Saturday, 9 July 2011

Childhood scars

These days, because the poor old Mac tends to shut down on me without so much of a courtesy notice, I haven't been online as much as before. In fact yesterday, I was reading newspapers and magazines and running errands all day long until after dinner when I decided to sort out the stuff on the Mac to get ready for a new Mac - I think I already have an idea of what I want so it's now a matter of discussing with Sito when he comes home TODAY :)

Anyway, so I was reading the news this morning and came across The Divorce Generation, which brought back memories of my parents' divorce and triggered some thoughts.

I was already 19 when it happened. I even went to court with Mother and heard things I never wanted to hear. I think it was just to ascertain the reason for divorce. Custody and maintenance were settled literally outside the courtroom.

Custody was not an issue. He said he wanted only YQ and of course she didn't allow and he didn't even fight against that. Maintenance was a problem. He suggested $200 a month for all of us and even his lawyer said that wouldn't be enough. Decided on $500 in the end but he was always defaulting in the seven years before YQ turned 21 anyway...

Amicable divorce? I don't think so. There was lots of yelling in the year preceding the divorce - my "A" level year! - when a catalyst sparked things off. She even took flight for a couple of days and stayed with a relative. But the divorce wasn't unexpected since they had not spoken for years before that. Perhaps Mother considered us so she didn't think of a divorce until it got real bad. But recalling an argument with her, I don't know if she realised how their failed marriage affected her and ultimately us.

I actually think their divorce did her good, did us good too. What was bad was the kind of family we had to grow up in. I was about nine at the first outburst. I could hear the yelling as I wasn't asleep yet. Grandma was siding with her son and added to the quarrel. Things healed when he got into an accident. I remember being happy seeing them talk to each other again. But that didn't last for more than a year. And all those years, I would hear stories of his misdeeds and betrayal on top of witnessing everything else. Once, a neighbour had to intervene. Before he left, he told the 12-year-old me that I, as the eldest child, had to think for the family since no one else seemed to be doing that.

When I first truly understood the meaning of "family", I realised I actually had no family. The place I was living in was not a home. I totally hated that so-called family. I turned to my friends. Thank goodness I've always had decent friends! Otherwise, I might perhaps have fitted right into the stereotype of a child from a dysfunctional family. But I also refused to turn stupidly rebellious like YQ (who blatantly denied smoking) or weird like MZ (who spent too much time at home) - I wanted to carve out a new path for myself and I did. Obviously, these events of my childhood had left their marks, but in a positive light, they were my motivation growing up and moulded me somewhat in my thoughts and actions, as seen in some of my notes in this blog...

A friend once commented that if I wasn't close to my family then, it would be difficult to have a close family next time, perhaps because I wouldn't know how to. I think the exact opposite. Because I wasn't close to my family, all the more I want to ensure I foster a close-knit family when I have one. Marriage is only the beginning, and it takes effort to keep it tight. Having children is another beginning in life and a milestone in a marriage, and it takes effort too to raise a family - self, spouse and children.

Ok, enough of the heavy stuff on such a beautiful Saturday afternoon! I just baked some muffins while writing (multi-tasker mf!) and gave a few to J. I'm heading out to do some quick shopping and when I'm back, I'll prepare dinner and wait for Sito to come home! :)

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