Sunday, November 11, 2012

post Dad remembers his mother

My childhood conclusion from the stories that my parents told, or from the stories that my Father told, to which my Mother concurred silently, was that the bad woman, the bad mother, had injured him in a permanent way, leaving him maimed and incomplete; and it was up to us good women, the good wife and good daughters, to support him and allow him to function and feel happy. And the most important part of being a good woman was to listen while he talked, while he declaimed, while he pontificated.  The bad woman argued with him.  The bad woman said that things had been a different way, and that was bad.

Arguing would destroy him. You could see him clench when someone questioned his worldview.  He clenched so fast, sometimes, that his breath hissed in.
  He rocked back on his heels, his head tipping back so that, if his eyes had been open, he'd have been looking at the ceiling, rigid with the enormity of what he was having to bear without violence.  

So I listened. Silently and out of love and duty.  

Of course, this is a child's memory.  I have no idea how often these rants I was silent through or how silent I actually was.  They stuck in the memory, though, and had their effect.  

Waiting became my standard operating procedure.  Waiting for the rant to end.  Waiting until I was old enough to move out and make decisions based on what I believed instead of what my Father was reacting to.  Waiting until I had something worth saying.

Hint: If you spend all your tie waiting, what you learn to do is wait.

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