I look back on my childhood and I can say to you that it was pretty good. We wanted for nothing, clothes on our backs, roof over our head and food in our bellies. It’s more than what most children in this world have or had.
We grew up with what appeared to be a normal childhood. My sister was mom’s little girl and I was daddy’s little girl. I hated dolls, Barbies, cooking or being frilly. I was more interested in building things, painting, yard work, music, riding my bike fast, playing dodge ball, talking to neighbors and working on the cars with my dad Clint. Then in the summer, it was camping, fishing and road trips in the camper.
It’s either because it’s part of my DNA or because my dad loved me “outwards”, showed and said his love for me. He has always been special to me and there is a bond there that cannot be broken.
My mom, Joan; was a frilly, Christmas cookie baking, up to date fashion with perfect hair type of gal. She despised camping, fishing and road trips. Everything had its place and had to look a certain way.
My mom loved me, I know this, but her love was distorted. It was a conditional type of love that had great expectations. With Joan I was either “the best daughter in the world” or “not important enough to waste time on” or “you WILL love me and respect me because I AM your mother and I deserve it”.
For example, I won a huge competition at a young age and was in the newspaper for it. She told everyone about it. How she has the best daughter ever and it’s because of her hard work as to why I won. Typically at “field day” I would clean up with blue ribbons, I loved field day; but if I got anything less than a blue ribbon then that’s all she would focus on. Telling me that I shouldn’t be happy because I didn’t do my best. On her birthdays, if I didn’t wake up first thing and acknowledge it was her birthday, didn’t “buy” a card or bend over backwards for her, then I was a rotten child. That I should respect her more and do better, because she was in labor with me for 15 hours and endured a lot of pain for me.
I remember nights where she and my dad would fight, and I could hear him yelling at her for treating me so poorly. Or asking her why she didn’t love me like she loved my sister. It was extremely difficult to be the cause of their fights, but worse when she’d blame me the next day in her own passive aggressive way with the silent treatment. I all of a sudden…didn’t exist.
My childhood was “normal” to me; but back then people weren’t honest about real life at home. We didn’t speak of these things, and if we did, it was brushed off. Better to pretend “it’s” not there or happening because no one wanted to cause any problems.
Putting lipstick on THAT pig was utterly exhausting, but it was a normal childhood to me.