Tag Archive | children

Missing Persons

And so we close out the month of May on an introspective note.

I had a family get-together on Sunday. Leading up to that, I had to consider what I wanted to bring for food, what I might wear, what I would discuss with my extended family, and what I would do if my brother showed up.

I made a macaroni salad, which in my case isn’t quite like anything you could get from the supermarket. I mixed everything together; a pound box of pasta, a can of tuna, some frozen sweet peas, a few hard-boiled eggs, and my secret condiment combination. When I tasted it once everything was mixed together, it didn’t taste right. Something was missing.

Mom. Mom was missing. The macaroni salad was fine.

I thought about how Mom would have been stressed while getting ready to leave for the get-together. Then again, I’m not sure if her mood could be described as stressed. Dad would have one of two moods: either he would sigh and say, “you know your mother gets like this when we get together with the family,” or he would be angry and firmly tell me not to upset Mom any further. But Mom would usually look for certain things on the day of the get-together, not have them ready to go beforehand. Things had to be “just so,” even though she wasn’t a perfectionist, but she did have a certain way of doing things.

I rolled out of bed, if you want to call it rolling and you want to call the couch a bed, and had a bit of a stiff back from how I slept. I took a hot shower, trying to relieve the stiffness of the muscles in my lower back. I found my shirt that has an American flag design printed on an electric guitar and wore that with a pair of jeans and my leather Ren faire boots. I really didn’t leave until the get-together was supposed to start, mainly because punctuality wasn’t as important as being there.

I walked in and was greeted by relatives who seemed surprised to see me, but some of them hadn’t seen me in over a year. I had been asked if I had spoken to my brother, to which I honestly replied that I haven’t spoken to him since Easter when I left his place crying after an argument. One of my cousins, the hostess of the party, mentioned an incident involving some photos being given to my brother, and my brother removing family members from Facebook in return. I vaguely remembered him telling me his side of things, and all I can say is that there was a misunderstanding.

I sat down and ate my plate of food while talking with other family members about life and such. The more I thought about my brother’s reactions to things, the more I realized that he wouldn’t be coming, that I wouldn’t see him at all. And he never did show up.

I needed a moment of zen, so I went back to my car and took out one of two kites I had in my backseat. I managed to get some wind, and had the kite up in the air a couple of times before the line knotted up as I was reeling it in after the kite came down. I sat down at a picnic table to fix the knot, but this picnic table was away from most of the people and close to the river that ran near the house. It was a nice day, only partially cloudy and not too cold outside, and the view near the river was quite peaceful and lovely. So I stopped flying the kite for a little while, and enjoyed the scenery. That, and another cousin’s daughter was quickly becoming a spectacle in a canoe, and a few of us were watching her to see if she would make it back to shore. I managed another flight of the kite as I headed back towards the house, but yet another cousin started singing a song lyric that went something like, “what goes up, must come down” and my kite inevitably landed in the bushes that time.

As I was packing the kite into its box, I had a few people talk to me about the kite and watching me fly it. It made me feel a little better, not that I was looking for attention from flying the kite. I just never had the opportunity to fly the kite since I bought it, so it was nice that it wasn’t too complicated (it is a little more advanced than the plastic kites I grew up using) and I didn’t get frustrated as a result. But it was easier to talk about a kite with my family than some of my other interests, and I wasn’t talking about my brother either.

So what is it with my brother? Well, he’s adopted. (Mom: “He’s still your brother!”) I know, I know. But a lot of things factor into his personality, and I think that’s one of the major things.

You see, his adoption has been on his mind a lot, especially since Mom passed. He actually mentioned to me that his records are apparently locked even to him, and while I knew his records were locked, I never thought about who could and couldn’t access them. When I thought about him saying that, it said to me that he was actually looking for his birth mother, that he probably had questions and was trying to understand his origins.

After Easter, something on Facebook prompted me to look up “toxic narcissism.” Sadly, everything I was reading was describing my brother. One part of it basically said that it came from issues with his mother, and maybe I’m being nice to my own birth mother by pointing the finger at his birth mother.

Think about it, though: he probably feels abandoned by his birth mother, unwanted, unloved. Maybe he resents her, I don’t know. I want to think that she didn’t want to get pregnant in the first place, that maybe something about her situation wouldn’t have allowed for her to care for a child at that time. She didn’t get an abortion, and maybe she could have, or maybe she didn’t realize she was pregnant until it was too late to abort. Maybe she assumed she wasn’t going to become pregnant.

Regardless, she did give birth to him, and then put him up for adoption sometime after that. I don’t know how soon after, maybe she tried to raise him but realized a month later that babies are too much work. Whatever happened, she figured that someone else might be able to raise him better than she could, and she wanted him to have a life that she couldn’t give to him.

But I can’t tell that to my brother. We don’t have the warm and fuzzy relationship between us, so I can’t be all heartwarming around him.

He is quick to anger, and not really one to look at more than his side of an argument. So that misunderstanding over photographs? He probably won’t try to understand that the family meant nothing by it, and if they really didn’t want to look at our faces, the photos could have gone in the garbage.

The family enjoyed seeing my face this weekend, and it was nice to let everyone know what I was doing with my life. They don’t know everything, but they didn’t seem too concerned for me, so I’ll just let them be satisfied knowing I’m nearby and doing relatively fine. I can only speak for myself, but that should be enough.

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Infidelity In Japan?

A few videos have popped up on YouTube about Japan and cheating, and I made the mistake of watching them because I started thinking.

 

“A man cheats on his wife because after they have children, he sees her only as a mother…” When I heard the guy in the video say that, I thought that’s sad, because I feel like she might want to still feel like the woman he fell in love with and not just be the mother to his children. I feel like that would drive her to seek attention on the side as well, someone who can make her feel like a woman again.

“A man might feel alienated because his wife and kids have a routine that he’s left out of.” I’d try to capture some of those moments he’s missing out on, and wait for him to get home from work so I can be like, “you should see our kid taking their first steps!” If I was making lunch for the child to take to school the next day, I’d want some input from the father as to what should go into the lunch, even if it’s a note wishing the child has a good day and does well on exams or whatever. I don’t ever want to have children and just rely on their father for financial support. I want him to make time and be a part of their lives. It doesn’t matter if the kids are asleep when he gets home and he can’t actually spend quality time, I want him to take an interest in what happens in their lives and I want him to have a say in what the kids do. When the weekend rolls around, guess who’s coming with us to the park, or to fly kites, or stay at home and do other stuff?

Oh, what were some of the other reasons they mentioned?

There was also some talk about how it’s expensive to get a divorce in Japan, not to mention the fact that it’s socially unacceptable, and also the father won’t get to see the kids again. But that’s exactly why a couple should resolve things before there’s any infidelity, or don’t get married in the first place. This is especially true in regards to having kids, which is why it would be a good thing to wait until after marriage to have them, but to also make sure that both parents understand what one expects of the other in terms of the parent’s involvement in raising the kids. Otherwise, it won’t really make a difference if the father doesn’t see the kids again if he never took time to see them to begin with.

Personally, I don’t want to be seen only as a mother. I don’t even see myself as one of those suburban moms that drive around in a sensible vehicle and attends PTA meetings and who’s the voice of reason and whatever else, because that’s boring to me and it’s just not who I am. First off, if I’m the voice of reason, we’ve got a problem. I’m more likely to suggest that the kids should go run with scissors before I realize that they don’t know I’m not being serious. Second, if anyone starts begging to go to a Pokemon Center, or any kind of popular anime-themed¬†store or cafe or such, it might be me and not the kids. Although, if I have to watch children’s television all day, I won’t be able to tolerate it. When their dad, my husband, gets home from work, I’ll be so glad because I’ll be around another adult again and can do adult things and talk about adult subjects, and hopefully he won’t reject me when I try to spend time with him.

I don’t want to be in a position where I’m just seen as a mother, and my partner uses that to justify having to go to another woman even if I’m not made aware that he’s doing so. I don’t want to feel like I have to go to another man to be seen as a woman because my own husband won’t look at me that way anymore. What will it take for my husband to hurry home after work (and drinks with the boss, if he must) to see me waiting for him, ready to remind him of why he married me? Unless he married me solely for the sake of having his children, in which case I’ll feel disappointed that our relationship wasn’t more romantic.

It seems like if I don’t want to be seen as just a mother, and the father doesn’t want to feel left out of the lives of his family members, it seems like my¬†options are to not have kids or find a guy who won’t forget why he fell in love with me in the first place no matter how many kids we have.

That’s not to say that cheating is wrong on all levels. Some people don’t really mind it, some make it work out. I can completely understand marrying someone just for money or just for the sake of having children with a person, then dating someone on the side and not caring about what that person can do for you other than being fun for the evening or for an extended period of time or whatever. It works because a person will always have that new relationship energy, they will always have a fun relationship that they can end when it stops being fun, but they still have something serious that they can build upon. It’s not my thing, but as long as no one’s feelings will be hurt, I won’t say anything against it.

But I plan to marry for love, and while I know that love changes over time because people change, I want to keep putting in the effort to be loved for who I am and not for what I did do or could do for another person. My husband may be the father of my children, but he is first and foremost the man I fell in love with and that’s how it should be. Likewise, I might be his wife and the mother of his children, but he should still see me with the same twinkle in his eyes as when he first met me, and I want to make sure those eyes still sparkle for me and me alone.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Another video was a street interview video where people were asked their thoughts on cheating, to which most of them said they wouldn’t allow it and wouldn’t do it in their relationships. I have to hope they’re honest. After all, it’s fairly easy to convince a foreign girl that you’re a Japanese salaryman who works long hours, when you’re a part-timer who’s also a two-timer. Also, Japanese people don’t seem to be as confrontational as Americans, which means it might be hard to know if there’s an issue until it’s become an even bigger issue, so you won’t know if you need to do something until another person has already taken that role and done that thing. But knowing that there’s Japanese people who say they don’t tolerate something that seems to be common in Japan, there’s a good chance of having a decent relationship.

It’s always going to come down to communication. Even if only one person is saying what they feel and what they want, the other person should respect that.

But I’m making a big deal over something I don’t need to be concerned with right now. Still, it’s never wrong to consider your feelings in a hypothetical situation, so thoughts like these are still helpful.