Sometimes I really get pissed when I think about my childhood. From my seat here at the computer I can see out through the neighborhood and I have been watching the school buses dropping off the heathens. Just about all of them are met by their moms and the occasional dad, with smiles, hugs and kisses. I had to walk about a mile to my house from the grammar school and my mom would greet me with, “Do your homework and did you get in trouble today?” Love you, too, mom. Thanks for making me feel special.
Okay, my mom was 39 when I was born, ten years after her last live child. There was a girl born dead that would have been six years older, but she don’t count. So my parents had two boys and a girl that they got to enjoy. But when I came along everyone was too tired to go anywhere or do anything, unless one of my dad’s lodge buddies call for a ride or something. Then the energy was there. My dad never played ball with me. We never went on vacation or celebrated birthdays, other than have your favorite desert after supper. Mom and dad never owned a car until I went into the Navy. My older bros and sis had cars and they took mom to the store. Other wise, we walked or too the bus.
One time we went to a place call Cheatham’s Hill, a Civil War Battle sit at the foot of Kennesaw Mountain for the one and only picnic the family ever had. It lasted just long enough to eat. Dad complained the whole time and baby brother, Stephen, cried. Admittedly it was hot, but walking around and enjoying the shade of the trees and stuff was beyond them.
They never went to PTA meetings, watched me play sports (for this I can’t blame them because I wasn’t very good,) or got involved with any church projects that involved the youth. I remember one RA (Royal Ambassadors), a Baptist church thing, function was a Father and Son dinner, but I didn’t go because my dad was too tired. But Mr. Pritchett called and ask dad to walk down to the church and drive them home because he had sprained his ankle playing a game with his son. He did. And I couldn’t go with him because it was too late and I needed to go to bed.
When my baby brother, Stephen, was born he was sickly with jaundice. That, and the fact that he was mom’s last chance, made him special. He was doted on and I had to give him anything I was playing with and he wanted. No negotiations or fairness.
Yes, they were both in their 40’s when Stephen and I were coming up, but fuck that. I’m 63 years old and I spend the summers on the lake with the grandkids, taking them on curses, I set in the freezing wind or insufferable heat to watch them play soccer. I can find the time to be there. Why didn’t they think I was worth the trouble?
Since then I’ve always wondered why anyone takes any time with or for me. That’s also why I never let anyone get too close. I’ll either disappoint them or I will get too close to them and they will disappoint me. Even Sweet Tea! I have never understood why she chose me, but I am very glad she did. And when the grandkids climb into my lap or give me a random hug or kiss, I lap it up like a hound dog lapping water after a day of serious hunting.
I just can’t help but wonder what I would be like now if I had been greeted with a hug and a kiss. If I had ever had an encourage word. Yes, I did have plenty to eat, and clothes to get me through each growth spurt and climate change, but to see a welcome smile…
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