Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Blacks Are Taking Over The Schools!

Hello my friends, guess what?  My in-laws are back in town, staying at their vacation house on our street until the first week in December.  As you may have remembered, they are from The South.  And they suffer from a serious affliction called, "Racism".  An even more serious form of racism because they don't believe they are racists.  They are still pissed off about the outcome of the "War of Northern Aggression" because their ancestors lost all their slaves and the Plantation homes that were in the family are no longer in the family.  Such a tragedy.  Let me get out my tiny violin.

Since one of our children is black, we have decided to limit our kids' access to them and make sure either my husband or I are there when our kids are.  Last night we had dinner at their house. After dinner our kids went in to the living room to play while the in-laws and my husband and I stayed at the dining room table to talk.  And as usually happens, they start bringing up people from my husband's past... people who still live in the tiny Southern town he's from.  They talk of the way things are now. This town that is so small there is not even a police department.  No stop lights.  Only 3 stop signs.  One library, two churches and a gas station.  The fire department is a volunteer one, which my father-in-law is part of.

So my FIL starts talking about how they took the fire engines to my husband's old elementary school.  And my FIL was quite upset at what he saw.  Out of 200-300 kids, there were only TEN white kids.  He stated that number several times, so we know he actually counted.  "The Blacks... (they said) are taking over the school and it's a damn shame."   I was literally so shocked, I was speechless.  Are they aware one of their grandchildren, who was playing in the next room, is one of those "blacks"?  My husband, who was sitting next to me, grabbed my hand and squeezed it hard.  Then they talked about the nearest town over and said how "The Blacks" have taken over that school too. (while shaking their head in disgust)  My husband squeezed my hand again.  A black guy Marshall went to school with is now the principal at that school.  My FIL says, "The blacks probably thought he'd be on their side, but he's not.  Boy I bet they were surprised."  Uh, WTF does that mean?  What does it mean to be on "their side"?   I didn't ask what they meant by that and neither did my husband.  We just sat there in horror, squeezing each other's hands as hard as we could.

The reason why my in-laws believe they are not racist, is that they don't physically mistreat "the blacks" and aren't mean to their faces.  In fact they are polite to their faces.  So that means they're not racists... according to them.

But God help them if they ever say that kind of crap in front of our kids.  Because they will get an earful from us.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Burning Bush

My 12 year old son is at the very beginning of the transition of puberty.  He now wears deodorant and though he won't show it, he says he's starting to get a tiny bit of body hair, which is currently very light.  This is my biological son, who though he didn't quite get my full hair color, he has reddish hair and also has my complexion.

One morning he walked into my husband's and my bedroom and said,

SON: "What color do you think my hair will be when it grows in down there?"

ME: "I have no idea."

HUSBAND: "Probably black like mine."

SON: "Whew! I hope it's black because to have red hair down there would be FREAKY. *turns to me* Uh, no offense, Mama."

ME: *faceplant*

Friday, July 13, 2012

"Mama, What Does Sperm Look Like?"

Last night my 8 year old son got a little curious about sperm. 

SON: "So what does sperm really look like?"

ME: "uh... uh... kind of like a tadpole." *pulls up pic of tadpole on iPhone*

SON: "Yes but do you have a picture of sperm?"

ME: *pulls up drawing of sperm on iPhone*

SON: *eyes wide* "That looks like that hurts!"

ME:  "It's microscopic. You can't even see it without a microscope."

SON: "Well that's a relief, otherwise it would hurt coming out. So you can't even feel it when it's coming out, can you? How do you even know it's coming out?"

ME: *turns to husband* "Uh babe, would you like to take over the conversation from here?"

HUSBAND:  *turns to me* "Nope! You're doing just fine by yourself!" *grins*

ME: *facepalm*

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What's Love Got To Do With It?

My husband is one of the most loving and affectionate husbands and fathers out there. However he feels no attachment whatsoever to either of his parents nor toward his only brother.

It's easy to understand not feeling attached to your brother if he beat you up every time your parents weren't looking, and your parents were almost never watching you.  In fact my husband's brother would enlist his friends and their cousins to taunt and beat up my husband as he was a young boy.  At the bus stop, he'd throw rocks at him.  Call him names.  Belittle him.  And this brother wonders why we don't want anything to do with him now.   What about his older brother? Well he's on his 2nd marriage since he's a carbon copy of his father and his first wife wasn't about to put up with being treated like that.  He and his 2nd wife have no kids (so far) and we're desperately hoping they never do, because he will be the same kind of father his dad was, messing up another generation of kids.

So back to my husband having no attachment to his parents. He doesn't even have extreme anger toward them... just indifference, which is kind of weird.  I've spent the last 16 years trying to figure out the family dynamics and how my husband turned out so differently from his family.  How he can be so loving and come from such an unloving family?  How he can love his black children so much, and come from a racist family?  How he can put his family first when his father put their family last?  How he can have such a great sense of humor when anger seems to be the only thing his family is good at?

There was no fun in his family growing up.  No hugging.  No games.  Just chores.  And whippings.  Once my brother-in-law made my FIL so mad that after he got done whipping him with a belt, he went into my husband's room and beat him too.  FOR SOMETHING HIS BROTHER DID.  This was a "Children Should Be Seen And Not Heard" kind of household.  My husband has no memory of what his mother (a stay-at-home mom) was doing while he was growing up.  He says she definitely wasn't cleaning or cooking.  She never even got out of bed to see them off to school.  She clearly was very depressed.  My FIL never really showed love to her.  No gifts to her for their anniversaries, or Valentine's Day. No flowers given to her.  He's the kind of dad who said he loved her on her wedding day, so why should he say it again?

Earlier this year when his parents were visiting, they asked to go out to eat with just my husband and I.  (i.e. no kids)  Somehow my husband started talking about his journey as a father and how he's learned to put them first, not to yell at them, and to enjoy them every chance he gets.  He's such a fun dad.  That's why we homeschool.  Just so we can adjust to his unusual working schedule and maximize his time with the kids.

SIDENOTE: My FIL has always had this thing where he tells us he was such a lousy dad. And then my MIL immediately says, "No honey, you did the best you could."  My FIL isn't really confessing anything.  Because his boys are still alive and so are his grandkids and he doesn't try to do any better with them.  No, he says it because he wants someone to say, "Oh no... you did your best."  By the way, every time my FIL does this, it drives us INSANE.

Back to this dinner.  My husband explaining his journey as a father. His dad interrupted about 6 or 7 times and said, "It's because I was such a bad father, wasn't it? "  My husband quickly said, "Yes" and then went on to what he was saying before he was interrupted.  I was SO PROUD of my husband for this.  Of course since my FIL didn't get the answer he wanted, that's why he kept interrupting, asking the same thing.  Each time my husband quickly said, "Yes" and went back to what he was saying.  I really don't think either of his parents actually listened to what my husband was talking about because they were so shocked that my husband acknowledged what a crappy parent his dad was.

Then his parents felt the need to respond and defend their past sins as parents.  My FIL said, "Well I never hugged you guys or said I loved you because my father never did those things with me.  I didn't know any better because I wasn't shown any better."  Neither my husband or I nodded in acknowledgment.  We just stared at him.  Then my MIL said, "I too never hugged you guys or told you I loved you because my parents never said those things to me.  I just didn't know any better."

HOLD UP.... wait a minute.  His mother didn't tell her boys she loved them when they were growing up? No hugs?  How effed up is that?  Well that's my answer to why my husband is so different.  He never formed an attachment to them.  Which is why he never felt compelled to be like them, follow their beliefs, etc.  And thank GOD he's not a Mama's boy!

But we're so SICK TO DEATH of their stupid excuse that they were crappy parents because they had crappy parents.  How exactly does that explain how my husband has become such an outstanding husband and father?  That's right... it takes away their excuse because they have NO EXCUSE.

I've since talked with my husband about his parents never saying they loved him.  This just blows my mind.  He said he thinks they probably never really felt that way toward them.  Raising kids was all about chores and discipline.

Now that the boys are adults, both his parents regularly say they love him (and me too).  Oh how it makes me squirm to do the expected, "we love you too" responds and I often try to change the subject so I don't have to say it.  I try to position myself so I am not forced to hug them when we say hello and goodbye.  Often I'm not successful and their hugs feel icky.

If you were to meet them, you'd feel they were nice and friendly (perhaps a little dumb-sounding with their deep country accent) but they would be pleasantly nice to you.  But if you were to dig a little under the surface, you'd find a seriously effed up family.

And I couldn't be more happy that my husband feels no attachment whatsoever toward his family.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Beware of the Coal Shovel!

Did I ever tell you about the time my Grandmother fell on a coal shovel and got pregnant?  Well that was her official story, anyway.

Now my Grandmother was mentally ill (through childhood experiences, not genetically) and my Grandfather was Autistic.  My dad was their only child. (together, anyway)

My dad said many men used to come over to the house when he was young and his father was away working on the railroad. He remembers my Grandmother would sit on their laps.  Especially one guy in particular.  Jim McGillicuddy.
My dad remembers him so well because he wished this guy would be his new dad, since his current dad was a little lacking in the social skills department.

Anywho, my Grandmother got pregnant.  So when my Grandfather returned home from working on the Railroad, my Grandmother told him she was pregnant, BUT she did not cheat on him.  NO!  She was out in the yard, fell on a coal shovel, and somehow got pregnant.  And you know what? My Grandfather BELIEVED HER!

Now I've known this story most of my life.  I only now looked up what a coal shovel looked like for this post.  My first reaction to hearing this story was WTF? But now, after seeing a coal shovel, my new first reaction is "OWWWWWWW".  That's GOTTA HURT.  Though did she fall on the handle or the shovel part? I don't think anyone ever asked her.

Sadly, the baby was a stillborn and was malformed, but as my dad always said, "What did you expect? It was half-coal shovel!"

I'm eternally grateful my dad turned to humor instead of say... serial killing, to help him deal with his childhood.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Physical Affection Ends At Age 13

My father-in-law proudly told my oldest son one evening that in 6 months when he turns 13, he will start greeting him with a handshake instead of a hug.  Uh... okaaaaay. #weirdo

As soon as I came over to their house, my son approached me in another room and told me what his Grandfather had said to him.  He then said, "Uh, that's really weird.  Is that how they do things in The South?"  To which I replied, "I have no idea. Yes that is weird."

My eldest son is very physically affectionate. He still loves to cuddle with us.  He makes sure he hugs and kisses every member of the family (including the cats) before he goes to bed.  He loves hugs.  So he sees it as his grandfather will stop being affectionate with him when he becomes a teenager.

At dinner, while the kids were playing outside, my FIL proudly announced to us that he had told my son that.  Like it's some rite of passage that we should all be excited about.  *rolls eyes* I looked at him with a confused look on my face and said, "Is that a Southern thing?" and he said, "Yes!".  And I replied, "Okaaaaaay." My usually oblivious MIL actually could see that both my husband and I thought it was weird.

As we were leaving their house later that evening my son said to his grandfather, "Am I still allowed to hug you goodbye?"  Hahaha I love that kid.

Since that time, my husband and I have brought it up several times in front of the in-laws.  "Hey, make sure you get your hugs in now, because no hugs from Grandpa when you turn 13!"   And while my MIL gets that we think it's weird, my FIL is clueless.  He just proudly says, "Yep!"  And my MIL will follow up quietly (so the FIL won't hear her) "Well, rules were made to be broken."  (Heaven forbid he actually hears her stand up to him!)

When the actual time comes and my FIL greets my son with a handshake instead of a hug, I think my husband should also refuse to hug his dad and instead offer his hand for a handshake.  After all, my husband is over the age of 12 as well.  As a matter of fact, I think I'll offer my hand as well.  Anything to get out of the obligatory hug!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Boundaries? What are those?

Back before my in-laws purchased their vacation home nearby, they used to stay with us when they visited.  That's where I became fond of the saying, "Fish and Family start to stink after 3 days".  

There were times I would run errands while the in-laws stayed home at our house.  That's when I learned that when I was out, my Mother-in-law would get on my computer and read my email.  Now I'm not sure how long she had been doing it, but one day I came home to find her quite upset.  

Sidenote: My husband's brother is a big time jerky jerk. He's pretty much a carbon copy of my Father-in-law.  We loved the brother's wife, but as any self-respecting woman who is being forced to live in a 1940's era marriage, she left him.  After the divorce we kept in close contact with her and she continued to come out and visit us.  

Now back to my MIL and why she was upset when I arrived home.  She had seen (and read) an email from my former sister-in-law to me.  It was a harmless email (i.e. it didn't say anything negative about the in-laws or her ex) but my MIL was pissed that I was still in contact with her.  Of course to confront me, she had to admit that she had been reading my email.  

She didn't seem to think that reading my email was as big of a deal as the fact that I was still in contact with her former daughter-in-law.  

Of course that day I immediately password-protected my computer and we then informed her that if she wanted to use the internet, she had to use the "guest" account on my husband's computer.  (by the way, she never even asked to use my computer prior to using it.)

This is the same woman that even now that they have a vacation house nearby, comes over to my house, sees a pile of mail, and will pick it up and go through it.  Ahhhhhhhhh!

Even though we don't play their games, my husband and I aren't really free to confront/reprimand them.  For one, it's against their culture to reprimand your elders, especially your parents.  And two, with their emotional maturity of high-schoolers, if we were to ever reprimand them... they would sell their vacation house and never visit/talk to us again.  While that is sometimes a tempting option, in the long run we feel it best not to get cut off by the family.  

So my husband and I are forced to just complain to each other about them.  We actually text each other under the table when we're eating with them, or my husband will grab my knee whenever they are saying something ridiculous.  

Thank God my husband is just as annoyed by them as I am, or I'd never make it!