Parent=Antithesis of Cool

***Picture is mine taken Aug. 19/17 my bro and nephews.***

There is literally only one thing that any older sibling wants to do in their lifetime. And that is to crush an illusion that a younger sibling holds so that they are unable to ever hold onto it again. Last night I got to do just that with my baby bro. With the help of his children.  Apparently he has been suffering under the delusion that he is cool.

You read that right.

My 38 year old brother, father of 3 teenagers, believed he was cool. You will notice the past tense I am using.

Myself, my nephews and my niece, disabused him of that notion.

The conversation started off innocently enough. He had been texting me while I was at work and once I got home and settled we continued to talk. He was having a great evening with his therapist Wayne. Wayne Gretzky that is. Apparently the great one makes rye. Who knew?

First he thought that he could trick me. We were having a conversation about spelling. He told me he was a great speller. I informed him that auto-correct does not count towards his ability to spell. D than said to me ‘go ahead, give me any word and I can spell it correctly.’

At some point time in his life, D fell under the belief that he could trick me. Thus far, I have a score of about 1000 to his 0. My response, ‘dude if I give you the word it will already be spelled correctly and you will just copy it.’

I am sure he was sitting in the corner of his couch chortling away, thinking that he had finally caught me out.

Than he did something that drives me absolutely nuts. He began to shorten words and misspell them. When you are a writer that is enough to drive the knife in and twist it. I finally corrected his spelling and was informed that this is a new thing that the kids are doing these days. Shortening words. Cool lingo.

As far as I am concerned they just look illiterate.

I love my niece and nephews. I love my son. But they are kids. And kids are assholes. They think that they know everything and anything. I know this because I once was a kid. I was the biggest asshole around.

When I informed my bro of the fact that he just looked illiterate, he laughed and said ‘doesn’t matter I am still cool.’ I nearly fell off the couch I was laughing so hard. It is a good thing that I can type through tears because they were threatening to fall as I howled.

I made him ask his children if they thought he was cool. I also let him know that if they did say he was cool, they were liars. ‘You are a parent. You are the antithesis of cool.’

D asked. His children broke his heart. At 38 years of age, D must finally reconcile the facts. He is no longer cool. His children and me, we are cruel creatures he informed me. Crushing his dreams. All I could get out of him was that the kids told him ‘dad is not cool.’

It had to be done. D could not be allowed to suffer under this delusion any longer. After crushing his coolness dream, we discussed our weirdness. And how that is just who we were. And how it is kinda cool to be weird. But the kids cannot see that because to them normal is ‘cool.’

So with our weird freaks flying free D and me, we are cool. It is the kids that are not.

 

 

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Was he a girl?

This picture is the only one I have of my dad as a child. I once had more but they became water damaged and I had to dispose of them. My dad is the one on the left. With the blonde curls. He kinda looks like a girl.

My Amma (Icelandic for grandma) really wanted a girl. She had my dad and my Uncle. Did she try to hide my dad’s masculinity for the formative years of his life? Or at least some twisted boy-girl version?

The only children my Amma bore were her two sons. And she so desperately wanted a daughter. Ironically my Uncle had two daughters. My dad had me. And my brother.

I have a couple of stories about my Amma from my uncle. My Aunt was not a fan of her mother-in-law. My mom has different stories and me, well I was her favorite so my glasses are rose colored.

Every time I have a thought regarding this character I am building I write it down. Thus far I have only had the two but I am beginning to view my dad differently. Or rather the fictional version I am building of him.

I must not paint my Amma as an evil villianess. I can only speculate as to what happened in her earlier life. We have no real on her.

My Afi (Icelandic for grandpa) is but a shadow to me. He passed away 1 month and 6 days before I was born. Came home drunk and fell down the basement stairs. Broke his back. Died of pneumonia.

My Amma and Afi shaped my dad.

Were one to look at my Uncle, respectable, looked after his family, never abandoning them to fate, you would never guess the family connection.

My dad? He is not an enigma. Not when I take my own reality of him, my mom’s and my brother’s and meld them.

He was a drunk. He left his family to fend for themselves. Never did he think how his actions affected his children. His wife.

Even as I worked to lower my expectations of him I was continually disappointed. The once sympathetic character I saw is now evolving into one you would most likely disdain.

This challenge I have set for myself is intriguing. I originally thought this was going to be a tale of a father who abandoned his children. Who chose alcohol to be his companion.

And with the turn of a phrase I suddenly found sympathy. Today as I wrote I may have had a small pain in my heart because I do believe my Amma may have treated my dad as a girl for the first while. And she babied him.

The great thing about this….I get to make it all up. But at the same time I am going to pluck my mind, my mom’s and my brother’s for memories and stories. For I realize that I need a clearer picture of the man who was my dad.

Total Recall

Tonight my mom and me were talking. She asked me what I remembered about a family trip we had taken in 1983. I listed off a few things that I recalled. And even more sprang to mind.

Mom than says to me that as she reads it becomes real and there are memories she had forgotten. And was not sure how me and the bro would react to the emotions and memories.

‘​We are different now mom. And that is a cause for reflection. And seeing a glimpse into our shared past and I don’t know how to explain the rest of what I want to say.’

But now I do. What I wanted to/was trying to say was: The people that we are now and the shared experiences that we have had, colors how you look at the memories. You see the child and the woman/man that we have become. Imaglimated. How we act and the way we speak now will tinge those pictures recreated as the evolved personality is seen.

The diaries she is reading were written between the years of 1983-1987. Part of me wants to relieve those memories to laugh and cry. To see the life the three of us carved.

A large part of me wants to hide. 1986-1987 were not good years and I don’t mean for wine. They were brutal years for me and I was a nasty teenage girl.

However in my insights to how my mom feels lays my own insight. To continue on this path I have begun I am going to have to face that horrid scared 13-14 year old me. And I am going to get to know her again through my memories and hers.

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.

 

 

Baby Bro

I have always looked for comfort, not for partnership

It has always been easier to be the one who cares

Not the one who receives care because well that is just silly.

I was seven when my circumstance changed,

I was fourteen when I rebelled and fucked my brother up

I swore that he would never age the way that I did

And yet what did I do, I left the house, I ran away

he felt responsible and that broke my heart.

He and me we are the same……

he just doesn’t want to know.

I love that boy with all my heart

he is my rock, my guardian, he is my brother.