I was ten when you and mom returned from an overnighter in Las Vegas - married. David and I were so excited to have a dad around all the time. We didn’t really know all that would entail in your case. My disappointment and anger only increased as the years rolled on. You were singularly ill prepared to raise children, much less teenagers. A few of your parenting techniques stand out. Every night as the family retired to the living room to watch tv together I alone cleaned the dining room and kitchen to your standard -a two hour process. When I was older, if I didn’t wash the day’s dishes, I’d trip over them blocking my bedroom door or find them in the tub, impeding my morning school preparations. You and mom slept upstairs and behind a solid core door. David and my bedrooms were downstairs where you refused to allow outside lights on at night and locking doors was not a habit. I was scared that someone would enter and hurt us, it was L.A., you know. On the occasion that I left the light on, you broke the bulb in the socket to prevent a second occurrence. The only evidence of Brett at my wedding is a portrait of him caught on film in the background while I dressed. You restricted him from attending my wedding for some trivial reason or another. Unfortunately, you were caught too. Each photo of you, even during the ceremony, evidences an alcoholic beverage in hand. Crass. Even your jokes contained barbs - “go take a long walk off a short pier” was a frequently bandied about phrase. Your relationship infractions ranged from merely annoying to nearly evil. I am grateful for the financial stability you helped bring to our family. I learned from my experience with you to build on the positive with my step-sons not punish them for perceived negatives. I forgive you for being unprepared to parent, but boy did it hurt.
Hardcore Gratitude by Traci Reed available at tracireed.com; Shabby Shores by Cindy Rohrbough available at Scrapgirls; Fonts: CenturyGothic