Another episode in over thinking it. This week I wanted to analyze how different KidMakes’ childhood is from my own, sociologically and emotionally.
When I think of my own childhood, I remember pain and turmoil and sadness. I know that’s not all there was, but that’s what stands out in my memories. My mom had a breakdown when I was 7, which led to a diagnosis of Manic Depression, now commonly referred to as Bi-Polar Disorder.
I remember that day. She was talking about how we couldn’t go outside to pick my brother up from tennis lessons because the world was going to end, and it was her fault.
I convinced her to get into the car and drive the mile or so to pick him up (not the safest thing, from my adult POV). He had started walking home and was pissed until he got a look at my face.
Since that day, I have felt the need to protect my mother. I think that day my childhood ended.
My child will be 7 in a couple of months. This is bringing up some…stuff…for me. To manage my anxiety around this, I used this post to show myself how different her life as a child is from how mine was, and in turn how different my life is now compared to my mom’s in 1985.
(Mother’s Day also brings up stuff for me, so there’s that as well…)
- We have moved 4 times since she was born. (I lived in the same house for 17 years.)
- Her parents are clearly and affectionately in love. (I don’t remember my parents ever kissing or holding hands in front of me. I don’t remember my Dad ever saying he loved my mom with spoken words. Or ever truly being concerned with her happiness.)
- Her parents both work full-time. (My Dad worked full-time plus, my Mom worked part-time for a year or so. I don’t know if this ended because of the breakdown.)
- She is an only child. (I have an older brother.)
- She sees her grandparents weekly at least. (I do remember visiting my Dad’s folks in Santa Cruz, perhaps monthly.)
- She has three local and very involved grandparents. (My grandparents came to some of our functions, but were not the most engaged.)
- She plays with her cousin J.J. almost monthly. (I think I can count on two hands the number of time I’ve hung out with any of my cousins.)
- She has seven local cousins ranging in age from 4 to 26. (None of mine were local.)
- She has no pets. Yet. (We always had a cat and a dog even though no one really liked them or took good care of them.)
- She is already a computer whiz.
- She’s been in a school-type setting since the age of two.
I strive to give my child tools that I had to learn for myself. Children often do not listen to the wisdom of their elders, I am learning and remembering. They refuse to believe that we have the benefit of experience. Having lived 25 years longer on this earth means nothing to them.
So I try to gently highlight instances when my child has made it that much harder on herself because she refused to stop and listen and consider what her Papa or I have said/suggested.
My main goal is to create a relationship with her that she wants to continue even though she is no longer forced to continue our relationship by virtue of proximity or dependence. I want her to WANT to visit me, to spend time with me, to call and talk to me. I want her to find comfort and joy in our relationship. I want her to WANT to call me first when she gets a fantastic new job or gets engaged or gets pregnant or struggles with school or has her heart crushed by someone. I hope that someday she will value and seek my advice.
Turning to consider how different my life is from my Mom’s is telling. I have a loving, patient and affectionate husband. Who can use his words to tell me his feelings. I have a brain that does what I tell it to do, I have the confidence to believe that I can solve my own problems, and the support network to turn to when I cannot. I feel loved and worthy of love, and I feel spiritually connected to other humans.
I think the comparison between my mom at this stage of life and me will need it’s own post. To be continued…