Friday, July 11, 2008

Memories of a Vodka Drenched Childhood

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I grew up with an alcoholic father. Memories of his drinking go all the way back to nursery school when he'd do things like let me sit on his lap while he drove down the street-while I steered the car. Even then, at the tender age of 4 I knew by the look in my mother's eyes that it was not something I should be doing. I knew by the way that my aunts and uncles looked at my dad that he wasn't like the other dads. Even before I had ever heard the word "alcoholic", I knew what it meant to live with one.

It only got worse for me. I was a good kid-so good that I was afraid to make mistakes because I wanted to make sure he had no reason to yell-yet, even in my kindergarten quest for excellence, he did. It confused me, it saddened me and it devastated me. I loved my father very much and it hurt me to know that he chose alcohol over a relationship with me.

I wanted to have friends over but rarely did because I didn't want them to find out my dirty little secret. I didn't want them to hear my parents fighting or to wander to the bathroom in the middle of the night to find my father sitting in the living room in his underwear with a bottle of vodka by his side. I didn't want them to see my shame.

I learned at a very early age how to make things look like they were perfect, even when I was slowly shutting down on the inside-even though my family life was always unpredictable, always hollow. I made up stories about how great my father was and how many cool things he bought me (I grew up in a very wealthy area-where everyone wore name brand clothes and everyone drove expensive cars...except for us!). It was tiring, trying to hide my sorrow. It made me grow up too soon; it took my smile and hid it deep down inside my soul, not to be found for many, many years.

Today, as I watch my father (who has been sober for quite some time now) interact with my niece Rye Bread, I smile because he's such a good Papa. It makes my heart happy to see him at her T-Ball games and dance recitals and to watch him play with her at the beach. She hugs him without abandon because she trusts him and respects him, and loves him very much. This little girl would never even dream of hiding my father. She smiles when she sees him; he makes her laugh.

I am going to be 32 in a couple of weeks. It has taken me essentially my whole life to get over the fact that my father couldn't show up for my life. In his relationship with Rye Bread, I see what I could have had. I see a man who loves a little girl so much that he would give his life for her. I see a man who truly marvels in watching this silly, smart girl grow up. And it makes me happy, but it also makes me sad.

Because as much as I try to push her aside, there's still the little girl in me who can't understand why her daddy didn't love her as much as he loved vodka.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thursday 13: Things I Didn't Miss On Vacation

Thirteen Things I did NOT miss while I was on Vacation

1. More flags, more fun! (The crazy annoying Six Flags commercial.)

2. People who think they can cross the street whenever they want-even when I have a green light.

3. Working. Not that my job stinks-just...who wouldn't want to be able to sit at the beach all day?

4. Oppressive heat-the ocean breeze just cools things down...aaahhhh.

5. Having to figure out what I'm going to eat for dinner, alone. It's easier to plan big meals for everyone as opposed to a meal for one.

6. Watering plants. I know this sounds lame, but I usually forget to do this and have been trying to be extra attentive to the greens.

7. My Asian neighbor. Yes, he's better than he was before I told on him, but that rolling, rolling, rolling he does on his stupid chair until the wee hours of the morning...gah!

8. Thinking about $$. I didn't have to do that on vacation. (I know, I am lucky.)

9. Monotony. While I enjoy the comfort of routine, it's nice to break out of it now and then.

10. Having a small kitchen. The kitchen at the beach house isn't lavish, but it IS big and open...I mean, it has a bed in it for goodness sake!

11. Walking off of the elevator into a flooded basement. Every time it rains, it seems that the basement in my apartment building floods-and this is how I get in and out of the parking lot. Ick!

12. Being afraid of seeing rats. I live in a very clean apartment complex, but this IS a city. One late night on a weekend (when trash was not picked up) I parked my car and scared 2 rats out of the courtyard. They ran right at me and veered away just before my feet. AAAAAAAA!!!!

13. Being white-and by this I don't mean Caucasian. I mean no sun. I'm still slightly tan (for me) but it won't be long before it fades. :(

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


It's good to be home....and also, it stinks to be home at the same time...

I had 1 crappy beach day, 1 okay beach day and 2 really good beach days...which is why I'm very red.

Except for my knees. For some reason, they didn't get any sun. It's like the sun skipped right over them.

This is the beach house my parents rent:

Yup, that's my bed...right near the stove. :)

Overheard at a Boston area Target prior to leaving for vacation (said by an employee): "I look like a freakin' Haitian today."

I have no idea what that means...

The water in RI this week was extremely clear and refreshing. It was so clear, in fact, that while wave jumping with Rye Bread, I spotted an extremely large Striped Bass. It freaked me out and so we got out of the water.

But not before Rye Bread exclaimed, "I wanna eat that fish!"

Hearing "You know what you're doing" regarding cooking is nice. Unless it's from your mother-who should KNOW I know what I'm doing...

Lobsters that should be dead sometimes continue to move around while being grilled.

...That little crab didn't have a chance. :)

Wii tennis is very addicting.