I posted a short piece a few days ago that sparked several conversations with a few more, I’m sure now, to follow. Such is the nature of the surprise epiphany. Following my silent, and mostly unnoticed, anxiety at being invited down (a childhood) memory lane, came the realization that my view of who I am was somewhat skewed by my relentless and unforgiving self-judgement.
Having a deep aversion to discussing the growing years didn’t keep me from enjoying the memories my family shared. My parent’s sharing their memory of their first kiss brought tears to my eyes. They love each other with a commitment that humbles me. I made everyone laugh when I said I enjoyed the wedding, since I was born 7 months later (a little too big at 9lbs to qualify as a preemie).
We finally put it together that my middle brother was dragged to our front door by a teenage neighbor boy demanding my dad punish him for throwing rocks at him and his buddy. The same teenage boy I had just slapped the fire out of for trying to drag me inside to show me his etchings. I was eight, and my brother was six years old. My dad, knowing none of this, pulled my brother inside and told the guy to take a hike.
My brother had my back. My dad had his.
We learned the timeline of my baby brother getting beat up by bully and pals, my middle brother beating him up (and afterwards apologizing for the pain inflicted), the bully’s older brother on the hunt for mine, and my subsequent dating of the older brother which resulted in amnesty. We had each other covered without discussion.
We agreed unanimously that our baby brother’s escapades were merely training for his service to our country as a Delta Force operator and left it at that. I remember him gifting me with several things he liberated from someone else, at which time I would quietly have them returned, having no knowledge (of course) how they arrived on my property.
I consider myself a facilitator of unravelling unfortunate events.
The sister-in-law who posed the “favorite memory” question, was horrified when she read what I wrote. Being one of the most loving and sensitive people I know, she was appalled that she could have caused me distress from such a harmless suggestion. After her text of apology, I had to call her immediately to thank her for making me see what I had missed my whole life.
I would never judge my son the way I’ve judged the child I was.
Empowered to experience the invisible link of family, I was able to see past my spawn of satan behavior to the good memories that were woven through that time. I remember the first poem I wrote for my mom. I know she still has it. I remember singing with my dad when we did the dishes together (maybe he was making sure I didn’t hide them under my bed again). I remember my middle brother following JB and I everywhere and being so pissed about it, and then beating up anyone who picked on him for doing so, because that was my job. I remember the Christmas I got a Cinderella watch and a Malibu Skipper. I was unusually good that year?
I remember putting my baby brother in my doll stroller because he was my baby.
My sister’s inadvertent pulling of my emotional trigger blew away the long-time prison where I’d locked away “little me”. I admire that little shit now, even as I bow to the parents who didn’t leave her on someone else’s doorstep.
I don’t have enough lifetimes to repay my family for remaining always beside me.
I owe my sister at least one Tito’s and cranberry. She’s a keeper.