Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Sort of Therapy: Part Two

Ok, so those are just the bad things that I remembered about my younger years! My parents were just doing what they thought was right with us. We were very well-mannered children. My parents taught us to be nice and not cause trouble. My mom used to read to us. She taught me how to write before I ever got to kindergarden. She would always pick me up something special when I was really sick. I remember she was going to the store one night and asked me if I wanted anything (I was about six or seven). I think she meant food wise - like popscicles or something that I would keep down. I said, "A Barbie doll!" And lo and behold, when she came back, there was my Barbie doll with her. My dad did baby me when I was sick too.

One weird thing about memories - I remember the strangest things. My mom used to get these debilitating migraines that were more like strokes in appearance. Needless to say, she'd be in bed for days, unable to take care of us or even herself. My dad would take over then. I remember him washing my hair at the sink. I loved that! He was very gentle and careful - my mom was more business and scrubbed my head. Ha! With my dad it was like getting a scalp massage. I remember my dad trying to scare us when we were watching scary movies (which was fun) and homemade nacho cheese dip that we could eat for supper!

Every two years we'd get a new bicycle for Christmas. We were still always surprised to find that bike by the Christmas tree. When we got older, those bikes became cars. We always had things to occupy us - stereos, toys, you name it. We did not go without. The only thing that my parents ever "skimped" on were clothes. I wore a lot of hand-me-downs and stuff that really wasn't for my age. I got made fun of in school for that! Brand names were also a thing that we had to buy ourselves once we were old enough to buy it.

As I got older, I became more defiant. My dad got hurt at work and retired early, and he was not used to being at home all the time with not much to do. To make matters worse, he had back surgery and the doctor put him on Prozac afterwards. The Prozac had a bad effect on him. At first we didn't know what was wrong. He became was a scary time. He was not himself. He would fly into raging fits. I hated being at home. I tried not to be as much as possible. Occasionally I would find myself yelling back at him after he spoke to my mom a certain way. My mom finally convinced him to see a doctor and they found out that the Prozac was having an adverse effect on him. Once he was off of it for awhile, he got better.

I had to grow up quickly. My parents were both ill, and there were always health problems. They were very strict. I wasn't allowed to go to the movies and never went until I was about 13 years old. I wasn't allowed to go to people's houses were there might be boys. I wasn't allowed to have a "boyfriend" when I was a young teenager. I didn't have friends over very often because my mom wanted a three day notice to scrub the house top to bottom (even though she scrubbed it top to bottom every day). We had moved by this point. My parents bought a brand new double wide that was beautiful - it did not look like a double wide at all. It had a deck out front with sliding glass doors and bay windows. My mom kept it looking like a show house. There were sweeper marks going one particular way in the light blue carpet that they had done the house in (they replaced the original). We had to make sure we didn't make too many footprints in the carpet (no lie!), or my mom would get upset. I remember her yelling at me because people were coming over and I had to walk on the area rug they had as not to make prints in the light blue carpet.

My dad and my mom both did not discuss sex or anything personal in front of us. When my mom got around to discussing "the facts of life" with me, we were alone and my mom was whispering to me about periods and whatnot! Ha! She was obviously very uncomfortable. My dad NEVER said anything to me about anything like that. Back then, I'd have been mortified if my mom would have ever mentioned anything about buying pads in front of him.

By the time I was allowed to drive, my parents both taught me but my dad ended up doing most of the teaching. My mom was too jumpy and made driving quite a challenge. One time they both rode in the car with me while I was learning and they both told me two different ways of doing things, then started arguing - at that point I pulled over and said I didn't care if I never drove again - I would never drive with them both in the car at the same time!

Even after they payed for me to go to Driver's Ed in the summer and I got my license, my mom wouldn't let me drive on my own. I had my brother's old car since I was 15. I would sit in it and occasionally they let me drive it going about 10 mph by myself just around the small trailer park (equipped with speed bumps) and back. Finally they decided that I would be good enough on my own. Their main reasons for getting me a car was so that I wouldn't have to ride with anyone else or ride with my teenage friends. I wasn't to drive any of my friends either.

My brother got away with a lot more than me. When I would bring this up, my mom would say, "Because he's a boy and you're a girl". However, I didn't do as much work as he did. My parents NEVER made me mow the lawn or expect me to get a job early on. I had to help clean the house now and again and do the dishes. That was pretty much it. My brother, S, did lots of outside work and got a job mowing lawns. He had to pay for the upkeep and gas on his car along with the insurance when he got one. I didn't at first. My parents took care of all that. My parents partly did that because I did really well in school. S didn't. We were definitely treated differently growing up.

I had a very small group of friends throughout elementary school and most of junior high. At least in the junior high I didn't get picked on as much. Every year someone thought I was "new". I was just very quiet. Then in ninth grade, I met a girl (MB) who got me to open up a little. We had a class together. One day I was walking to my locker and she yelled at me to wait up. MB said, "I don't want you to think I'm weird or anything, but you seem really nice. We should hang out sometime." I was quite taken aback by this. No one really took a great interest in me before! And now here is this girl, who seems like she has it all together, and she wants to hang out with me? Wow. If I had to classify her, which I really couldn't, she was a cross between a goth/skater/almost hippy. Hahaha! I started hanging out with her. She was very trustworthy. She brought up topics that I had often thought about but never could say easily. I came out of my shell a little, met more people, and felt like I finally belonged somewhere...

More on this later (motherhood calls)...