How My Childhood Impacted Who I Am Today...10/13/2013
Here's the thing about my childhood...when you ask me about it there's not a whole bunch I remember. I spent a lot of time in therapy learning that because of my parent's divorce that I shut off a whole section of my life...now there are certain events or things I remember but big chunks are definitely missing.
I was born and raised in a middle-class suburban neighborhood, my parents had been married and built our house for a while before I was born, their marriage was a 2nd for both sides. My dad had an older son, my half-brother from his first marriage and my mom had spent a great deal of her childhood raising her siblings due to the early death in a car accident of her father so when it came time to have kids it was noted that I would probably be an only child. I grew up the pride and joy of both my parents...there aren't many negative times I remember as a child...if there were issues they weren't shown while I was around.
I don't remember the exact time my parents divorced. My most prominent memory of that time was my mom picking me up from my after school program and on the way home telling me that my dad wasn't going to be at home anymore. I had other friends in school that had divorced parents but I was definitely still too young to process what the actual divorce would mean for me. I do know some of the details of my parents divorce and those are too private to put on here but it was not one that stayed civil. I have many memories of me being dropped off by my dad and it turning into an argument, over what I wasn't sure of at the time but as an adult I've come to understand better.
I was raised for the most part in that house I grew up in with my mom, I saw my dad I think once during the week and every other weekend, by that time he was living with my now step-mom and her 2 girls. I remember feeling replaced and honestly I don't think that's a feeling I've ever really gotten over. I know my dad loves me but when you are that young you can't really understand why your dad is leaving your house with you to live somewhere else with someone else kids. Just before I turned 16 my mom and I started having some issues, I wanted more freedom and she didn't want to give her boundaries up so I moved in with my dad, step-mom and her kids.
I was there about a year before things turned upside down in that house, to be honest I still do sometimes think my step-mom harbors some jealousy towards me, I think she knows my dad loves me unconditionally like any parent and that she won't ever really be able to change that but our relationship has gotten better. I made a pledge to my dad a couple years ago that I would start trying with her and I have and the birth of my daughters has made that relationship easier. By 18 I was out on my own for the most part, of course like any newly released kid I still needed my parents but I had an apartment and a roommate and a job, all the technical things that made me an adult.
I'd say in the past 5 years I've learned a lot about my relationships with my parents and I do know that certain things I hope to not take from them. From my mom I hope to know when to let my girls breathe, to know that it's okay for them to make mistakes but to be there in the background and have them know that I'm there if they need me. From my dad I've learned that it's not always about the financial, money is great, you can do great things with it but it never replaces a relationship, I'll support my girls financially in the best way I know how to but I hope they don't ever look at me like a bank...not that I look at my dad as a bank now but in some ways in the past I did, I took advantage of that and I regret it.
The biggest thing I took from my childhood came to light when David and I talked about getting married. My mom has been married twice, my dad three times...it was extremely important to both David and I that we know that getting married meant a one time offer...no take backs, no negotiations, no get out of jail free cards. Even though I do believe that if anything happened to me and David we could maintain a civil relationship it's just not a card that's on the table for us. I'd never want to put our girls through what I went through with my parents divorce, it does scar you, it does make you hesitant and it affects you in ways you probably don't understand until much later in life. There are many who've had a much harder childhood than I ever did but what I did experience taught me a lot and I believe it's made me an even better person today.