time when I have another depressive episode. But I will have this to look back on and I will know that happiness is possible. And I will fight and I will starve those demons of the fear and self worthlessness that they feed on, so my days become happier sooner.

 

Work in progress

Scritch scratch

said the cats,

watching the little men.

Dribble, drabble

the rabble roared,

watching the crooked shadows.

Bloated, with lust and greed

sucked from the souls of the mired,

languishing in a hell,

passively awaiting their timely fate.

©Jay-lyn Doerksen

April 15/17

Gone

There are truths that you cannot see
Oblivious to what is in front
Seeing only what you want to see
Blinders worn with complacancy.

No questions asked, assumptions only
Pain gathers, tears sparkle
One at a time, falling, trembling
Heartache as I watch you crumble.

Once upon a time, long ago
He rode to the rescue, a handsome knight
The princess awaited, believing with all her heart
That this was it, the happy ending that she wanted.

Gone are the days of grassy glades
Gone, the dreams of yesterday
Forge onward, a path in glass
For nothing was ever real.

April 10/12

Broken Heart

He done broke my heart

the night we said good bye;

he to return to the feudal village,

I to dance across the public’s eye.

“That is not the way to start. It should read, he broke my heart the night we said good bye.”

“Why am I not allowed to write the way that I want to write? Why can I not use the language and speech of my childhood to portray the pictures my words create?”

“Because that is not how I brought you forth! I have taught and molded you to become the top Poetess of all times and you will continue to follow my path.”

“Yet they are my words, my truths why can I not use them they way I see fit?”

“Because you ungrateful wraith, without me you would not have this fame and fortune. Without me you would be back in that village you so long for mired in poverty.”

I lifted my head, greasy hair falling back, revealing pallid skin and blackened sleep deprived eyes. He loomed over top of me, pristine and put together. His suit a navy blue so dark it bordered on black, a piping red tie, winking tie pin, he was everything I had loved and now loathed.

He rested his large hands on the desk, leaning forward, the pungent aroma of his cologne overwhelming me. Citrus notes interspersed with undernotes of vanilla and sandalwood. I could smell my own stench, a mimosa of unwashed body and hair, the perspiration I sweat to come up with my creations. I was not the lovely Poetess revered in inner circles, I was the poet in a small cell, my emotions and anguish how I create.

The thick chains of dependency wound around my wrists, shackling my legs to the desk. Illusionary, yet they retained me as much as real chains would. I was caught in a web of my own making. But there was a choice, one that I had to make.

“It is time for you to leave,” I breathed. “Time for you to take your life and unentwine it from mine.”

“I am your King, your Maker,” he roared. “You will not take from me what I have worked for.”

“You have worked nothing, nothing that I already did not know. You wiped the ashes of childhood away and lead me along the path to stray,” I seethed. “You never meant for me to be this welcome, this loved, but plans have a way of changing and now the time has come.”

I glared up at him, daring a rebuke. Never had I spoken to him in such a way. His nostrils flared with unrequited rage. His body shook with the repressed desire to make me behave. He had lost and he knew it.

I felt my heart break in two

with the soft snick of the lock catching as the door closed;

He who had brought me up, who taught me polish and truth

my betrayer, my warden, a man of circumstance.