I’m it! Here’s a fun little “tag” from Kate at “One More Thing“…
The game goes like this:
“Find the nearest book, turn to page 123, start at the fifth sentence and type out the next three sentences.”
Sounds easy enough….
I’m at my desk… in my little home office.. directly to my right, is a book shelf… full of old and new books of mine… ranging from “Calvin and Hobbes” to “Mark Twain collection” to gawd only knows what. Nearest at hand, though, is a book I read not too long ago…
“Surviving a Borderline Parent: How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds & Build Trust, Boundaries, and Self-Esteem, by Kimberlee Roth, Freda B. Friedman, Randi Kreger”
fifth sentence begins:
“This is not to say that your negative feelings aren’t justified; rather it’s to remind you that little in life is 100 percent good or 100 percent bad (know anyone who thinks that it is?!). In thinking about her childhood experience with her mother, who would alternate between being very loving and then raging uncontrollably, Donna, forty-two, says, “It helped me to keep in mind that my mother didn’t ask to be borderline. Whether it was caused by heredity or the environment, she didn’t choose it, and she never set out to make my life miserable.”
That’s 3 sentences…. but, here’s the rest of Donna’s quote:
“In her own way, she tried her best. One of the gifts she gave me was to always encourage my painting. That was one thing she always praised. I’m not surprised I grew up to be a painter”
I don’t know if my mom is “borderline” or “sz” for sure, but, reading books like these made me realize it wasn’t like she was doing it “on purpose” and see things from her side a bit. The parts that didn’t apply to me, I figured helped me better understand my mother and how she felt growing up the way she did wither HER mother being severely schizophrenic.
Page 123 goes on to suggest a little exercise:
STOP AND THINK: Positive Recollections
- Sit quietly and think of a positive memory – however fleeting – that you had with a parent,even one who was mostly invalidating and/or abusive. Do you remember a song, a story, a particular walk, or a gift – a snapshot of a moment when you felt happy, glad, loved, joyful even, with your parent?
- Note what senses get aroused when you think of that moment. Is it smell, touch, sight, sound? Are these sensations that now arouse positive feelings for you?
- Write about how it feels to be able to focus on a positive memory, a positive moment with your parent.
When I read this, I knew immediately what one of my favorite “good memories” of my mom was/is from when I was a child. It’s something she and I still bring up when we get together, because it’s something we can both actually smile about and not argue about…
I remember my mother telling me stories at nap time. It was a favorite time for me. She was a good story teller. She would ask me what I wanted in the story. I’d look around my room, see the Bambi decor, and inevitable say, “a rabbit…. a deer…. a butterfly”… whatever I saw on my walls. Sometimes, I’d throw in a squirrel or something. And, my mom would tell a story… using whatever characters I wanted…. and always with “a little girl with long blonde hair, and big blue eyes, and freckles from the angel kisses” as the main character.
I ate that right up like candy.
Sure I remember the not so positives… I often felt alone…. I remember doing a lot of nothing when I was really young. I missed my brother when he went off to school full days. Before that, he always entertained me. But for a few years, before I went into first grade, I did a lot of entertaining myself. Trying to keep quiet and out of mom’s way. Off by myself often coloring… painting… listening… waiting…
But, nap time… That was different. I had her full attention then…
She could be quite charming and entertaining… So animated. Definitely interesting. And, she always made me feel so special through those stories… I remember snuggling up with her, and never wanting nap time to end. I actually don’t remember how the stories ended. She would just ramble, making it up as she went along, until I dozed off. I’d try my best to stay awake… to make her keep going… but, eventually my eyelids wouldn’t cooperate and I’d doze off.
It definitely feels good to have these memories. Reminds me that she really did love me… like she really did make efforts to do her best for me… and makes me feel lucky that I have memories like these to prove it. It also makes it easier to let go of the not-so-good memories…