Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My Dad's Family is Ridiculous

When Dad passed away in June, I should have known this kind of thing would happen. His family has always been this way. I should have expected them to try and cut me and my sister out of everything. If it hadn't been for my uncle talking to his neighbor who is friends with my mother in law, my sister and I would have found out from my cousin via text message.

Yes, we probably went about it in the entirely wrong way, but it's what Dad told us to do, so we honored his wishes. He told us how thing would go, and he was never more right in his life. Even after death, still hear him talking. He says to let it go and remember what he said.

Let me start with Dad, pre-death. Dad was a photographer. He was a damn good one at that. He loved his kids. He loved my mother even after the divorce, right down to the day he died. He told lame jokes. He did some pretty outrageous things, but all in all, he was my Dad, and regardless of how embarassing he was, I loved him.

Dad struggled with diabetes for as long as I can remember. I don't know if he found out right before or right after I was born, but for 26 years he struggled with it. Dad was stubborn in his own ways, and you couldn't tell him anything, especially when it came to his health. I know he heard what was said. He listened, but he didn't take the advice. Now, this is where the family comes into play.

They always felt like we didn't take care of our dad. We were irresponsible. We should have jumped when he said jump. We should have catered to his every need. Screw that! We weren't irresponsible. We were, and still are, young. I know alot about his disease. I know more about my dad than his own brothers and sisters, or most of them for that matter. I wasn't catering to him. His "needs" consisted of oreos, oranges slices (the little jelly candies with sugar all over them), Taco Bell, Butterfingers, etc. Anyone who knows anything about diabetes knows that THEY CAN'T HAVE THAT CRAP! I refused to let him have it. My sister refused to let him have it. I wanted Dad to be around another day. I listened to his doctors.

Dad was in a nursing home when I was around 21 or 22. He couldn't control his diabetes any longer. While he hated being there because he didn't have any freedom, he knew it was for the better. I hated him being there. I hated to feel like I tortured him. I knew that once he went in there, he was probably never coming out. If I had known the outcome, I would have changed things I did, but it's too late to go back now.

I said before that Dad was a photographer. I take pride in saying that. He taught me everything I know. Sadly, some of my dad's family takes me for a fool. I knew he would probably never take pictures again. I knew that he had one wish, and that was to take pictures of his daughters at their weddings. My sister didn't have a big wedding, and when she got married, Dad was hospitalized anyways. I was going to have a big wedding though. I was going to have my dad, with the help of someone, take my pictures. Boy, did that make his day when I told him that. I saw his face light up, and he filled up with pride, knowing that I had asked him to do it. Granted, that meant he couldn't walk me down the aisle, but he was going to take my wedding pictures.

Unfortunately, the Navy had other ideas. We ended up getting married before our scheduled wedding date. We got married in Illinois while Adam was at Great Lakes. Dad never got to take those wedding pictures. He had gone out and spent all the money and the time to prep and buy the equipment he needed to have for the wedding.

Now all this leads up to the point of this blog. On the day of my father's funeral, my sister, my husband and I asked for a few things that were Dad's. Well, as I said before, we honored my father's wishes. His prized possession was his camera equipment. He said time and time again that we were to fight for that. His exact words being, "They'll do anything to get their hands on my cameras to sell them and make money. These cameras are for you girls. Don't let them have them. I want you both to have a camera case. I have a camera, flash, lenses, and battery packs in these cases. Don't let them get them."

Sarah has her's. They have mine. Dad sold off the rest of his equipment to make some money. The reason he never sold the one is because he had given it to me. I never took it because I had no where to put it when I drove back down to Virginia.

That's okay. The jokes on them. My dad was smarter than they'll ever know. I think somehow, he always knew it would turn out like this. He was quick to make sure that his kids were taken care of. They think they know, but they have no idea. That camera that they're holding hostage, it's a 35mm Canon. They think they're going to sell it and get over $800 for it? IT'S FILM. NOT DIGITAL. FILM. Maybe with the flash and lenses, but it still won't amount to that more than likely. Dad bought it all brand new and the camera itself, he only had $150 in it. Yes, lenses are expensive, but when the statement was made at how much they sold the others for, the exact words were, "I sold three or four of them for your dad and made $800 for him."

Okay, so this one is a bright one. She's a teacher. Let's do some elementary math. Three goes into 800 how many times? Four goes into 800 how many times? YOU DIDN'T MAKE 800 OFF EACH CAMERA. YOU MADE 800 TOTAL. We's got us a Enstein on r hands.

Alright, enough bashing people. Back to the joke being on them. Dad must have figured years ago that this would happen. When he left Kmart, he made a comment to us that only seemed to pop into memory when JAG called my sister to say that his pension and 401k with Kmart was frozen, and that we were the only ones who could touch it, along with my mom, who was awarded one or the other in their divorce. Dad had said back when that he had added my sister and myself as beneficiaries to both his pension and 401k. In the event that my mother passed away before he did, we were to be awarded whatever she was granted during the divorce, by the ruling of the court. He wasn't allowed to touch the other one, so he made us beneficiaries on that.

Basically, what he did was make us beneficiaries on both his pension and 401k. In the event that my mother went before he did, the one was coming straight to me and my sister. The other, after my dad passed away, he didn't want his family getting it, so he made us beneficiaries. Looking back I remember that conversation. His reasoning was simple. "I don't want them to get it." (See a repetition going on?) "I worked to take care of my family. I don't want them to get their hands on it. My girls are entitled to it. I know they won't let you girls see any of it if it was up to them, so I'm making sure you're taken care of."

That's my dad. He did whatever he had to do to make sure that his two daughters were taken care of. The funny thing is, at first, I thought he was exaggerating. That some of this stuff he said was him blowing things out of proportion. As I've gotten older, I've seen more and more. I've been shut out. My sister has been shut out. We aren't like them. We never have been. Never will be.

He was right. They did exactly what he said they would do. The best thing is that I know what's coming next. Their world is going to cave in. My sister and I hold the hand that will make them fold. We have the trump card. We're going to rock their world, and the most awesome feeling is knowing that my dad is there backing us up 100%. They don't want to answer our phone calls. They don't want to say anything to us because we hurt their feelings by "attacking" them the day my dad was laid to rest. They want an attack, they haven't seen shit yet. I want nothing to do with them, minus two of my aunts and one uncle and their spouses and kids. I believe in karma. I believe that after the shit they put us through, and by us, I mean Dad, Sarah and myself, I feel their time is coming. It's sad to say, but so very true.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I have to get this off my chest

I read a discussion on facebook in a navy wife group that kind of irks me. Yes, the girl was venting. Yes, she had a point, but something I've learned over the past few months is that her point won't get her very far with other branches and civilians.

So here's what happened. She started a discussion because her cousin, who is an army wife, wasn't sympathizing with her over a deployment. The cousin said it was just the navy. Granted, the cousin shouldn't have said this, but I've learned all too well that when it comes to deployments, each branch sees the other branches deployments differently, and most don't consider a couple of months a "real" deployment.

Okay, so what irks me is that this has become a discussion from a cousin who doesn't act supportive to bashing wives from other branches because they just don't get it and they say mean things. How old are we, really? It's not branch hating. How are you really able to sit there and bash your cousin or your sister or whoever you're talking about and say how they aren't supportive and blah blah blah and call them branch haters, when in all reality, you're doing just the same?

In my past, I have dated guys who were army. My sister is married into the Army. The one guy I dated was deployed during our relationship. It was hard. Every day I panicked. I didn't know what was going on. At first it was just letters. I might get one a week. I might get one three weeks later. It was super stressful. The biggest mistake I've ever made happened with him. I really regret it, but only to the extent that I really hurt him and ruined something reall great, and if I could take it back and still be married to my husband, I would.

My point is that all deployments in the military are hard. I'm not saying any branch has it harder or easier than another branch. I honestly feel like I have an advantage. I don't have to send my husband off for a year or two years. I don't have to go weeks without hearing from him. Yes, he's always got dangers of pirates or the ship having problems with something exploding or sinking.

Army wives say goodbye for a year or more. They only get to see their husbands for 2 weeks in that amount of time. They learn to do it all alone. They learn to juggle work, parenting, getting their kids to school, practices, put their kids to bed, wake them up, get them bathed, dressed, etc. Their kids grow up without their fathers around for a year or so. For little ones, like my nephew, they don't remember who Daddy is. Daddy remembers that 7 month old. When he pictures his son, that's what he sees. His son is now 18 months old. He's walking, talking and potty training. He doesn't take a bottle anymore. He eats adult food. But to my brother in law, he still sleeps all the time. He still takes a bottle. He's barely even crawling.

Navy wives say goodbye for a couple of days or maybe a few months. They get to see their husband's when the ship pulls in at the pier. Sometimes, the ship pulls in for the weekend and then leaves again. Sometimes the ship comes in and is here for a few weeks, or months. Sometimes, the ship goes off to the ship yards for a while to be worked on. Navy wives still do all the things army wives do while the ship is gone. For the little ones, they have to adjust to Daddy coming and going. They usually remember who Daddy is. Daddy knows them as that 2 year old that they were when he left. When he returns, he's still that 2 year old, or maybe he just had his birthday and now he's 3, but he still hasn't gone from baby to toddler while he was gone.

Every branch has deployments. Every deployments is different. Every wife handles those deployments different. Every wife looks differently at the other branches deployments. To most army wives, we have it easy. To us, they aren't supportive. To us, civilians have it easy. To them, we aren't supportive. We get annoyed when civilians pout over their husbands or boyfriends being gone for a few days, but when we go to an army wife or a marine wife and say we so upset because our spouses are going to be gone for a 3 month deployment, they tend to tell us to suck it up and get over it. Really, we are doing to them like the civilians do to us.

So I'm sorry that I don't feel this girl's cousin wasn't entirely in the wrong. Yes, I feel she should be supportive. That's what military wives do, but to her, she was just slapped in the face by a pouty navy wife. To that army wife, she'd love her husband to be gone for 3 months instead of those 12 months or more, but instead of posting it all over facebook that your cousin didn't comfort you, look at it from her angle.