A few commenters have wondered about a) how TH grew up to be not particularly crazy and b) what he thinks about my being happy.
I thought about interviewing him about this. Then I realized that the interview would go something like the following:
DM: How did you grow up to be so awesome and relatively normal despite your batshit crazy mother?
TH: I’m awesome? I’m relatively normal? My mom is batshit crazy? Oh yeah, that’s right, she is.
DM: What was it like growing up with her?
TH: Not good. I don’t remember.
DM: Um, ok. Well, what do you think about my being happy?
TH: You’re happy?
DM: Remember, I told you about this? I’m all different and nice and stuff? I let you read those posts about it?
TH: Oh right. Um, it’s good? … wait, what was the question again?
DM: How was that race you did Sunday?
TH: Great! Riding kit shaving cycling bikes drafting intervals training pack sprint collarbone Cat 3-4 cleats riding Masters power meter laps turns monkey butt holding the line criterium time trial bonk leading out road rash drops watts course hill VO2 bridge the gap embrocation tubes wheels chamois max heartrate shelled monster climb breakaway chase points chafing podium ...
TH is kind, nurturing, tolerant, and overall wonderful. He also lives in a sort of happy fog. He puts a laser focus on one thing at a time, and everything else blurs out. This is actually quite nice for me; I like to fly under the radar most of the time. I’m capable of taking his face in my hands and saying, “Eye contact! Here! Now!” when necessary. He has a hard time remembering things that he has not focused upon. (For instance: our neighbor dropped dead and he forgot to mention it to me.) He also sleeps. A lot. As in 10 hours weeknights and 11-13 on weekends. I think he slept through much of his early years. He really does not remember a lot of the stuff that went on. He has his anxieties, but they’re different from mine. He worries about what’s in front of him, not what might happen down the road — so we tend not to be worried about the same things at the same time, which is good. He is an optimist.
TH’s dad is very much like TH. He was a steady, no-drama support through it all, as was his second wife. TH wishes he’d moved in with them for high school, but he was still too afraid of his mother’s reaction to go through with it. (Nana kicked TH’s younger brother out when he was fourteen because he wouldn’t obey her; he did move in with their father — and gave him a pretty wild ride too. Once past his Rumspringa/rehab years, he grew up just fine; I really like him. The sister, well … she’s sort of Nana minus the Histrionic Personality Disorder, which makes her more tolerable, but only to a point. She regularly dumps her two sons — aged 5 and 3 — with Nana for a week of free babysitting, despite having issues herself with how Nana treats them. Her older son is a rather timid, biddable child, so he just does what Nana says, poor kid.)
TH says he just figured out over time that he couldn’t take any of Nana’s advice or criticism seriously. He has always sided with me in any disagreement. Nana can be very fun, and he decided he was willing to take her as she was. This changed with the arrival of HB.
TH has a lot of healthy denial — he doesn’t dwell on the past or the legacy of Nana’s craziness. When I said he was having flashbacks with the newest drama, he said, “Oh, I wouldn’t say flashbacks.” When I reminded him of recent instances when he’d gotten upset over something small and then said that it was because of something from childhood, he said, “Oh, you mean those flashbacks.”
I’m not complaining. I think one navel-gazer per family is enough.