When I moved from my Hometown to the suburbs of Philadelphia, I moved into Asshole's parents' house. The plan was to look for jobs and find an apartment to rent. Asshole's parents were very happy to have me. Their home is large and they were gracious hosts. They seemed to really want this arrangement to work out. They gave me a car to use for work and basically helped me get on my feet. My perception was that they were genuinely happy that their precious only child, their son, had met "a nice girl from Canada". Both of Asshole's parents have done things for me over the years to let me know how much they wanted this to be a good thing.
Each week I went through the Help Wanted section of the Philadelphia Inquirer and applied for jobs asking for "social worker wanted". After all, with a Bachelor's in Social Work, that's what I was supposed to do next, right?
I applied for and was hired by a Nursing Home in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. I was assigned to an office on the second floor where I met and got to know Ms. Myra. Ms. Myra was a 60+ year-old black woman with a graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania who had literally seen and done everything. She was my very own personal Yoda. Myra would hold court in her desk chair, leaning way back with a satisfied Buddha-grin and tell me the most amazing stories of her life, her past jobs and share her wisdom with me. Myra's famous line was "Honey, God don't like Ugly".
My commute back and forth from the Nursing Home to Asshole's parents' home in the Woods took over an hour. I came to love that time. I relished the time on my own, in my own car, listening to NPR on Philadelphia's WHYY. It felt good.
Things at home with Asshole were more than a bit stressed. Asshole and his mother seemed to be at eachother all of the time but in the next moment they were conspiring together against Asshole's unsuspecting father. I'm sure that these family dynamics had been in play since the beginning of their little family but I certainly didn't have a place in them. I didn't really want a place in them either. I think I withdrew myself during that time. I remember not fitting in, feeling alone and missing my family.
I hadn't lived at home in three years, having stayed away after leaving home for college. I knew that there wasn't really a spot for me at my parents' house but this life wasn't quite right either. I remember missing the fast-pace, dog-eat-dog dinner conversations from Home where my brothers teased my poor sister mercilessly. I missed the loving teasing between my Mom and Dad.
What I told myself, however, was that this was what I was supposed to do. I was supposed to be starting my own life, my own family routines. I told myself that I just needed to adjust to this new life.
And much of this new life was ok. I really liked my job. I loved the fast pace, interacting with other disciplines. I was a quick learner and could pick up a process, understand it and start to make improvements in short time. And home life was ok, sort of. It was different, but different isn't always bad. It's just different.
We were all trying very hard to make it work.
That's important to say. We really were trying.
Sometimes even our best effort isn't enough......