Most people have fond memories of a good, maybe great childhood. Holidays spent together with family, vacations to God knows where, just happy, happy, happy. My childhood was quite a bit different.
They say “sticks & stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.” If you haven’t realized it before, the words are just as bad as the sticks and stones. But what’s really destructive is when you’re the victim of both.
One of my earliest memories is of me angering my mother so badly that she waited until I was sound asleep, then crept into my room and threw ice cold water over me while I lay sleeping.
I was a child who was (and still am actually) very attached to my collection of stuffed animals. I even remember going to Alexander’s department store and buying a stuffed animal, a blue bunny, just because his head was sewn on backwards. I called him “backwards bunny,” and I still have him. I was a loving child.
But, one day, I made my mother mad and she threw a bunch of my favorite stuffed animals down the incinerator shaft. I thought I would die of sadness. She had killed some of my best friends.
Then there were the words that aren’t supposed to hurt, but which, in all actuality, cut like a knife. There were too many and they were too cruel to mention all of them here, but I’m sure you can use your imagination of the verbal torture a parent can bestow upon a child.
But, as in all abusive relationships, there was the love. My mother had pet names for me and bought me nice things and toys and presents and yet, I don’t ever remember her telling me she loved me, even though I told it to her often. I used to buy her small presents all the time with the pittance of an allowance I got (25 cents a week) and I always wrote on cards and letters how much I loved her. And, I still do. I forgive her everything even though time and time again she broke my heart.
Two days before my mother died, I sent her flowers for her birthday. When I arrived at her house after she had died, the flowers were still in the box, dried up and dead, just like her.
When I think of my mother today, I cry, and I still wonder if she ever did really love me.