Hey there, my name is Savannah. A 27 year old Northern California chick attempting to get through life without losing her shit..easier said than done, of course.
I always had the assumption that I grew up in your typical middle class neighborhood, in your typical middle class family. I always had the assumption that ALL families fight, mine wasn’t out of the ordinary. The yelling, dishes breaking, disappearing acts..it was all normal, right?? I have great parents, they raised me well, I turned out just fine!! Right?!
I feel like those around me, my friends, ex-boyfriends, husband, even my therapist…They just might disagree with me. Hell, I think I’M starting to disagree with me.
The older I get the more I’m starting to see that maybe it wasn’t all middle class sunshine and daisies. Maybe things weren’t so typical.
Let’s Start From the Beginning.
My origin story.
As a teenager, when I looked back on childhood memories I remember having such a fun time. My mom taking my sister and I EVERYWHERE. The zoo, San Francisco day trips, random shopping trips, out of town weekend trips… I have the best mother anyone could ask for. We were always on the go. She worked full time, but always made time for us. While she was at work, I got to hang out with my two best friends, Grandma and Grandpa. Whom I adored, and they adored me. For a small girl, it was amazing! Looking back, now 27 years old, I must have blocked out the bad..
Listening to my story, you would assume I was raised by a single mother. In a sense, I suppose I was. But no, my father lived with us, I guess… From my earliest memory, my parents were always fighting. My mom always tried to keep it behind closed doors but, just because we weren’t seeing the arguments didn’t mean we didn’t know what was going on. When my dad was around, we could hear the arguing through out the house. When he wasn’t, it was over the phone.
Not till I was much older did I realize my father was a functioning alcoholic. He would disappear for days, even weeks, at a time to go on bingers. Being the child of an absent alcoholic parent, I would say I got pretty lucky. As messed up as that sounds. See, he was a functioning alcoholic. He always went to work, he always provided a paycheck, put a roof over our heads and food on the plate. He just….wasn’t around. And when he was, I felt as though he wanted nothing to do with me… Going to the grocery store, any errand.. I would beg for him to bring me along..the answer was always “not this time, baby.” I didn’t understand. Why didn’t he want to be around me? Did he decide he didn’t love me anymore? Had he ever? I would scream and cry and beg… I just wanted to be with my daddy.. Didn’t every little girl?
I watched and listened to my parents argue for 17 years. I watch my mom cry, yell, and threaten divorce for 17 years. (I even encouraged her to divorce my dad. At this point in life, I hated him. I didn’t respect him. I didn’t listen to him. I didn’t KNOW him.) My mom never asked for a divorce. She always held out hope he would change. She held out hope that one day he would wake up and decide to get sober, be a good husband and a good dad.
When I was about 17 years old, my mom told my dad that he had two choices. He could go to rehab or lose his family. Something in her tone, in her attitude changed that day. He knew that this time, she was dead serious. He put himself into rehab. Two emotionally exhausting months of rehab. Two months full of tears, arguments, screaming, acting out, anger.. Two life changing months that brought my family back together. That gave me a father and a lot of scars.