Monday, May 18, 2015

Reflecting on My Scrapbook

Healing from our own childhoods can be so hard. Making parenting choices vastly different than those our parents made is really, really, difficult if we haven't prepared ourselves in advance.
I'm thinking about this lately because over the weekend I cleaned out a ton of photo albums from my closet. One of the albums was a childhood scrapbook my mom gave me when I turned 19. Each year had a bullet point list of memorable moments from the year. Papa and I were reading through it and laughing hysterically because things like "Had teeth cleaned" and "Drank lots of water" made the lists of highlights. It was really funny. At first.
As I continued reading through (I started at age 18 and worked my way backward) I got progressively more sad. The trend of non-events continued to be the highlights of my scrapbook, with sprinklings of outright negativity thrown in. My parents' divorce, being suspended from school for swearing in a note to a friend, being forced to go to counseling for suspected drug use (suspected by my parents, I wasn't using drugs though).
It hurt to see how vastly differently my mom experienced my childhood from the way I did. None of my cherished memories were in that book. None of my ambitions or interests were recorded. It drove home that my mom didn't, and still doesn't, really know *ME*. My heart aches for that relationship which I don't have.
But the beauty of it is the reminder to stop some of the things I'm doing and go sit with my children, to just *be* with them. To ask them what they think about the world and really listen. To be involved with their interests. To cherish the joy the feel in their accomplishments. To heal my hurt by nourishing my relationship with them. To do all I can to create a legacy of love and connection.

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