Today I’m going to talk to you about my family. That’s today’s topic and maybe one of the hardest for me to write about.
I’ve never had a traditional family. I didn’t have a traditional childhood either.
My mother was sixteen when I was born.
My father was 33. He was abusive, violent, crazy. He used hurt my mother pretty badly, even when she was pregnant with me. I haven’t seen him in a long time, he was never a father to me. I’m no one’s daughter, just my mother’s. I have no idea what it’s like to have a dad and I often wonder about it, especially when I see little girls with their daddies. Life didn’t give me the chance to have one. No man has ever loved me unconditionally. I’m okay with that now, I didn’t use to be. The Father’s Day school parties hurt too much. No one was there for me. I used to write the cards for my grandfather and I was ashamed of it. It was one of the most difficult times of the year for me. Because everybody knew, they could all notice I was the only kid there with no father. It was the 90’s and things were not as easy for different or blended families as they are now. That’s all I will say about this subject. About him. What else could I say anyway? He doesn’t exist. I don’t know him. I just know his name.
His mother used to visit me, when I was very little. My maternal grandmother used to tell me “help your granny go down the stairs” and I would. She was very old. My maternal grandmother was very young. She’s not young now. Nor healthy. My paternal grandmother died at some point, I can’t remember when. I can’t ask my grandmother either, she doesn’t have control of her own mind anymore. One of my grandmothers is long gone, the other is half way there.
My paternal grandfather had already died when I was born. Word is he was a very bad and violent man. My father is the youngest of 6 and they all say their father was a horrible man. Yes, I do know my father’s family. His brothers and sisters and nephews and nieces. They all took an interest in me when I was a teenager. When I no longer needed them. Thank you very much!
My maternal grandparents I do know very well. I lived with them for practically my whole childhood. I lived with them exclusively for 7 years, while my mother was working hard in Germany. My sister and I were here, living with them. It was not easy or happy at all. I loved my grandfather. He had a heart of gold but his liver… the liver of an alcoholic. That’s what he was. An alcoholic. My grandmother is/was not an easy woman. She has always had severe depression, suicidal thoughts and maybe even bipolar disorder but she never sought help. They would fight hard and often. Little me would try to protect and take care of my little sister. There were dark days. He would get home drunk, she would go to bed and cry her eyes out and we would be left to fend for ourselves. It was so lonely. So sad. No one to take care or protect me, my little sister to think of. I was never a child. As a 2-year-old, I fully understood my father was a bad man. No one ever told me, but I would pick up on their conversations.
My childhood was indeed very lonely, very sad and empty. I can still feel that pain today. Most people in my family choose to say I exaggerate. That it wasn’t that bad. Well, I was there.
There were many other things I had to go through with close family members.
- Drug abuse. At 5 years of age, I already knew about drugs and what they did to people, what kind there were, etc. Every time I saw an ambulance I would think my drug addict family member had died and they were coming for them.
- Alcoholism. From several family members. And some people wonder why I don’t drink and why I hate alcohol. Just the idea of it makes me feel sick and anxious.
- Gambling. Yes, At some point, someone thought this was a good idea too.
I was enduring so much while my poor mother (barely an adult herself) was working her butt off, in a foreign country, thinking we were happy and safe, because we were with her parents. We only told her how things really were a few years later. We were scared and thought that was normal life. The spanking (never by my grandfather, he was incapable of landing a hand on a child, my grandmother? She was incapable of NOT landing a hand on a child. It was the only punishment she knew. That and stop talking to us for days), the poverty (my mother would send money and it would go… elsewhere), the loneliness… Oh, the loneliness.
You wanna know the funny part? My mother worked so hard that she was able to pay for a private school. Imagine being the poorest, fatherless child in a private school. Not a good place to be.
Enough with my sad childhood. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me at all. It could have been worse. There was never real and severe abuse. Some people have gone through that. It could have been worse, right?
Today my family consists of:
My mother – Her name is Isabel. She’s 42. I love that I have such a young mom. She’s funny and supportive and the most positive and optimistic person I know. Even after going through so much. I love her and admire her so much. We are super close and we usually say we are soul mates. I can’t let a day go by without talking to her.
My stepfather – His name is Luiz. He’s Brazilian. He’s 47. He’s the kindest, funniest guy. Every time I call my mother, she always says he misses me. We get along really well. I know he loves us and we love him. He gets a Father’s day card and present. Every single year.
My sister, you know her. I have introduced her too you. She got her own special post. I love her to death, she is my baby, I’m extremely protective of her and I would give my life for her. I’ve been taking care of her my whole life and always will. She hurts, I hurt. She cries, I cry.
Their cat – My mother would kill me if I didn’t mention their cat. His name is Gatsby and it was supposed to be mine. Long story.
My love – You know him too. He’s name is Rui. He’s 26. He’s a computer science engineer and/or systems analyst or whatever. What he really likes is his vegetable garden. And me. He’s the kindest person I know. He has been there for me for so long. I love him so much.
Rosa – You know she’s my dog. I mean, she’s our baby. She will be 2 years old on May, 6!! She needs her own special post. Maybe an interview?
My grandfather’s name was João. He died almost 7 years ago, cancer. He was the kindest and funniest person you could meet. He was crazy about my grandmother. And so was she, although I didn’t think she knew it until he died. That’s when she started to get sick, and now, 7 years later, she’s unrecognizable. Her name is Teresa. I know that, despite being such a difficult and aggressive person, she loved us. I mean, she still does. She might not rule her own mind right now, but her heart is still in the same place.
My mother has two sisters and one brother. She’s the youngest of all. The oldest is not my grandmother’s daughter. My grandfather had been married before. Then my grandparents got married and they had a boy, my uncle. My grandmother’s favorite. No one even questions it, we just know, we always have. The middle child is my aunt Lena. They are my godparents. Then they had my mom.
I love Rui’s side of the family. He has a big family, which I never had. They’re all really nice and funny and have always been so good to me and made me feel at home.
I guess I should stop now? The post is becoming too long!!
Thank you, friends