As a young child growing up, my mother and father had “gotten together” both leaving behind their former lives and decided to make a new one. For one reason or another, they were not happy in the current situations and wandered off needing something from each other. Nine months later, here I came into an already complex relationship. It was like a dis-functional Brady Bunch for lack of a better phrase. My father had four other children by his first wife and my Mother had three of her own. So by my calculations, I had seven siblings, four of whom I would not meet until later on in my teenage years. My mother tried to keep all of us together in the same household and me of course being the baby, always got my way. I know there was always resentment with them but they still loved me just the same.
Growing up with them I always felt “entitled” just a bit and even special for some reason. I was of course the baby. My oldest sibling just also happened to be my sister Brenda. Now Brenda was bossy, she was pushy and mouthy and she was our dictator. Being the oldest I guess gave her that right. Brenda looked after us and she looked out for us as well. Out of all my siblings, I have to say that I am closest to her. You know the old saying, it takes a real man to care of someone else’s child, and yet it also takes a special person to accept someone else as their full blooded sibling. I know my sister never thought of me as an outsider to her already established family and I was raised not to distinguish between full sibling and step-sibling. To this day my sister remains my voice when I am speechless. I look to her for all of the hard family stuff. She always knows what to do and she has no problems in doing it – right or wrong, she does it and deals with the consequences later. She was always the one to take charge and get things done with us boys.
My two other brothers were just that, two other brothers – nothing remarkable at the time but still my older brothers. Yes I looked up to them and we fought like cats and dogs because of it too. I mean physical fights, like throwing chairs at each other and trying to choke and stab each other type of fights. I guess they didn’t like me hanging around so much and doing things like they did – or maybe it was the fact that I was the snitch of the bunch.
My dad was a truck driver for most of my childhood and my mom stayed at home to take care of us four kids. Early on, my Dad also was a part time Preacher and preached locally in Eastern North Carolina whenever he could. Mom would work part time jobs to supplement and while she was away, you guessed it – Brenda was large and in charge. My dad was by nature a rebel. He wanted things his way and was a professional BS’er. He owned his own trucking company for quite some time and spent the better part of 30 years on the road. During the summer months while we were out of school I can remember dad taking us one at a time on short week long trips to every part of the United States. Great times!
During those times growing up, I saw my mother and father go through so many ups and downs, good times and bad times as any other family does I am sure. Being away from home weeks at a time, all of the discipline was left to my Mother. I can remember her saying, “when your Father gets home, he is going to punish you all over again. Not always just a threat but when we were really bad –
I saw my Mothers’ heart break into a million pieces at one point when she found out that my Father was having an affair with another woman. But she forgave and for the sake of her marriage and her children, they stayed together. When I was in my 30’s, my Mother and Father separated – No I have to say that Dad just up and left. A year later they were divorced. Now when I say he up and left, he did just that – He left. No words to anyone except my Sister. Dad had asked her to let Mom know that he had left. We were so pissed at him for not being man enough to handle his own business. Come to find out, my Father was battling cancer and passed away a short time later in 2007. Mom still does not understand totally why he would leave everything behind after 35+ years but she has come to terms with it.
Now with the passing of time, my mother has just celebrated her 72 birthday and although I know she is getting up in years, I don’t recognize it to be so. She lives independently, drives and does her own thing on her own terms and for that I am so very grateful. My sister works out-of-town most of the time but comes home to be with her when she can. I know that one day she will come to the end of her time here on earth but until then, I will not accept the fact that time has creeped in.