Now there are TWO of them

As we were driving back from the airport, my oldest daughter, Amélie, turned to me and said quietly, “Oh my God, now there are TWO of them!”

My mum is as sweet as anyone on this planet and if there is a God, I am absolutely certain that He is waiting patiently for her to pass on so he can personally escort her through the Pearly Gates and tell her she deserves a heavenly rest. Long before I was ever a problem for her, she had a horrible start to life. She has no idea who her father is and her mother probably gave birth to her in some place in rural Ireland where girls-who-got-pregnant-before-marriage went to have their baby. (It is not known if this is exactly what happened, but it seems the most likely scenario.) When she was two years old, she was charged (yes, charged, I have the paperwork from the Court) with begging in Dublin with her mother. The court took her from her mother (this was in the middle of the Depression, by the way) and she was brought up in a convent. She left at 16 years old and moved to London where she eventually met my father, who never seemed to particularly get on with her when I was younger. When my father left her over 20 years ago, he refused to ever speak to her or see her again.

My first bout with stress was negotiating their divorce settlement to avoid them both losing everything they had to the layers who were quite happy for the back-and-forth wrangling to continue unabated. (Not ever being in the same room together didn’t help negotiations.)

By the time I was a teenager and learning about logic and debating competitively, my mother was already becoming the befuddled person she has been for many years. Maybe she has always been that way: puzzled by the intricacies of life and swept along without ever really being in control of her destiny. She always loved me. Too much. All of my friends wanted to swap their mother for mine. But they didn’t see how overbearing it was to me, an independent spirit, to be suffocated by so much…helpfulness and monitoring. I tried to explain to them that, yes, it’s nice she’s so loving, but she’s always there. And there are only so many meals I need cooked and so many clothes I need ironed. And what about learning to do some things for myself? Also, *nothing* was too personal to comment on, especially if we had guests or a girlfriend of mine in the house. Uggh. And nothing I did was ever quite good enough when inspected closely. After dropping Economics mid-year to switching to Chemistry, my 3rd-best subject, I got 98/100 for an end-of-year score and this resulted in, “But you could have got those extra marks if you tried harder.” Oh, yay…

By the time I was a young man, it was harder to avoid being stuck in a ‘confusion field’ if I spent too time with her. It was worse when we went out somewhere, where she would sometimes get into arguments with people over things (like change for the groceries) where she was so clearly in thre wrong. And you don’t want to get me started on the chaos that ensued after she was left in charge of the Babysitting Register that was a ‘trading system’ in the neighboorhood for parents. Fortunately for me, she found herself a new man, a good man, within a few years of getting divorced. The two of them are very alike. Which is not something Amélie had appreciated until the drive from the airport.

After … what will we call him … I know … MAURICE had launched into the third repetition of his riveting tale of how the security people at Los Angeles airport had asked him to take off his belt for the scanner long after his other things had gone ahead of him, Amélie had had enough and wanted to get out of the moving car. I might have let her if she hadn’t been the driver at the time. I tried the door handle a few times myself.

The only saving grace for me is that the two of them tend to gravitate to one another and dribble on about things that make my eyes glaze over in moments. They clearly love each other and are a very good match. I’d like to have someone so in tune with me. Although having someone with a positive IQ would be nice…


About Single Dad

I married young. Now, after more than 20 years of marriage, 3 wonderful daughters, and many ups and downs, my wife has decided the marriage is over. The "About Me" and "My Background" pages on my blog have more details.
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13 Responses to Now there are TWO of them

  1. Oh, something interesting I forgot to say about my mum and her Maurice…

    The two of them were on a cruise ship a few years ago. They had talked about marrying for some time. Maurice organized a surprise wedding by the ship’s captain. It sounds like it was quite romantic.

    But, in the spirit of their confused path through life, they have never been able to determine for sure if the marriage is legal or not.

    They haven’t produced a Marriage Certificate for me to inspect (and why would they show it to me anyway). After they got back and I queried whether the captain was allowed to marry them on the high seas, they got concerned. They followed up with the cruise line and didn’t get consistent answers: Of course it is. Only if the captain is also a Notary Public (geez, he didn’t leave his phone number for them.) Only if the marriage is registered by the captain in the next port (which was somewhere in Portugal. Or Spain. Or maybe Gibraltar. They’re not sure which stop was after the ‘marriage’). Only if the ship is flagged out of certain countries.

    They tried the local civics folks in Australia who said it would be easier to just ‘confirm’ their marriage in front of a local civic celebrant (which is code for “Just get married again here you plonkers and there’ll be no doubt”). So far they haven’t done that, so to this day, I have no idea if I have a step-father or not.


  2. Lady E says:

    Wow, your story is amazing… I just cannot imagine what it must have felt like, but let’s just say that you are amazing for having picked the best traits from both your parents and become such a nice, level-headed person.
    Good luck with Mum & Maurice!

    • Thanks E.

      I have tried very hard to find some middle ground between my parents, but am under no illusion that I managed to select all of the best traits. I have my faults and it really irritates me when I realized I am acting like my mother or father used to. It inspires me to try harder to be ‘normal’ and I expect to have myself all sorted out in another 30-40 years… 🙂

  3. Surrey gal says:

    Yes, your mother and mine could be sisters… I can see few common features there.
    Why did your father never speak to your mother? Something really terrible must have happened for them to be like this.

    • I forgot to mention that when my father left, he LEFT. I didn’t see or hear from him for over 18 months. He called me on my birthday out of the blue and I wasn’t very nice to him as I knew that he had been in contact with my cousin for some time. After that, I was called in to broker the divorce negotiations…yay, lucky me.

      My father just said he didn’t like my mum anymore. There was no justifiable reason for them not to maintain contact. I think that, in reality, he was embarrassed about his disappearing act, and made my mum the scapegoat for it. No-one fell for it through.

      Now…since we have established our mums might be sisters (don’t forget that we don’t know who my mum’s real mother is)…are you sure I can’t let my mum come visit you for a while? Oh, please… 🙂

      • Surrey gal says:

        I’d love to but I’ll be busy. For next couple of years at least 😛
        But why not send both of them for holiday together? That’s an idea, no?

        • Yes, brilliant as usual!

          I think Bosnia has calmed down now. How about Syria or the Sudan?

          As a side note, two of my girls went to the cinema a few days ago. They left Mum and Maurice to wander around the shopping mall my girls watched the movie. One of them texted me with “I told them we’ll meet them at [a prominent restaurant] at 9:30pm. Ten bucks says we’ll never see them again.”


  4. Online Dating Circus Expert says:

    SD – I am not sure if your post was meant to be humorous or not! I found it a bit amusing 😉
    Hope you are doing well 🙂

    • Hi ODCE,

      My goal is usually to go for amusing. I like that writing style and try to make presentations and meetings funny too. But, there’s some really deep heartbreak back in the past for both of my parents (my dad had just as a difficult an upbringing as my mum) so some posts are a confusing mix! Sorry!!

  5. Pingback: I hate my life…sometimes | I think Divorce is likely

  6. Pingback: Now there are TWO of them…continued…Part 1 | I think Divorce is likely

  7. Pingback: I hate my life…sometimes | Four is a Family

  8. Pingback: Now there are TWO of them…continued…Part 1 | Four is a Family

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