I’ll start by stating I am not a writer. I am writing these biographical posts mostly as a therapeutic release for myself, and maybe someone else will find them interesting or useful.
As we left off, my parents were married after knowing each other for two months and a week. I have often guessed if it was just love at first sight, or if there was a degree to which both of them being single parents either consciously or subconsciously pushed things along because having a two parent household would make things easier for both of them. Either way, they will have been married 43 years in three days, so they have defied all odds and expectations.
Things were certainly not easy, however. For me it was simple. As far as I knew at the time he was my dad. He raised me and I never knew another dad. My older siblings weren’t so ready to accept my mom.
My dad had been married to their mom and they knew their mom. When their parents divorced their mom didn’t pursue custody, leaving them with dad. But just because my mom would be raising them did not mean they would accept her, and it certainly didn’t mean they would make things easy on her.
My older brother’s relationship with my mom was generally cold and distant. He would go to Oklahoma to visit his mom’s family during the summer and was treated like royalty. At school he was the star of the basketball team and football team and had his pick of girlfriends. At home he was just part of the family, so this didn’t always sit well.
My sister’s relationship with my mom was much more toxic. She would do anything she could to upset mom. This would sometimes lead to violence and she would often try to get dad to pick her over mom. This never worked growing up, but she never stopped trying. Unlike my brother, she was treated poorly by her mom’s family. She was also generally unpopular at school except among the drug crowd.
My younger brother and I grew up framed by this environment. I was smart and musically gifted, so I was able to carve my own path at school that kept me generally isolated from the influence of my siblings. My brother tried to keep busy with friends and working at the neighbors farm.
I don’t want to sound like home life was horrible. My parents were very loving and supportive. Whatever I wanted to pursue, they supported it. They never made me feel inadequate or incapable of anything.
We were however very poor. I never really noticed how poor we were, which I credit to my parents. We never went without food, but we rarely had name brand food and frequently got food in bulk. I never got name brand clothes unless they were hand me downs or they were from a factory rejects store. We did almost all of our clothes shopping at factory rejects stores. But again, I was fed and clothed, and though other kids may have poked fun at my clothes, I never really noticed.
Beyond that the hardest part of childhood was being smart and awkward. In other words, being a nerd. I was tall, so I would get recruited for basketball, but I was so uncoordinated I couldn’t move while dribbling the ball. Being a nerd kept me out of a lot of social circles. It limited my friendships, and often I would find in time friends I had would move on to new friends without me.
So life as a child for a nerdy boy in nuclear family was often tough. But it’s a big part of what has made med who I am. As tough as it sounds, I don’t know that I would change it.