Friday, May 30, 2008

Treasures


When I found out I was going to have a boy, this is what I pictured: a little tousled-haired boy with fingernails I could never get quite clean enough handing me his treasures to keep for him. I may not have included the 4 Corona bottle caps in my imagination's eye, but oh well.

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A. wants to buy one of these. Not necessarily that one - he'd settle for any ride-on battery-powered car. His cousin has one and he's coveted it since he was born. So far he has $5.19 saved up and we have to re-count it every night in case the few pennies he's found that day might mysteriously add another $245 to the tally. That's a lot of paper clips to sell.

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When you grow up in a certain kind of environment, especially a negative environment, sometimes you think you've left it behind. "I'm so glad that's over!" you say to yourself. You think you're living your life in a different way, a more positive way, and you congratulate yourself for raising your children completely differently than the way you were raised. You're so much more enlightened. You can even find some empathy for your parents, poor things, who were just a product of the times and their own upbringing.

But then you spend a few days in that environment again, and you realize that it's etched on your soul. You can't leave it behind any more than you can leave your real eye color behind. You can cope with it, sure, maybe better than you did before. But it's still in you and that sleeping girl wakes up - the one who can't do anything right, who is at her core worthless and unlovable. "Oh yeah," you say, "I remember you. You look exactly the same. Boy, it's been a while, eh?"

It's a humbling experience, especially if you're a therapist who's "worked through" most of her sh*t. As you slip back into your daily routines, that girl may fall back asleep, but will never be gone. You can't amputate your childhood as if it was an appendage - there'd still be phantom pain, anyway. It's part of you, like your scars and your gray hairs and your pale red eyelashes.

But the grown-up you can still stay, "Damn. I'm glad I'm maybe 80% not like that." And you remember to watch the other 20% carefully, 'cause it's not going anywhere.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, you woke up my girl...how very true your statements are...wow.

KM

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

Freaking profound, chica.

gwendomama said...

it's that ass kicking 20% dude.
if we think we're cool, we're over it...prob not.

and the bottle caps?
exxxcellent.

Lunasea said...

Gracias, all.

I think our neighborhood has a penchant for Mexican beer.

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

Featured on Good Mom/Bad Mom on the Houston Chronicle.

http://tinyurl.com/6rc8fx

Beastarzmom said...

Or you could block the whole damn thing out, leaving occasional thorns of memory behind, but stripping an awful lot of other stuff out with it. Can't tell you how many people I DIDN'T remember at any of my HS reunions. I'm not going to any more. It's depressing.
Nice job putting this to words. Obviously others have agreed. I'm proud to say I've known you from Day 1!!

Arizona Albino said...

You put into words how I've felt for 30 some years. Can I leave you my therapist's number? Oh, and my son has some of the $245 dollars saved that A. needs for the Corvette-maybe they could rideshare? Thanks.

 
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