The Good Child


Funny how even as an adult, you can remember certain things from your childhood such as: your first crush, who your first teacher was, your favorite holiday presents, or even that time you finally rode your bike without help, but what about the bad things that we did as young children? Probably not quite as easy to remember.

I know for me, I pride myself on my excellent memory. I remember things from when I was only 18 months old as a matter of fact. What I can't remember though, are the times that I threw tantrums because I didn't get something I wanted. I can't remember ever telling my mom "I don't like you!" and I cannot recall one time in my young childhood where I made my parents cry (that came later on...ha ha). Whenever people ask about the dynamic between my siblings and I, I always recite something to the effect of "I was the good child" or "I was a perfect angel, they were so bad." Funny enough, when asked, I'm sure my brother and sister say something similar. It's all about perspective and selective memory, of course. I am sure that all three of us hurt our parents and made them cry...many.. many times. It's just something you don't think about when your a child and the world revolves around you. It's not until after becoming a parent yourself though, that you learn how the love that a parent has for his or her child, is like no other. It is completely unconditional. It's unbelievable how patient and forgiving you can become as a parent.

A few days ago, Nessa, who is always so happy, snapped into this tantrum because she was tired. During her, 15 minute, 3 year old tirade, she must have screamed, "I DON'T LIKE YOU ANYMORE!!" about fifty times. I tried my hardest to put on a stone cold face and not let it affect me, but I couldn't contain the tears any longer. My heart was broken, and I was absolutely crushed. My little baby, the last innocent and naive cutie was officially a "Threenager" . All of a sudden I had visions of future door slammings in my face, and echoes of "I HATE YOU!" happening in my head.

Then on the opposite side of the age spectrum, we have Mia, representing the "tween" stage. Not only is she talking back and seems to know everything under the sun...so very smart for only 10 years old (heavy sarcasm there in case you couldn't tell), but she is also hitting that time in her life where everything I do is embarrassing to her. I can't play "music" too loudly when I drop them off at school, she lowers her head in shame as I dance in the car at stopped traffic lights (what fun is that?), and she pretends she doesn't know me in the stores walking about 10 paces in front or behind me. This becomes fun for me, because the more she acts embarrassed, the more I want to embarrass her. I mean, isn't this the rite of passage? As a parent isn't that my duty to embarrass them?

This is something I have often reflected back on as an adult. I recall the numerous times I would hang out with my friends after school at the local Mall (it was Jersey after all ...ha ha the mall capital). After school, I would go to my friend's house and then we would walk over to the mall and hangout for awhile. I always had arranged for my mom to pick me up at the back of the mall and I would walk away from my friends to go meet her. I'll never forget one day in particular I wasn't waiting in our normal meeting spot in time for her to pick me up and so she drove around looking for me. She spotted my friends and I and beeped the horn and waved. I was humiliated. I'm pretty sure I recall ignoring her, pretending I didn't hear or see her and just proceeded to walk to our normal pick up area. I remember crying and telling her how embarrassed I was . At that age, all I was thinking was like "Oh My Gosh my friends are never going to talk to me again."

This is the thing I don't understand though. Why do we get embarrassed of our parents when we are young? Why would we be embarrassed of them at any age for that matter? They brought us into the world. They provide and support us unconditionally. These are the people that you can turn to for anything and yet as children we treat them as if they have ruined our lives, when in fact they provided us with one. My parents especially, are the most loving, most down to earth, hardworking, and kindest people you'd ever meet. They definitely didn't deserve that treatment from me. As a parent now, I totally understand all the pain and heartache I must of caused them. Meanwhile, I was the "GOOD Child."


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