Friday, August 15, 2008

Low Maintenance Kids

My mum and dad split up when I was 11 years old, my big brother was 16, my little brother was 7. I say they split up but in reality it was the beginning of a process that took nearly 4 years to get sorted, during that time my mum was a complete mentalist (she was the cause of the split). She couldn't decide what she wanted, dad moved out and us kids were left to get on with it whilst my mum concentrated on "dating" on and off the bloke from next door. It didn't really bother my big brother that much, he was big enough and old enough to get on with his own thing. For me and my little brother things were very different, stuck between parents who grew to not be able to stand the site of each other very quickly. When the hard choices had to be made, who to live with, for me there was no choice. My mum had all but abandoned us to go after what she wanted, we were left to clean, cook and do everything for ourselves. My younger brother was barely in double figures. I can still remember my dad sitting us down with tears in his eyes and telling us that it would be best if we stayed with mum, his food skills were basic at best, washing clothes and house work was never a priority with him. We were still at school and it would be for the best. Screw that! There was no way I was ever going to stay somewhere where I wasn't welcome. I'd rather eat raw gammon steak somewhere I was welcome that beans on toast somewhere I wasn't any day. I had a hatred for my mum, not the sort of hatred that most teenagers have, this was a very grown up hatred of her for being the selfish bitch she was. My little brother (although he would never admit it now) was still like my little shadow back then and he was going wherever I was going. So me and him moved in with dad, leaving our big brother with mum. He always sided with her, I could never understand why.

After 6 months of living with my mum my brother decided he couldn't take it anymore and so wanted to move. Being ignored was not something my brother could stand. My dad sorted out a room for him and he moved in with us. We stayed that way for a couple of years, a real lads house, we had great fun. The domestics got taken care of in a round about way but we were always well turned out for school etc. We never really had much money but to be honest I was happy shooting, fishing and all those sorts of things. Whilst my friends were knocking around town in the £100 trainers, drinking cheap beer I'd be out on the boat fishing. Things would have been better if my big brother would have chipped in, he had a good office job but was living totally rent free. All his money was spent on himself.

Eventually my big brother settled down and got married. At the reception (always a difficult thing for a split family) he took the decision to have my mum and her boyfriend on the top table whilst my dad was sat with some of my mums family and us. Even today I can't understand the logic behind it. After all he'd done for him, my brother still decided to do that, wanker.

Jump forward 5 years and I find out the truth of why my brother is such a mummy's boy. My mum and I have found a level of peace with each other. My big brother was actually adopted by my dad, in a twist of fate that put our lives on such a similar playing field that I had no idea about. My dad had gone through almost an identical adoption battle as I went through with my daughter. He'd brought M up as his own to the point where me and S had no idea. Even after spending years of his life bringing him up, having his mum cheat and leave him my dad had still done what was best for my big brother. I was puzzled by why he hated my mum quite soo much at the time, at that exact moment where my mum spurted it out to me whilst she was drunk I knew exactly where the hatred in my dad came from. Never mind understand it, I could share it.

My dad is now married again and happy with his new wife. She has a grown up family, 3 boys in their late 30's, 40's. She dotes on them, they are still like little kids to her and it means my dad spends a lot more time with her family than he does with us. You see my mums actions made us all fiercely independent, well 2 of us anyway. I was living on my own by the time I was 18, only to have my younger brother move in with me eventually. My big brother lives on the other side of the island with his wife, close to her family. I'm now married and living close to my wife’s family, it's just the way things go. My big brother can't accept this though. He thinks my dad should "still" be popping around at weekends or something. He's busy, we're all busy. My brother now has no time for my dad, he will drive past his house every other week to go and see my mum. If I'm around that neck of the woods I make a point of dropping in, even though I might only see them 3 or 4 times a year. I usually phone my dad if I need something manual doing, he's the person I phone if I need something. My mum is the opposite, she phones me. 99% of the time it's because something has gone wrong with either her or somebody she knows computer. I don't mind though, even with all that has gone on, I do most of what I can to live an easy life.

So what was the point of the longest blog post of all time? Well next week is my nieces birthday and I'll drive up to see my brother and drop a present off. The second set of words out of his mouth will be some sort of slagging of our dad. As it always is. The selfish selfish cunt. One day I will lose my temper and set him straight. Not this time though, I'll not tell him that the first question out of our dad's mouth every time I see him is "Have you heard anything from M?" (Not "How's things?") or that he's been around 4 times (it's way out of his way) but nobody is ever in. It's hardly a 5 minute trip either, as things go it's about a big a trip as you can make without driving into the sea. That's 3 times more than my dad has come to see me and my family this year. Why dad feels any guilt I don't know, but he does. Why M think he deserves special treatment I don't know, but he does. All I do know is that it twists my melon, and the great news is that Christmas is approaching fast. That’s when it all gets really fun.

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