I have had a hell of a couple of months and I plan to write about it soon but I thought I would get started with my new blogging project by using one of their kick starts to writing. There are several questions the site proposes to help you get your writing juices flowing or in my case, light a fire under my excuse ridden ass. The question I chose was “What is your earliest memory?” because I have always remembered flashes of a scene when I was very young and I never really analyzed it or had an opinion of it and now at almost 47, I thought it might be interesting to explore what it means to me now.
This earliest memory of mine is a strange one. It could be considered somewhat unpleasant as it isn’t filled with giggles or balloons but to me a first it a first and it’s just a memory and has had no scarring effect on my life.
It was sometime in the wee hours of the morning. I remember the calming whir of an electric fan, a typical sound on hot Caribbean nights. I might have been almost 3 and for some reason was standing in my crib in my parents bedroom. I was crying; hands tightly gripping the rail and I think my parents were trying to ignore me…for as long as one can ignore a strong willed crying toddler. I remember my father with his usual grunt “Shit man, chile. QUIET!” He picked me up firmly and placed me where I found the most comfort- atop my mothers bosom and today she still jokes that is why she was more flat chested than other women.
I remember my mother’s smell. It wasn’t flowery, or citrusy …it was …nice, comforting…it was simply her…Mummy’s skin and I think if was ever lost in a crowd, I would have been able to seek her out much like a puppy sniffing out it’s mother. That night like so many others, the feel of her warm, smooth, tight skin and her “my mummy”smell quickly put me to sleep. She didn’t say a word but ever so gently rubbed my back knowing I would soon be in dreamland. I remember liking my mummy more than my daddy in those times. I think when it came to being disciplined, I might have been a little afraid of this diminutive man who seemed so large when I was a child but looking back on other memories it was so clear I was daddy’s girl and was properly spoiled by him.
My parents were average income earners living in a small flat with a baby. They had the same stress we have as parents now and like us, frustration was high. Like us, they certainly weren’t perfect and they did the best with what they had in the times they lived in. However some 40 plus years ago, they could express themselves in ways that are referred to now as being politically incorrect. They did not have the added stress of watching what they did or said and it did not make them bad parents. I was handled, sometimes spanked, yelled at, hugged , kissed, adored, praised, punished, rewarded, tickled and cuddled. I was sometimes spoiled with wonderful treats like toys, occasionally “sweeties” and special outings but I knew my place and I was treated like a child. I had clear boundaries and showed respect because I was given respect and was seen as a child who needed to be told what to do and taught how to do things and how to behave in certain situations. Many new parents do things differently because they want to do it better than their parents did but in my opinion, I turned out just fine thank you very much. In general, our parents didn’t do it wrong, they did it differently holding respect, kindness and decency as rules to live by. We spoke when we were spoken to and waited our turn. We were raised to understand that yes, what we had to say was important but not more important than what anyone else was saying or doing. No matter how cute we were, it didn’t entitle us to be the centre of attention all the time and we were given choices that suited our age like what colour pajamas we wanted to wear and not whether or not the family should go to the beach or to the Botanic Gardens. Mom and Dad was in charge of those choices.
So reflecting on my earliest memory has made me realize the similarities between our generations – our parenting skills, hardships, worries, hopes dreams and joys. It reminds me that I was raised by two loving, fantastic people and that it is because of the upbringing I had, I am able to survive this overly politically correct world I now live in. My life is not always easy. In fact, it’s damn complicated at times and decisions have to be made quickly to foster positive change and when things are going well, my husband and I are very often wondering when the other shoe will fall. John and Angela’s upbringing allows me dig deep within my soul to find what I need to persevere and cope. Because of them, I always know who I am and all the good changes I can implement. My upbringing keeps me sane, calms me and comforts me and in times of stress and I feel blessed to have had them give me a gift so priceless.
So there it is, my earliest memory and what it means to me. I think the juices are flowing again. Thanks Word Press for the kick start to this new found outlet. There is so much more to come and I hope you keep reading because I’m going to keep writing.