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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Little Things (I Swear It Was Good) ...

Being a parent really makes you think back at your own parents, the ones who raised you, and makes you think about how your kids are raised in contrast with how you yourself were raised.

Me? I had a good childhood. I really think I did.

But when I try and describe it, I'll admit that it can very quickly begin to sound horrible.

It's the little things, the tiny details of my time growing up, little barbs that didn't sting at the time but looking back really were pretty horrible. Those are the things that stand out now. Patches of loneliness that I didn't understand back then but now I see quite clearly.

It's the little things that hurt.

I was the youngest child. Beyond that, I was small and skinny and prone to cry a lot. My parents always seemed to be ashamed of all this, especially since my older brother was the polar opposite of me. He was taller, heavier, stronger, liked sports, and hardly ever cried. Me? I once cried at school because I had to dance with another girl in class. How much of a wuss was I?

My parents always seemed to want to change my more wussy ways. My father in particular really seemed to get upset and ashamed of my crying and my lack of strength. There was a huge period of time where I was forced to consume these hideous weight gaining shakes, I assume because they were ashamed of how skinny and weak I was. The shake supposedly tasted like "chocolate" or "strawberry" but it was horrible and it smelled EXACTLY like dog food. To this day every time I feed my dogs I try not to smell what I'm doing because I'll get the taste of that hideous powdery weight gaining filth in my mouth and I'll want to scream my nuts off.

I also remember once being lectured at length by my parents about how I was "walking wrong". I was walking "like a sissy" and people would make fun of me, so I was made to walk back and forth and shown how my way of walking was apparently bad. My parents, Wood bless them, they didn't want me to be hurt so they rode me probably harder than they should have but I realize that they did it out of love, so how can I be angry, right?

My dad was never around. Work was important to him. It seemed as if we were always having money problems, although my parents were waaaay too proud to let on that they were having problems, but looking back it was obvious. My father wanted us to stay in Glendale, Arizona because he knew we loved the school and the house and our friends, so he would regularly get high paying jobs in other cities and other states, meaning that there were large patches of my life where it seems as if I didn't have a dad. And when he WAS around he had a lot to do and I was usually last on that list behind working out, riding his bike, and spending time with my older brother.

I loved comic books. They took me away from the life I was leading. Plus, I always related to the concept of the ostracized outsider. See, my brother was taught the importance of his culture and all that while I got nothing. I have since childhood felt cursed with looking like a Mexican without actually BEING Mexican. Add to that being raised in all white neighborhoods and you get a child that was raised by his mom and cable television who used movies and comic books as an escape. But nobody else in my family really understood. I remember my father taking me to comic book stores.... and waiting in the car. That stung. He would never come in. He's just be waiting for me in the car. That can really shame a child, you know?

My childhood was good, though, ok? I swear it was good. It's just that every day I take care of my son and help my daughters with their homework and it reminds me of what my own parents did raising me and it makes me want to be better. I would never do some of the things that they did. I would go in to the comic book store. I would care about what comic books my son wanted to read. I would sit with him and watch the movies he wanted to watch without falling asleep like my mom would. I wouldn't make my son drink weight gaining shakes that smelled like dog food and I would let Maxwell walk however the hell he wanted to walk.

I miss my parents.

I really do.

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