Monday, April 18, 2005

Another Sleepless Night.

I have a problem. I'm not sure how to solve it. I'm not sure I can solve it. It's one of those bubbling up things. Percolated emotions. Old feelings that I buried away a very long time ago. For some reason they are begging for my attention again; and I really don't want to bother.

My eldest started school this year. I'm so proud of her. So proud of myself for getting this far with her. I love watching her go off into class, hugging her friends and laughing. She hugs her teacher too, she loves her teacher. I get to see her running around on the playground and just enjoying this time in her life. It makes me think about me when I first started school, and where I was and who I was when I was five.

That's where the problem lies.

I wasn't a very happy five year old. I wasn't a happy kid full stop. I'm having memories surface of things I hadn't thought about for...ever. I see my little girl and I think about myself as a little girl; it's compulsive. I think about my first day of school: The whistle blows and we're told to line up and be quiet. While walking into the building, I'm so excited, and then Joshua Tinkham turns to me and says "I hate you." for no reason. Little shit. Turns out he hates all girls, but still, as a little kid I obsessed over it. Why? What was wrong with me that at one look he knew he hated me. It was an experience that tainted any interaction I had with another kid for the rest of my days. I never trusted a kid again. So callous, unpredictable and able to spout hatred without a care for consequences.

I tended to play by myself. I would wait for the swings to be almost empty before I took a turn. I would skip rope, pick the putty out of the window seals or peer down the heating grates for lost quarters or other treasures. I would lay on the grass and watch the clouds drift past and think about just walking home and not bothering with school. I lived a few hundred yards away and could do it easily; but I knew I'd be in trouble if I did. No one was home anyways. I became an easy target for bullies. By the age of ten I contemplated suicide.

I'm now angry with my Mother. I lay there awake at night trying to remember times when she was fun or playful; there's not many. My Mom is not an involved Mom, she's one of those "Let them figure it out themselves" parents. I spent many years feeling stupid because I had no idea how to do homework, and she never offered to help. I remember desperately wanting to learn how to read and write, I would scribble something on a piece of paper and ask "Is this a letter?" and she would just say "No."; I wish she had shown me a few letters, or small words. I wish she had taken an interest. For some reason she couldn't.

I was born late in her life; an unexpected surprise. Mom was the breadwinner and worked full time. I remember her saying almost daily "I'm too tired." I don't think she was very happy. I think she was disappointed with her marriage, but devoted to her vows. I also think she was waiting for when she could have my Dad all to herself again; things would change when the kids were fledged. Maybe that was the answer?

There was always dissatisfaction in everything. My Dad never liked my Mothers cooking. Mom never liked the look of the house. Dad never liked how she kept house. The sofa had a butt dent from my Dad always laying down to watch television; so there was never an expensive sofa. My bedroom was a three season porch so either far too hot or too cold. There were smells in my brother's room. Someone was always fiddling with the thermostat and causing Dad to have a tantrum (I admit it was me...just to piss him off), My room was always a mess (I had no clue how to clean and organize a room). Mom always read a book and wouldn't talk to anyone; a very efficient armor. My Dad complained that Mom drank too much. My Mom did drink too much. My brother and I; as kids, hated each other and always fought. My parent's didn't intervene much...we would figure it out ourselves someday.

I try very hard to not let this happen to my family. My home is a house of rules. We laugh about the amount of rules, and yet they are respected; mostly. No one is allowed to read in the family room; It's for bedrooms and privacy. No one is allowed to lie down on the sofa and watch television, unless you are ill. We all take turns to watch shows; Grown-ups watch kids shows, kids watch our shows, and we all cuddle, share and chatter through. Chores are shared (somewhat. Laundry and tidy up mostly), and we all have a part to play. We always offer to help with homework. We play with our kids; indoors, outdoors, board games and stories. I want my children to know they are wanted, appreciated and loved. I tell them I love them every day. Not just words said before bedtime or a standard "Yeah I love you too.", but heartfelt and with a big hug.

I keep thinking, the reason I'm angry with my Mom, is that her neglect has made me become a better parent. I really don't want to thank her for that; but I should. I strive for better. I fight for happiness. Even if I'm too tired, my lap is always free for the kids to have a cuddle; my love is never closed. It's made me a stronger person. I want to see this life all the way through. I want to see how this story unfurls. I desperately want to be right here, right now.

I've not talked about it with Mom. I didn't even realize I was mad at her until a year ago. I don't see what good it would do to tell her. She's happy now. She has a life she's happy in. She hardly ever reads anymore. Why should I throw a wrench in? Sounds selfish of me really. I made my peace with my Dad before he died. I've made my peace with my Brother, and my Sister (She's 16 years older and didn't live with us as I grew up) Do I really need to make peace with Mom too?I should just be thankful for what I have today and not worry about the past. She doesn't even think there's a problem. It can't be changed.

But, I still wake up in the middle of the night and cry. It still begs for some attention. What was wrong with me?

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