Day 3, 30 Days of Me

Describe your relationship with your parents.

This can get a little complicated, but really whose family isn’t complicated? I’m going to try to be brief, but context is necessary so that might bog things down.

First off, my parents are still together. They’ve been married just over 30 years.

In general, my childhood had quite a few rough moments that framed my relationship with my parents. I think from 2nd grade until I finished high school, not a year went by without a member of my family in the hospital for something – mental issues, illnesses, broken bones, surgeries… When there weren’t medical issues, there were other big things like my sister getting arrested. On top of all that, my mom’s ongoing Manic Depressive/Bipolar condition was a lovely undercurrent.

It was a lot to deal with. In many ways, I ended up trying to be the glue holding things together. I had some rough patches of my own, but never anything that I communicated with or was noticed by my parents. Or, if it was noticed, it was never addressed at the time. I went on to college, and ta-da here I am 6 years later, living my life.

My relationship with my parents as a whole has left me with an achievement-centered focus, because that used to be the only way I felt I could draw attention from them. I wanted to make them proud of me, and I wanted to make up for all the stress they had from other things. Now, I know they are proud of me, although sometimes it’s hard to feel that deep down.

Despite all of that, I am close to my family, in that I like spending time with them.  It is comfortable and familiar. Usually, a few days can go by before things get tense or emotionally stressful, and I value those days.  I try to talk to my mom once or twice a week, usually on my way home from work or sometimes after dinner. I see them maybe 3-4 times a year, about once a season. We’ll see how this is moving forward without school vacations…

In brief, I talk more with my mom, but am much closer to my dad. My mom’s mental issues and difficulty grasping the intricacies of what I do make it hard to get beyond a certain level of closeness with her. As I get older, I’m figuring out better ways to connect.  I don’t talk to my dad as much when I’m not home – we just occasionally email gadget articles or a comic back and forth, or I’ll call to talk about something financial or adult-related (car advice, job advice, etc.). I’m very much my father’s daughter, though, in so many ways.

Basically, it is still difficult to manage some interactions with my parents. We are not so close that I call every day or visit every month. If I lived closer, I would see them much more frequently, and I wouldn’t mind that. Being that isn’t the case, I talk to them when I have time and see them when I can. I try to limit the time I’m home at one time to about a week or less to prevent negative from tinging the whole trip.


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