Thursday, July 29, 2010

I don't remember when it happened, but I started resenting, instead of loving. Was I eleven when it started? Or earlier? I remember revelling in walking over to my mom, after dinner, and having her rest her chin on my head. It made me feel so special, so loved. Not saying anything, just listening to the adult chatter over coffee, feeling like I was being included in something special while I lingered there. Later, she would call me over and I would reluctantly go, eyes rolling, but still going over - she would have to strain her neck a little bit to rest her chin on my head. And eventually the little ritual stopped. I grew too tall for her to rest her chin. I also grew sullen, resentful, rude and awful. The first three years of my teen years were intense, dramatic and sad. I was a bundle of insecurities with a dash of depression and I lashed out against the ones who loved me most. There was bile in my voice when I spoke to them and I did everything I could to infuriate them, alienate them, mock them and make them feel sub-human. That they put up with it is incredible. And that they decided to no longer put up with it and expel me from their home is also incredible, but ultimately what saved me from myself. My departure from home for that chunk of time returned me to them no longer full of hate and anger. A little vulnerable, a little bruised, but no longer lashing out against them.

I'm thinking about this today after getting off the phone with my parents, who are meeting us on our camping trip. We are going to the same destination that they used to take us every second year when we were kids. Those vacations where Dad didn't shave everyday and we played Scrabble at night (they still tell me that I used to beat them at Scrabble, ahhh the pride of parents). Everyone is excited to relive memories and create new ones with our kids. Sometimes it knocks my breath out thinking about those years that almost destroyed us and to think about where we are now.

8 comments:

Lynn said...

Wow, that is an amazing and powerful story. I'd love to hear the long version sometime.

I think the fact that you were able to turn it around and then get to a happy place with your parents again is incredible and rare. As a parent myself I'm really afraid of the teen years and I only hope I find the strength to make it through.

Johanna said...

sending you a teary hug. Amazing how being a parent is a kind of reckoning - it makes us understand and appreciate our own parents, see them as so much more than we did at the time when we were young, and understand the implications of our own actions. On this camping trip, let your Mom rest her chin on your head.

Pauline said...

Adolescence and pre-adolescence is tough but it sounds like the whole experience made your family stronger and appreciate one another more.

That is great that you made such a journey and returned together as a loving unit.:)

XUP said...

I know how heartbreaking it is when your teenager looks at you and talks to you like you're the lowest form of life. Fortunately for me, it only happens rarely. It would be tough to know what to do if it was like that all the time. On the one hand, I know that because she feelest safest with me; because she knows (somewhere) that I love her unconditionally - that I am the place where she can spew all her insecurities, anger, fear after a day of holding herself together and being cool and collected in the big, scary world. On the other hand, it's still hurtful. I know you'll be a wiser parent for having been through this as a teenager yourself.

Nat said...

The teen years scare me a lot, mainly for all the things that I did to scare the crap out of my parents.

But we're planning two trips together. We shall see how they go. (We've been known to fall into old patterns.)

The Maven said...

We share a great deal of common ground in our teen years, but you know that. Suffice to say that I've done my fair share of being a resentful, unruly teen as well. I most surely think I'll be paying for it with at least one of my gremlins. So far, Intrepid is one of those sweet teens that gets a little moody but is never mean. Gutsy? Spawnling? I may be seeing a lot more of teen Maven in my future :P

alison said...

Hugs, Meanie. I'm so glad your family is healed enough to enjoy each other's company now.

Blogger said...

Do you like watching live sex webcams? Then visit BongaCams.