Growing up I lived in 8 cities by the time I turned 18.
My parents were both from a small MidWesterns and they were tan and blonde and ready to travel. My dad had a a job for a big corporation, and had to wear a suit to work. His hair was always a little too long. His hair blonde, due to his use of Sun In.
Mornings were filled with optimism, energy and Old Spice. His attention not yet on us. Ready to tackle the day. By the end of the day came dreaded dinners.
“Sit up straight, God dammit.” Sitting up us straight as possible, eyes cast down. Any giggling on the part of my brother and I met with sneers from my dad.
My mom, much like other enabling spouses, isn’t prominent in my memories of his explosions and nastiness. I just remember her silence. I also remember I wasn’t supposed to drink milk, as it “could make me fat.”
Not only did we grow up moving a lot but we also traveled quite a bit. Long road trips and domestic travel. I was constantly starting over. New state, new friends, new accents, same family dynamics ruled by fear and confusion.
Again, with mental illness there are no physical scars, so we weren’t afraid he’d hit us.
We were afraid of the misery he’d bring.
Mostly, I think of his nasty smile, at the risk of sounding like Trump. But it was not a nice smile, that would often tell you, you were getting too close to bringing some rath.
Homes should allow kids to be kids. I was not given that. I easily conversed with adults, sat up straight and listened.