There is no better way to start this post than to just state the facts, clear and simple.
My parents are drug addicts.
It’s something I’ve had to live with for years and something that just is.
My parents were great when I was young. Right up until I was about 10, my sister and I lived a great life…maybe we were even spoiled. Without going into really lengthy details, it all just fell to pieces. And by “fell” I mean crashed, and by “pieces” I mean shattered shards.
Growing up, life was hectic. An absolute mess. I would pause every day on my porch before I walked in the door, mentally preparing myself for what could possibly be inside. Would they be fighting? Would they be passed out and incoherent? Would they be angry, mean, and hurtful? Or worse, would they act like everything was OK? Would they be in good spirits, allowing my sister and me to experience a few hours’ worth of peace and pseudo-happiness?
It was hard. I was hard: a really bitter person. I wasn’t necessarily outwardly “emo” or “goth” about things—I would smile and laugh, I had a lot of fun with the few friends that I did have, I would sing in the hallways and do stupid dances. I was just focused, I guess. I worked really hard in high school because I knew that was the only way out, but I made it very clear that I was over it and ready to move on and be and do better. I ran into someone I knew in high school at a local bar a few months ago and he was like, “You just look so much happier now.” I said, “I was a big miserable bitch in high school, huh?” He laughed and responded, “I wasn’t going to say it first, but yeah. I’m sure you can still be a bitch, but you don’t LOOK like a bitch anymore. Does that make sense?”
Which makes the Palm Trees’ relationship all the more miraculous, if you ask me. Like I said in our Story of Us posts: You may remember that Mr. Palm Tree and I grew up across the street from one another. Aside from occasionally seeing each other whenever our sisters were being dropped off at one another’s houses, we didn’t interact much after we moved across town. My sister, however, would always go to their house when things were really bad at ours. You know how you always have that friend who knows everything and is your escape? BM Badonk was that for my sister.
As a result, Mr. Palm Tree knew things; they trickled down from his parents or whatever. One day, early in our friendship, before that fateful day he stopped me in the hall to ask if I’d be his girlfriend, he stopped me in the hall to say something else. I was in a good mood that day for whatever reason and was smiling and laughing with a friend. He touched my arm and looked super serious, which halted me in my tracks. “Hey. I just wanted to say…I’m really sorry about what’s going on at home.”
The sincerity in his eyes made for one of the most dramatically memorable moments of my life, folks. I mean, the people walking in the hall slowed down, I couldn’t hear anything except my heart—advanced digital-editing style. I know that I said thank you, but I don’t know what else happened. All that I know is that he broke through some walls. He caught me off guard and just reached a part of me that people didn’t even know existed, that I barely acknowledged.
Mr. PT has been with me through so many stages of family CRAP. My dad in rehab, my mom in rehab, both of them disappearing (literally) for days on end; who is in jail, who is trying to bail someone out of jail, who is stealing from us (again: literally), who is violent—I could go on forever. We’ve been through some hairy stuff and, really, he could have walked away at any time and didn’t. To my knowledge, he never even wavered.
It has taken years to get to the point where I am now, which is acceptance. I accept that these people have made their choices. I accept that these people, blood and history aside, are not my real family. I accept all of this and, furthermore, I am so incredibly grateful for the people who ARE in my life. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not hard sometimes, guys.
For instance, after years of keeping the door to these people (my sister, who has made her own choices, included) firmly closed, my mother has recently decided to get “clean”—for about the 98,490,348,534,978th time. In order to keep the peace and to try to have some control over the situation, she is invited to the wedding. By that I mean: It is not beyond her or my father to just show up, invited or not, and turn our wedding into Drama Rama 2013. This was not an easy decision, but Mr. Palm Tree and I figure that she is the one, out of the three, to act the most like a legitimate human being and that, honestly, she would be the one most hurt and likely to cause a SCENE over not being invited. By inviting her and stressing that we are taking a leap of faith by doing so and that she is just a guest, not a guest of honor, we are able to at least prepare accordingly. This will literally be the first time I have seen her in years and I’m not exactly looking forward to it, but we both agree that it’s the right thing to do.
Planning a wedding and getting married are just more milestones in my life that I will go through without my “parents” in their traditional roles. I would be lying if I said there weren’t times that this saddened, frustrated, or just plain old upset me; I would be lying if I said that I haven’t had irrational, emotional moments despite this having been the case for almost 10 years. (I left home unofficially when I was 16 and moved in with Mr. Palm Tree’s family, for whom I am eternally grateful, and the day I turned 18 we bought a giant tub at Walmart, went to the place my parents were living at the time, and packed up every single remaining belonging.)
That doesn’t change the facts, though, and this isn’t the first time I’ve gone through this. I graduated high school and college alone, and come this May I will be walking down the aisle alone. I will not dance with my father or have someone give me away, and you know, all of this is OK. I’ve gotten sad from time to time, but really it doesn’t make my day, OUR day, any *less* anything. If anything, it makes it more “us”: It’s been the two of us, together, for what will be almost nine years on the day of our wedding. Mr. Palm Tree is the one who grounds me, my single source of stability and consistency, and on our wedding day I can’t wait to walk toward him like I did all those years ago in a crappy high school hallway and have the same dramatic movie effects happen all over again.
Does anyone else have family difficulties that have affected your planning process? Anyone else in the opposite boat, where you’ve been the one to stick by your significant other through the troubled waters?