Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Jeremy Crow Christmas Countdown 2005 #5

My earliest Christmas memories are pretty much all the same, as I imagine it is with most of you. I would wake up at about 1:30 in the morning, and be sneaking downstairs to see what Santa Claus had brought for me. I would start playing with whatever was put in my stocking, and being a little rambunctious in a veiled attempt to wake my parents up, so that I could get to open the really good stuff. My Grandparents would come over to open gifts with us {and let’s get real here THEY brought the serious contraband to a 5 year old}, and my mother would make something really nasty looking, which tasted absolutely abysmal to eat. Oh yeah, have I ever mentioned that she is Scottish? This was my 6th Christmas that I am talking about here, and it was a little different this year, as my parents had a secret that they hadn’t bothered to share with their 5 year old son.

My mother came over with my Grandparents this year, and I actually wasn’t too inquisitive about it, and actually to be honest I remember being a little relieved that this year I didn’t have to wait until my grandparents could wrestle my mother out of bed, so that she could come downstairs and be rather crabby all through Christmas morning. Nope this year she just walked in with a fake smile and really said nothing while I did the typical little boy things, like ripping open presents and jamming candy in my mouth. I think for the most part, it would have been one of my happiest Christmas memories if it could have ended a little after the time I had opened my presents, and was so crashed out from the sugar, and waking up 5 hours early, that I finally passed out in the middle of the living room floor. That’s not how it worked though, and it is actually quite like what I had managed to survive my kids from seeing last Christmas, as this show was still going to go on, as my father and I were going to go over to my Grandparents house for Christmas dinner like we always did up until now.

My parents had indeed split up several weeks before this, and the only thing that had kept me from noticing, at my wonderful age of 5 was that my mother really wasn’t much of a mother anyway. If she wasn’t around, I just really didn’t notice. My father worked 3 jobs at this time because he was in debt up to his eyeballs from doing his best to fund my mothers Art Gallery, that was supposed to make her happy and save the marriage {info gathered later in life}, so I didn’t see him very much either, and was pretty much taken care of by my grandmother. My grandmother, who happened to be my mother’s mother, and later on becomes the artist known as Greektradgedius Inyiddish. While we are on that subject, the only reason my mother showed up at all was because my grandfather {now deceased, but at the time a rather outspoken individual, who despite his issues did many things right} downright forced her too.

When I had woken up from my nap, my father was ready, and getting some of my new cloths ready for me to change into to go to my grandparents. This was the first point where I noticed something wasn’t right, as at the very least; my mother had always gotten me ready for Christmas dinner. My father who happens to be the reigning master of the “no speak” rule, fumbled his way through an explanation that totally flew over my head, and forced my little 5 year old ears to determine that dropping it was easier than asking again. Yes I actually acquired that wonderful gift and use it often in the Superdaddyman bag of tricks. Upon us being “presentable” we made our way to my grandparent’s house. We could hear the fighting from out on the front porch, and my poor father who really never dealt well with reality stood on the porch staring vacant at the door, with a very scared look on his face. I have managed to acquire this behavioral pattern from him as well, as I often to this day, simply give that “look of dread” when facing a scary situation. As I look back now I see a major threshold that my father was pondering, and chose the path he thought was right, as he opened the door.

This was the usual scenario for MY Christmases from this day forward, with a slightly different wrinkle, that changed immediately afterwards, and didn’t return for many years to come. All three of them were totally trashed. My grandmother and my grandfather, I will learn to see totally drunk for most of my life, this will be one of 3 Christmases where I will see my mother drunk, and loud, and rather unbearable actually. They did there best to put on airs of adulthood for a while that managed to last about half way through dinner, but what happens here is something that no parents should ever put a child through, and whether it actually scarred me for life or not, is still up for grabs, as I hope to have a lot of life left to go. About half way though my turkey and stuffin {my favoritest not deadly for me food … by the way} my mother simply looked at my grandfather and said, “I hope you are fucking proud of yourself!” and my ears perked up immediately because my mother used what I had grown to call them, “a piano word” {based on the fact that she yelled them out all of the time when she messed up playing the piano}, and little kids are always drawn to tension.

My father did his best to try to deflate the situation, but my mother had already gotten sloppy drunk, and there was no way to deal with someone like that. To my father’s credit, he usually stayed sober for these types of events, so that he could referee. My mother got far worse, and she ended up yelling at every one of them, and when I started getting upset, she merely told me to shut up, and mind my own business, which prompted my father to say, and I hear it clearly to this day, “You made it his business, and yelling at him is just a rotten thing to do, Doris”, and he got up from the table and started gathering our things. The fighting amongst all of them went on for quite a while as my father tried to get us in enough order so that we could leave, and to be honest with everyone, at the time they were all using such adult words that I really just blocked it out of my mind at the time. The heartbreaking moment though came when I realized that my mommy wasn’t going home with us, and that had me crying the whole way home. My poor father had to deal with a crying 5 year old boy for days that turned into weeks, and then years, and as I said before, I don’t think this poor man has ever identified an actual feeling in his whole life, but I give him credit now that I am older for at least trying.

As I had gotten older the actual ending to the story went something like this. My mother had decided that she was leaving my father. She was an extreme manic depressive with a few reality issues at times to say the least. I have covered this in a few blogs in the past, so I won’t chronicle it here, as it really doesn’t matter. As she had decided that my father should leave the house and support me and her while living elsewhere. My father took it upon himself to tell her no, and she was furious about it. He wasn’t actually being selfish, as my mother had proven out over the years, he was being selfless in knowing that I didn’t stand a chance alone with her, and he stood his ground for one of the few times in his life with this woman.

She was going to bring hellfire down on him, and had the attorney, the state’s support, and all of my father’s own assets to take it all from him by force, until her father told her that he was going to testify against her. It was the only time he ever stood up to his little girl too, and that combined with over 25 years of spoiling this woman rotten, ended her being his little girl, and she ran away from Nooooo Hampshah to New York City, to not be seen or heard from for the next 4 years. She got even with her father all right, as he was totally heartbroken, and the Christmases for me from that point on were my father, and my mother’s two parents. Her son on the other hand started a vicious cycle at this point that was partially genetics, and partially learned from all of these people, until I chose to be different, but to do that I had to accept, understand and learn. ;8o)