As my sister Abby and I have perused our writing, we see that more often than not we choose to see the humor in our situations. Some may argue that our ‘Far From Normal’ upbringing was anything but funny. They may even say how sad or tragic our experiences actually were.
Having a mentally unhealthy parent who drinks to excess, eats to excess and screams to excess is not exactly Norman Rockwell’s idea of the picture of good parenting. However, as we have shared in our story here, we were lucky to have had the best Dad ever! I guess you might equate it to the yin and yang or even use algebraic terms:
a plus b = c
You see if a (Mother) did not meet and marry b (Dad) then we would not have c (my sister and me). Now that would be the real tragedy. If you knew how much I hated algebra, you would understand that for me to use it is like a once in a lifetime occurrence! But my nephew, who loves algebra, is quite proud of me for using it here.
Maya Angelou, one of our favorite writers, says:
You do the best you can and when you know better, you do better.
Mother did the best she could with her own life experiences. Losing her mother at an early age, being pushed from pillar to post, feeling not truly wanted and certainly not loved, she had lots of reasons to become the kind of parent she was. Where my sister and I find fault is that she chose to use her experiences as excuses instead of lessons.
Our dad, on the other hand, had a rough and tumble kind of upbringing also. However, he used his life experiences as lessons to do better and boy, oh boy, did he learn those lessons well!
Our lives have been enriched by our own life experiences and we must say they have been anything but boring. Dad was a great storyteller and wanted the stories repeated often enough that they would never be forgotten. From great tragedy can come wonderful fodder for writing our own story.
The real tragedy would be if my sister and I used Mother as an excuse to never be more. We learned the lesson well to make our own story and to live our lives with grace and a smile on our own face and laughter in our hearts.
Our choices reflect who we are as products of a very dysfunctional family who could have given up but instead listened to Dad’s voice that said:
You are both so amazing and I am so proud of you!
His spirit is with us always and we never have forgotten those meaningful words. And when all else fails, laugh! And so it goes.