Saturday, January 12, 2008

HANGINGwith the folks... childhood memories...

Ok, first off, it's late and everyone is sleeping.
It's nice. The house is quite.
Think I'll say hi to Loving Pecola, Maxjulian, sweetness, Freeslave, and others for the generative exchanges over at 1TBM. I read, I appreciate everyone putting their feelings out there.
Today, I picked up Stinkapee from school. We went for a walk, ended up in a cafe where told me more about her experiences in the class room. She had a streamed vanilla creme, practiced her spelling words, and read from her dictionary. Then we went for dinner at a neigbourhood diner, went for a swim at the community centre, and walked home. DD had checked in with us to see how we were doing, and after hearing that we were going swimming - offered to make some dinner too - you use a shit load of energy when you swim.

Shomlee, the 19 month old was in great spirits when we got home, as was DD. She was cooking chicken stew on brown rice - smelt amazing. I did some work on the computer, while Stinkapee did work on her computer, and Shomlee sang songs with DD in the kitchen as she created her masterpiece. We hung out with the kids, until Stinkapee got tired, and went off to bed. ( Just so you know - this description of the two of us, as a mother/father pairing is not our ideal by any means. I would really like to have another partner in our family. I think it would lovely to be able to responsibly and ethically love and share experiences with another person. We are working on this, but that is beyond the scope of this entry.)

DD, came back downstairs, and I started to talk about my family. I was recalling how I spent my childhood with my parents - and thinking about the connections they maintained and why. I thought about how deliberate it was, but how I didn't understand it that way. DD suggested that my mother stayed in touch with some family partly because it was important to maintain family ties - in fact, she did this much more than my father. I can't recall him ever organizing a family outing. He simply wasn't invested in that from my view. This is a piece (among many pieces) that I have taken from my childhood and brought into my adulthood. I think everything will just fall into place, cause it did for my father, even though it was my mother who did it.

And going to these family events largely seemed performative. Meaning - it was us saying: here we are - the family - "perfect and happy." What I mean to say is, we would arrive, everyone would say their pleasantries. Some food would be served, and eventually the conversation would go to academia and race. My folks are academics, and they love to talk all there academia speak. The conversation would, as far as I could see, never head in any emotional direction. No one ever talked about what they were feeling, or how they actually felt about anything.
Sometimes it would get lively with jokes (at each others' expense in the room) or sometimes, they would talk about race - but this was tricky, because many in my mother's family, say her siblings were in severe denial about anything racial whatsoever. I can re-call hearing: "if you just work hard everything will be fine." Often she would get into shouting matches over quotes like that one. My father, would fall asleep and I would just want to go home.

But home was really difficult for me too. My brother lived there and he was physically abusive to me all the time. My parents, could not deal with his violence - I believe it triggered them around their parents. My brother would attack me mostly when my folks weren't around, starting when I was about 8 and lasting far into my teens. I think around 16, I started to take martial arts, and so the attacks when down - and instead my family home became a cold war zone - were at any moment, a huge explosive release would unfold.
One time, in the middle of the night the moment arrived.

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