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.