My Perfect Childhood . . . NOT!
by, 02.20.2009 at 07.09 AM (604 Views)
Truth is it's odd, but not tragic, or embarrassing. Unless of course you want to see pics. Some of those clothes my mom put me in are heinous!
I always thought my childhood was idyllic, I have often described it as reminiscent of Happy Days. Here is why: We lived in a great neighborhood in a smallish, rural town. There were literally more horse and chicken farms in the 60's and 70's. My mom's mom lived with us until I was 4 years old and my dads parents lived 20 minutes away. I never had a babysitter who wasn't a blood relative.
Though sometimes spanked I was never beaten, we always had more than enough to eat, I was very well clothed, attended the best private schools available. One winter I even took ice skating lessons. I also had organ lessons and dreamed of being in the house band on Don Kirschner's Rock Concert. I am so dating myself with that reference. I was the last of the middle-class princesses. Of course I had ballet and piano lessons as well.
Both my parents worked. My mom was the only working mom in the neighborhood, back then moms didn't do that. She is retired now but taught kindergarten for about 35 years.
Mom is very affectionate, dad was more of a 1950's style dad. Worked all day home, by 5:30, would pick me up and give me a hug and a kiss, then sit down to read the paper. Mom had dinner on the table within 45 minutes of his arrival at home. All meals were eaten together as a a family. As I got older I would eat at friends homes or they at mine. To mom Sundays were sacred. She was from Philly where they had blue laws and everything closed on Sunday. We went to church, came home, read the paper, watched tv, napped, and generally goofed off. The rest of the week wasn't that big a deal but my behind better be there on Sunday afternoon for dinner. I could bring friends if I wanted, they were always cool about that; but Sunday dinner was important . . . special. One more odd thing. From the time I could hold a fork until I was about 8 or 9 years old Sunday dinner was held in the dining room with the good china, silver, and crystal. Mom would prepare a big meal and serve each course as it would be in a better restaurant. This is how she taught me restaurant manners. This is also why I was the only 7 year old who knew a fish fork from a salad or dinner fork.
Here's where it get's odd. Though mom was never diagnosed officially we now know she has a narcississtic personality and severe OCD. She is a control freak and a neat freak. She used to write out index cards for how to clean a room and leave it in that room. The room couldn't just be clean it had to be cleaned her way. Guess who is a big ole slob and tends to have a pile for everything and everything in it's pile. ME!
She didn't allow anyone, me in particular to express an emotion other than happiness in her presence.
Sad face: not allowed - "what did I have to be sad about? I have everything a little girl could dream of," she would say.
Crying: not allowed - if I fell and hurt myself I could cry but not for more than a few minutes. Otherwise she would take me to the nearest mirror to show me how ugly I was when I cried and that she wanted to see my happy face again and my beautiful smile. By the time I was 8 I learned that if I needed to cry I had to do it in the shower because that was the only place I had privacy. To this day, even when I live alone, I still cry in the shower.
Disagreeing: = Disrespect & was not allowed i.e. Not honoring ones mother and father as it says we should do in the bible. Definetely Not Allowed.
Anger: Not Allowed! To this day I have trouble expressing anger as I never learned how to do so in an appropriate fashion.
ka-ching, ka-ching can you say therapy bills out the wazoo?
She didn't expect constant laughter or grins but a pleasant visage was to be displayed at all times.
In case you are wondering, growing up with a mom like that is a lot like growing up with an alcoholic parent. I learned while still quite young to read her moods and avoid her rages.
As a result I am very intuitive to this day. I can get a bead or a vibe from someone almost immediately that is startlingly accurate.
A psychiatrist told me I had a bad childhood about 5 years ago and I was shocked. In comparison to a lot of other people I know I still think my family life and childhood were pretty darned great!
I tend to think people who blame their parents for all their problems are pretty lame. I avoided it, and still do. I have talked to my mom about my childhood and she and dad have even done family therapy sessions with me. I had a quote in my signature a few weeks ago on another site, by Mary J. Blige. Which sums up where I am with mom and my childhood perfectly. "I blame my mother for nothing but forgive her for everything."
I love my folks and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my parents did the best they could with what they had available to them at the time. Besides it's not like I'm an axe murderer or anything.