My son Jaimie graduated from Moravian on Saturday and my sister Janet came into town from Ann Arbor on Thursday. I had several times to sit down several times with her to chew through our current situations, some past family matters and celebrate being siblings. I really enjoyed our time together as well as our time together with Rosalie and Jaimie in various meals over the several days. (Too much food, though) We have grown to be good friends over the last years and have both survived some intense relationship breakups that still reverberate in our current situations. It was good to deal with these feelings with each other.
Our father had some serious chemical/psychological problems that still affect me today (I tend to avoid emotional conflict), and our mother had to put up with that and still raise us and maintain a remarkable career as an artist in Early American Decoration – stencils, gold leaf, tin painting, glass painting, and several other guild-level types of art/craft. She was quite a woman. My older sister, unfortunately, has cut us off from her life, mostly because of religious reasons that still leave us scratching our heads. What I always thought was a normal family seems to be less so, upon reflection.
I am quite proud of Jaimie and his college career. He pulled himself out of a nose-dive after his freshman year and became a dean’s list student in his field, business management, He now holds down a good position at the Ritz Carlton in Philly. His summer work in our old home town of Madison, CT at a high-end hotel proved to give him the connections to his new job. He had become a confident young man and is on a good path forward. He’s also become a good friend and we can communicate freely and honestly.
The Saturday Commencement was nice, yet awkward, in that my former wife and Jaimie’s mom was in attendance with her new fiance and former friend of mine (for 40 years) along with Rosalie and her boyfriend, back in town and staying with these two folks. I have still not come to grips with the divorce and especially the situation that precipitated it and the lack of counseling during the breakup. I remain scarred.
Part of the problem was my perceived inequity in providing for Jaimie’s education. I wound up responsible for his tuition for the four years at Moravian in trade for her ‘share’ in Godfreys’ building, such as it is. I do not regret emptying my IRA and my bank account for Jaimie’s sake, but I would have appreciated a word or two of thanks from my former life partner during the day, especially during the ‘family’ pictures after the ceremony. But, life is not fair.
Today was a strange mix of my pride in Jaimie’s accomplishments, the celebration of some close family connections, but yet a reminder of a bitter and unresolved betrayal that still keeps me awake at night. Quite a bit to chew on for today.