Update on family system: Matt lives at home with his father, mother, and 3 siblings. Father had previously been employed with his family. This was a source of dissatisfaction for him. Consequently, in August of 1983, dad quit working for his uncle and now works 1-2 days a week and has a shop in his basement. He has taken over a major role in organizing the household and in taking over childcare responsibilities. Mother has increased her workload outside of the house. Older sister, Alyssa, born in 1974; it is reported that her grades have dropped and shown some variability. Alyssa is going from the 4th grade to the 5th grade and will be 10 next week. During 1 period of this last year, classes the she usually got B’s in dropped to D’s then improved. Then another class that she usually got a B in she got an F in. It is also reported that Alyssa is showing periodic signs of apathy, depression, having streaks of “I don’t care.” The family reports that these are rather continuous throughout the school year. She is having some sleep disruption and complaining of bone and muscle pains. She has, in the last year, gained only from 59 to 61 or 62 lbs. She is picky and won’t eat.
First of all, I want to say that the doctor spelled my name wrong. Apparently, paragraph 2 is almost all about me. It is a rather lengthy paragraph, I am not sure if this is good or bad. I think bad because with the exception of Matt, my other 2 brothers have a paragraph that is as long as this half paragraph combined. Oh brother!
The paragraph opens discussing my dad’s dissatisfaction of working at the family business. It wasn’t a good fit for him. Being the only child born out of the four siblings, there was probably an enormous amount of pressure on him to take over the family business someday. My dad was not very driven or motivated to work. He worked for awhile at a small town Radio Shack fixing electronics part-time. After awhile he lost this job. I think the store closed.
My dad also fixed electronics in the house. People would randomly stop by and drop off radios, TV’s, and VCR’s for him to fix. He took these broken things apart on the kitchen table. Sometimes a small section of the table would be unusable for months. Sometimes I think that is why Matt had a fixation on taking apart my radios. He saw dad do it. If you were lucky, my dad would have your electronics fixed in a year. By that time most of the people forgot he was fixing them and replaced it.
My dad had the opportunity to take a really good job at one time. When interviewed they asked him if he wanted to travel and if he was motivated to climb the ladder. My dad said no. My mom was upset that my dad lacked the desire to provide for his family. She often called him lazy. The last company he worked for, he was the only employee. When his boss retired, he did too. He has been retired about 15 years now. Most of the time he worked part-time. The last couple years of his employment, he worked a couple of days a month. This always upset my mother. Then it got to the point where his skills were just as outdated as the VCR’s he used to fix.
Another unusual situation was that my mom was the main breadwinner. That didn’t happen often in my day. She had more education than my dad. She had more earning potential. At 67, she is still working full-time. She is hoping to work as long as she can. I remember her always putting in long hours. When she is not working, she is working. I don’t remember my dad organizing the household and taking on childcare responsibilities like the report says. He rarely cooked. He never did housework or laundry. He never helped me with my homework. My mom worked full-time, taking on all of the childcare, cooking, and laundry responsibilities. We always had a messy house. My mom simply did not have the time to clean it. I was in charge of dishes and laundry, strangely enough the chores I feel most comfortable with now.
Yes, my grades did slip. I was never a straight A student. With all of the chaos happening at home and at school with Matt, I could not concentrate. Could you blame me? My mom took away my dolls for one semester in attempts to motivate me to get better grades.
Yes, I was depressed in grade school. I really didn’t give a shit. I was struggling to make it through what I was dealing with. No one cared about me. So, why should I care? I remember feeling that way.
Yes, I had issues with insomnia. If I wasn’t too upset before falling asleep, I fell asleep just fine. But then in the middle of the night I would be wide awake for hours. It was the only quiet time and I spent it worrying. I did have leg cramps often. Since my brothers were allergic to milk, it may have been due to calcium deficiency since we did not drink milk or have much dairy in our house. If I get leg cramps at night now, it has to do more with being a little dehydrated. My mom said it was growing pains. Who knows? Maybe it was.
I really like the comment of me being picky, not eating, or gaining weight. Well, duh! I had constant stomach aches as a kid. I recognize it now as acid reflux. There were long periods of time that I barely ate. That is because every time I ate I had bad stomach aches. Even now if I am under a lot of stress, I quit eating. My mom threatened to take me to the doctor continuously, but never did. I wish she would have. Instead I was forced to sit at the table until I ate. Being stubborn, I would sit at the table until bedtime and not eat. Once I was forced to eat and threw up. I really wish I would have been taken in. Being the “normal” child with a severely disabled sibling, unless I was bleeding or something was broken my needs got ignored. That was the reality of living with a sibling who was always a squeaky wheel.