I finally forced myself to watch "Marley and Me" tonight. UGH.
I read the book, which made me laugh, cry and the like. But the movie just brought me to tears. And it wasn't even that great of a film. I can't stand Jennifer Aniston and Owen is my least favorite of the Wilson brothers, but it was still one of those flicks...
I remember a few years back when my Mom gave me the book to read. They say you can;t judge a book by its cover but as soon as she handed it to me, I knew why.
There was a yellow lab on the cover for God's sake! I'm a sucker for puppies, first off. Secondly, grew up with Melly- a yellow lab. Not to mention I had just lost a dog, which made me hesitate before opening the first page.
But it was more than just that. The author, John Grogan, was just starting a family when he bought his pup. He eventually became the father of two boys and a girl. I am the first of three, with one younger brother and a younger sister. Hmmmm....
I think my Mom could relate to this. And I think she knew I would as well. Which leads me to a part of my life I tend to block out: my childhood.
The earliest memory I can recall is crying in preschool. I didn't want my Mom to leave me. It wasn't the first day or anything, but I clearly remember Mom telling the preschool teacher that my Dad was off work that day and that I wanted to stay home with him. Strangely I don't remember how true this was.
I have spent hours upon hours trying to recall childhood memories of my father. It is always a struggle. I end up with tee ball, business trips and a handful of Christmas mornings. I suppose these are the things most people hold onto, but I feel like I missed so much, or I am missing so much.
when my parents split, my brother was first to go running back to my Dad, while my sister and I wanted nothing to do with him. Not that we hated him, we just were content with Mom. But as time passed and water passed under the bridge, it was my brother who eventually shunned my father, while Courtney and I became closer with Dad.
I eventually moved back in with my Dad, after he had found a new job, new woman and cleaned up his act. The man who once was asking me to borrow five bucks for smokes or booze was now, once again, putting a roof over my head and food on the table.
However, this chapter of Life & Times is not about what has become of me, it is about what was me...
I "was" or was what should have become the "all American boy next door." Upper-middle class, living in the suburbs, academically "gifted" and carefree.
How did that become this?
I know for sure that I wouldn't have it any other way. I may have, at one point wanted to be that carefree little dude who probably would have turned into a cookie cutter fratboy banker, lawyer or doctor, but what a boring, sad life that would have been. I would probably end up divorced, depressed and dull.
I am not a huge believer in fate, never have been. I think this belief can be traced back to 1992, when I was in the third grade. I scored very poorly on the standardized tests and my Mom was shocked and had me "retested."
This "retesting" placed me in the main office of Centennial Elementary, at a large round table opposite this older woman. She asked me all of these personal questions followed by a slew of tests. I felt like I was being interrogated and psychoanalyzed all at once. In the end I think I impressed the lady, but I still felt like I was under an unnecessary microscope.
The "tests" landed me in a gifted program at an elementary school away from my friends, siblings and comfort zone. But I was young and naive. It's only now in retrospect that I can make sense of it all: my own Mother was stealing control of my life.
I always knew growing up that I was overprotected. I didn't realize however, how much it would fuck me up down the road...
When I finally took control of my own life, years later, my Mother refused to let me learn from my own lessons and took control once again. And now, I am far too dependent on her, and she wonders why.
Now it all makes sense. I know why I eventually went back to my Dad. The unstable, bitter, functioning alcoholic he may be (sorry pops, still love ya), he can give me my space and freedom to learn from my mistakes while still being there for me in dire times.
I love both my parents unconditionally. They really made a great couple, if only they had allowed themselves to learn a thing or two from each other.... but then I probably would have never learned to think for myself, ended up in one of those dreaded professions, and would be headed in the downward spiral of my hereditary past.