Tuesday, June 7, 2011

{ bumbling chapter } ~ austin area photographer

I tried this last week and I quickly realized I hadn't really evaluated all the content and given accurate credit where it was due. I had delivered a very biased and almost hostile view of portions of my upbringing.

The following is a roughly drafted excerpt from the memoirs I have long been working on and sadly haven't made much ground until recently. I have been writing more and more as of late, however it's difficult to post because I have no internet connection at my apartment, so I have to pack up the laptop and visit a wifi sharing facility in order to connect to the outside world.

All your patience and encouragement for me to write has prompted me to share this. Please let me know if you think it's worth pursuing.

{ the smile inside }


My story is divided. There are many parts that make up this Amelia. My life could have been very normal and I might have turned out exactly the same, but it wasn’t, it took a lot to make me this way.

From the beginning my life was unusual in some regard. I was the last of 6 kids, two of which were adopted. My sister’s who were adopted have always felt as close and even closer in many ways than my natural born sisters and my brother. For example of my siblings only the two which aren’t blood related to me are the only ones still trying to be somewhat involved in my life after divorce. Lyndsey, being 6 years older than me and looking nothing like me whatsoever, is my closest friend in all my family. She and I somehow understand each other. I have considered the possibility that I was also adopted or found somewhere, but my height and hairline link me too closely with my father and my thighs and ass prove I was born from my mom’s bloodline.

I do feel fortunate to have grown up in a large family. There are many perks to having a lot of siblings. One thing positive is the level of distraction that they can offer. Many times I escaped certain strangling because one of my sisters had done something seemingly worse than I had or at least more attention getting than myself and I was able to fly under the radar. The drawback to that being that I often view my parent’s affection and doting as having been used up by the time I came to the world. Looking back and seeing the difference in involvement in my life versus my older sisters and my brother, there isn’t even a comparison. They had far too much going on in life by the time I came around. My dad was a farmer and was required to be out checking fields and taking care of the land through all the daylight hours and into the evening as well. My mom has always been the most entrepreneurial person I’ve known, I thought she was Superwoman. She owned several businesses and stayed busy helping others. Because of my parents devout work ethic my sisters provided most of the childcare in our house. I felt a bit as if I was raised by my sisters, most specifically my two oldest sisters. As a child I would watch movies in their laps and listen to them talk on the phone, gossip with their friends, truly I felt older just by being around them. Even though I was born in the early 80’s, I often feel as though I lived my teen years through the 80’s just because I spent so much time immersed in pop culture by clinging to my teenage sisters.

More than once I have pondered how on earth my mom took care of 6 kids and now that I am older and able to really evaluate my childhood, I see that she kind of let us raise ourselves and become self sufficient. I don’t remember her even being home much because she owned her own businesses and was really involved with multiple projects. Still, the financial aspect boggles me, I can hardly afford 3 kids, wait I can’t even afford 3 kids. There were luxuries that I absolutely had to forego, like classes of any sort. I remember wanting to be sent to modeling school like my older sisters had been, but not being able to go. College would have been great too, but my parents felt like my teenage pregnancy deserved eternal punishment and considered paying for Avery’s birth as my choosing healthcare through childbirth over a college tuition. I needed their help and they gave it to me as they saw fit, which was to pay for some necessities and then let me struggle to experience the life I “chose” by having sex at 16. I owe my drive and self motivation to my parents, at 17 I learned what it’s like to have to earn a paycheck and I have been working hard ever since. I don’t know what it’s like to relax and plan vacations, I don’t even remember what vacation is.

Even though I sound bitter (it’s because I am a little), honestly I am still working through some of that, I have cherished memories from my childhood. My recollection of youth starts very early because I had a traumatic overdose experience when I was about 18 months old, which I remember with vivid detail. I was supposed to be napping when I snuck into my mom’s bathroom and opened her Synthroid which she took to medicate her under active thyroid. I believe she had that particular container for about a week or so and it contained 90 pills or close. So when I opened the childproof bottle and ate the remaining tablets, I probably ingested close to 80. My mom found me well before any reaction occurred and she drove me to the ER. Once there they began to give me “syrup” which I begged for more of. It was Ipecac which is used to induce vomiting. It worked really well on my 18 month old system, I began to regurgitate tiny pink pills over and over into a mustard yellow plastic container. After a struggle, I was given an IV to rehydrate my little body and placed in a crib to sleep. My mom sat in a rocking chair and the room was dark. As I let myself truly remember and put myself back in that crib, I can sense her worry, I believe she thought she might lose me, it’s one of the only times I can remember actually feeling her love me. It’s weird to say that when I almost died is one of my best memories, but that moment when I felt true concern from my mother is something I will never let go of, it makes me feel better about the rest of my life. Like when Elinor Daswood tells her sister Marianne “whatever his past actions, whatever his present course, at least you may be certain that he loved you.”

My dad has always needed a great deal of affection and because of that he is a master at doling it out. From as far back as I can recall my father has been enamored with my mother, at least he always appeared to be and that president was set. He touched her and complimented her all the time and would tell us kids what a special lady she was. He would tell all of us kids how much he loved us and would openly hug and kiss us. Still to this day he leaves me the kindest voicemail messages just to let me know that at least one of my two parents cares for me even though they both heartily disagree with my life choices (meaning my divorce). I also have a twinge of sadness when I think about how my mom would always shrug him off or even push him away. I know that my season of distance is linked to my idolization of my mother and I was just acting how I saw her act and believing what she spoke about him. I regret those teen years when I wouldn’t accept his hugs. I’m trying to make up for it and learn from it, he is my best example of how affection should be freely given and the quota for loving words can never be met.



Lisa M. said...

wow... Whenever I read your writing it's like I am sitting with you while you tell me about it. I will say one thing about your mom, she loves you no doubt because she is your mother and us moms dont choose to love our kids, we just love them. But... alot of times, especially these days with so many parents working outside the home, kids dont feel loved anymore. And parents dont take the time to find out how to love thier kids. I grew up in a home like that. As an adult I see now that they loved me the best they knew how and I forgave them for not being perfect as I hope my kids will do for me. I hope you quickly work through any bitterness towards them because it robs you and it also rubs off into your children:) Your not perfect (duh!!) but your a great girl and a wonderful mom. Can't wait to read your book!

Amelia said...

Aww thanks Lisa. Yeah I also hope my girls forgive all my mistakes. I wish my mom would care enough to say she loved me, that'd go a long way vs. her telling me that she can never accept me while making the decisions that she disagrees with. Oh well, her loss.

Lisa M. said...

I agree. And you are right, it is her loss. Relationships between parents and children should be special no matter what. I cant believe that your divorce is still topic of conversation!

Laura said...

I love it! It's almost like I can hear your voice reading it out loud as I'm reading in my head, even though, of course, I've never even heard your voice.

Keep going!

Tanya said...

I keep coming back to your blog because I love your writing (even though you should post more!!). Excellent post. At 36 --- I am just now learning how to forgive my own mother for a chaotic and erratic childhood.

Windy Ridge said...

This post evokes all kinds of emotions(as good writing should;)

I can relate in many ways. As the oldest of 12 and as the mother of 9.

One thing I have learned is that we each have a different view of how things are. I was a bit shocked as my big boys were recalling their childhood one day...a totally different view on some things than I had. Some not that great and I had to assure them that was not the case or certainly not the way I saw it.

Your post reminds me not to depend on the olders to raise the youngers. kids need parents to be parents. I am guilty of depending too much on the big kids.

In our family the olders and babies get the most attention, typical I am sure. I have been trying hard to make sure the middles get attention as they seem to be the least trouble and tend to be forgotten. I truly truly truly love them all equally (though differently).

I hope & pray you get to a good place with your mama.


PS- your mama's bloodline must have some mighty fine thighs & ass;)

Anonymous said...

wow, are you sure you haven't time-travelled here from the 70s? Good stuff, hits very close to home. I think its just something about mothers and daughters.I used to have this as my Facebook quote ~

I believe that always, or almost always, in all childhoods and in all the lives that follow them, the mother represents madness. Our mothers always remain the strangest, craziest people we've ever met.
Marguerite Duras

and then my mother became a FB friend and i took it off :-P. Hope things ease up soon. Keep writing! ~ Carole

Rebekah said...

This was a very personal read, and a good reminder that no one really has a perfect childhood. Your struggles and memories are the pressures that make the gem of who you are.

It liberates me a bit to think that I don't have to create a perfect childhood for my own children - they will turn out fine and lovely, too :)