My stepfather’s birthday was yesterday (08/27).
As she does every year, my mom called me to remind me to call him to wish him a happy birthday. Now, I’m not the type to forget important dates. If I routinely don’t acknowledge an important date, there’s usually a good reason why.
My mom married my stepfather, Aaron, when I was six years old. I don’t know what happened between my mom and my birth father; I’m 32 years old now and to this date I still haven’t gotten a straight answer about what happened between them. I feel like I deserve to know, seeing as I’m their offspring and all, but I think the only way that I’ll ever get a straight answer (read: CLOSURE) is if I have them face to face in a room, just the three of us, but that will probably never happen. Let’s save that for another post.
As I was saying, my mom married Aaron when I was six years old. I can remember telling my mom that I didn’t like Aaron while they were dating. After they got married, I began a mental countdown of the days until I could leave their house. Most of those days were filled with fear, shame, blood, bruises and tears.
Aaron was terribly abusive. I say “was” because I’ve heard that he isn’t as violent as he used to be, possibly because he’s getting older and his health is waning. He spared no regard for me with every slap, punch, curse and hit. For eleven years I dealt with his crap. He abused narcotics and alcohol and for the first few years of their marriage, abused both my mom and me. My grandpa put a stop to Aaron laying his hands on my mom. Grandpa told me, however, that I have the type of personality that makes a man want to hit me – because I am opinionated, have goals and speak up for myself, which at least in the “old school mentality” probably means I don’t “know my place” as a woman. *shrug* To that, all I can say is…Well, my husband has never laid a hand on me.
My mom knows how much of an asshole Aaron is. I believe that’s why she worked all those long hours during my adolescent and teen years. Yeah, I’m sure they needed the money (did I mention that Aaron was bad with money?), but less time for her at home = less time for her with Aaron. That didn’t change much when my sister and brother came along.
From what I recall, Aaron didn’t hit my sister or brother much. They were his kids, after all. He verbally abused them, but not as much as he did me. I caught the business a LOT. I can remember being beaten with belts, shoes, extension cords – whatever he could get his hands on. One of his favorite things to do was to put rubbing alcohol on the open welts he created from beating me, and if I cried or made too much noise from the pain, I got beaten again. He threw things at me. He busted my lips. He gave me ugly bruises that took weeks to heal. I have memories of wondering why I had to be subjected to his behavior. I remember my mom, in a tearful, terrified moment, pulling my sister and I close and making us promise her that we would never marry a man like Aaron. Well, I hope in that respect I’ve made her proud.
I know it hurts my mom’s feelings when I don’t acknowledge Aaron, but that’s not my problem. My mom decided to marry, and stay with, an asshole. She has to deal with that. She wants me to “be the bigger person” and talk with Aaron, to clear the air from all these years of animosity, but I don’t believe that’s my responsibility. I have my own family to worry about now. I have three young, small, impressionable children that I will guard with my life without a moment’s hesitation. I vowed, and Dorian understands and agrees, that Aaron will NOT be left alone with our children, EVER. Even if Aaron’s behavior has calmed down…Whatever, I don’t want to hear that. As a Christian and the “bigger” person, I’ve forgiven Aaron for his indiscretions, but I will NEVER forget them. I acknowledge him because he is married to my mother, but that’s where it stops. My mom desperately wants me to let my children engage with Aaron as their grandfather. FAT CHANCE. As long as I am making the decisions for my children, I will choose to let Aaron kick hot lava rocks with his bare feet before I let my kids call him “grandpa”. Whenever I hear Aaron being referred to as their grandpa, I respectfully try to correct whoever is making the mistake because let’s face it, he is NOT their grandfather. Aaron is not my father. He did not adopt me. He is the type of person that I, as a parent, am responsible for shielding my children from. He should thank whatever angels he has in Heaven that he is allowed into my home when he tags along with my mom for visits to HER grandchildren. If, when my children are older and are able to understand and respect the dynamic between Aaron, my mom and I, they decide to embrace Aaron, then that is their decision to make and I will accept it. But for now, if they never saw Aaron again I would not shed a tear. I know this kind of attitude has the potential to taint my children’s opinion of Aaron, and that is why I try to act indifferent in regard to him. But for all my effort, I’m sure they pick up on the dissension that THE ENTIRE EXTENDED FAMILY has toward Aaron. Would I be exaggerating if I said no one likes Aaron? Probably not. I’m sure that there is someone who is fond of him…Somewhere. But none of them stay at my address.
I’ve had talks with my mom before regarding how I feel about Aaron but I can’t help but feel like my words fall on deaf ears. I wish my mom would respect my feelings about Aaron and quit insisting that I be “the bigger person” and “the one to heal the brokenness in the family”. I’m not the problem. I’m an unfortunate factor in the equation. Hell, I don’t even want to be in the equation but my mom keeps adding me into it. How hard is it to accept that my family and I don’t want anything to do with Aaron?
I pray that we won’t have to go to extreme measures to find out.
Have you had to deal with someone in your family that you didn’t like or made you feel uncomfortable? How did you handle it? Do you think my feelings toward my stepfather are justified, or am I blowing it out of proportion? Let me know, leave a comment below!
- The “Art” of Letting Go (elfinfun.wordpress.com)
- Something’s Shifting (ateachablemom.com)
- On making trips home. (herbeautifulmonster.com)