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October 31, 2019

My life may have simply been a fruitcake. A regifted fruitcake.

I have come to know those who knew me when I was before memory, and their insight makes things less understood. It was not a question that I and my siblings had no understanding of our parents or their motivations, they were coping from the moment we had sentience. Like all kids, we just responded.

The insanity of alcohol, mixed with the aftermath of World War 2, and the loss of the Golden Life before it, came to make a place of constant fear in their 3 children’s’ lives.

Nothing physical, in fact we had everything, and were never hit.

But our world was a place born of inebriated rationalization. For unresolved pain in their lives was a dark, scary, judging place. And as they determined that they fell short, so did we. And that revealed a Dark World of unavoidable judgement.

But it has been 50 years since I was left to fend for myself – but well fed, schooled, housed – but alone. A mixed signal of love and inability. Confusing. Threatening. Scary.

But the last 50 years has been inscrutably kind.

The reality of adult children without our childhood is baffling to we, who could only protect. They had no need to survive, they were protected. Beyond food and shelter. My wife and I were flat terrified (no exaggeration) that there was inevitable distortion in our parenting because our lives were, essentially, rejected before we lived them.

So we protected. Hard.

Which meant “over parenting”. We could do that. We had parented ourselves, and somehow knew that was deeply flawed, but had no answer key as to how it was wrong. There was no “healthy” parent, or grandparent. Just a few role models and survival. We knew how to do that.

Absent money (that our gifts prevent us from having) we seem to be just fine. In fact, good. But I am always 5 or 6 years old, at the moment I realized that that was no “we”. Just me. No secret “friends”. No later drink or drug, No cult of politics or religion.

But a silent bit of faith, or understanding, or knowing. Incoherent, but it sustained. Because it was God.

Those profit–preventing gifts I give are just the gifts I have been given, regifted.

My life is a fruitcake, it seems. Possessed but ever given, because eating would ruin the gift, that is, well, worth giving, So enjoyment often awaits another time, Eating the fruits of this life will probably never come because I cannot give what I have eaten.

At 64, this is probably enough, whether I like it or not. Escaping God is simply not possible. Distraction is real, for moments, but simply is not up to the task for dealing with what you have been given.

It is clear that the gifts given to my parents offered more terror in failure because that would have involved success. And failure happens: happiness is intermittent, but not impossible, despite the unending ways everyone falls short.

But if failure comes to be you and not the just the unending failed attempts at realizing hope, that failure can be given to everyone around you. And it was given to our family.

I think that gift that keeps on giving was not regifted to our children, I hope not.

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