The other day while speaking to my mom on the phone (I do this a lot) I learned that there is a discrepancy in my opinion of the way I was treated in childhood verses the way I reported it in one of my blogs. I had stated something to the affect that I went to the John Wayne School: “Suckitup U.” Not only did I think this was true, but I thought it was clever. Those are my top two requirements for whatever I write when at all possible.
I did not think this was a bad thing. It’s just the way things are done in the Midwest. I think the comment “If you are not showing blood or bone you are not going to ER” might have influenced my impression. Or maybe the comment by my father (who is 80) “I got up this morning and could not walk but after cutting ½ a cord of wood I felt better” might have influenced my impression. Also, the fact that in midlife my mom was dragged against her will to the hospital while silently internally bleeding might have had a little something to do with this impression. These are just a few models I saw growing up (I could site many more) that influenced my impression of the values I was taught.
Then I talked to my mom. She said that the “no bones/blood no ER” comment was made after wasting money on repeated trips to ER where nothing was discovered. We always like to agree so we decided I just did not complain very much. I did not press the issue after that. I know better than to ever really disagree with my mom. She is always on my side or in my corner. I may fool myself into thinking that just because my stats reveal I’ve had close to 2,000 readers, the truth is that my mom has probably been clicking this blog site 2,000 times like a lab mouse looking for cheese.
(For the record, I was bragging about attending “Suckitup U.” I am proud of being tough and having a high tolerance for pain. She didn’t see it that way though and so I am willing to re-tract it).
I have a make up bag I keep in my car which is made up of gold sequins. I was talking to my mother in the car on the cell phone at the time this discrepancy was discovered (though she was not upset. She would not have shown me if she was. Which I could argue is a class offered at “Suckitup U.” but I won’t). When I hung up and was contemplating this conversation I noticed something moving on the car door. It was the reflection of the sun off of my makeup bag. There were lots and lots of brilliant little stars all over the car door. It was beautiful. I enjoyed it so much that I did not notice the interior of my interior which has been decorated with day after day of sticky gooey what not. I did not notice the window that does not work or the floor 3 feet deep with garbage after the kids and I VOWED to be better about cleaning the car out after every trip and even buying a special basket to put stuff in (which sits pristinely empty).
That’s a good metaphor for my childhood. When the sun is out, all I see are the sparkly good parts. Even the goo is blurred by the sparkly good parts. I won’t lie that there are also cloudy days when all I see is the goo, both the goo on my car door and the goo from my childhood. I look back and feel like something was missing. Those are days when I am not feeling good. I am just feeling goo. The sunny “d” is missing.
Lucky for me, I have parents who loved me, and my siblings, through the good, the bad and the ugly. And so the least I can do is love them through the goo. No one ever really gets to know whether they did a brilliant or a gooey job of parenting. Good parents can turn out messed up kids and vice-versa. I used to have a saying on my desk at work “Humans raise humans. If it were possible to do it perfectly, surely we would all be angels”. I think the best we can really hope for is enough moments of brilliance to dazzle the overwhelming goo of day to day stuff. If I can do half as goo as my parents did I’ll feel pretty good.
So sorry, Mom, if I did not see things as they were intended or as they really were. Gooey really is in the eye of the beholder. Remember when I would get annoyed at you for not telling the story right? Well, it’s pay back time, I guess. By the way, I’ve already noticed your grandson doing the same thing to me. To hear him tell it, I have him chained in the basement eating gruel (well, the gruel part is half true, or would be if they made “Gruel-A-Roni”)
So don’t take too much too literally in here (any of you). These are my impressions on any given day and they change with the weather. Though I have retracted that my childhood was like this, let me state for the record that I think it’s good to have a degree from “Suckitup U.” and while I am making public declarations, let me say publicly, “Mom, you are the sparkliest Mommy I know, and I don’t care who knows it” (or anything else, a-PARENT-ly). Love, Jill