I Thought My Childhood Was Normal!

I mentioned before that I blacked out a lot of my childhood when my parents separated. I did remember some positive events and most of my school years; but, I remembered them as being totally normal. Even growing up from that date, I don't think I ever thought of my life as being less than normal, until I started having my own children. Just the same thing everyone went through. I never believed in the family lives of books,TV or movie families. As far as I was concerned, they did not exist!
I believed every family struggled to get along. So, when my parents fought and my brothers fought, even when the fights often got physical, I thought it was normal. When my brothers ran away from home, I believed that was normal, I thought that was how every child left home eventually. Name calling was just normal, to me, between parents and children and between siblings. It didn't matter how nasty or how much it was repeated because it was normal, even when not fighting.
I believed that every family had secrets that were never meant to be shared. People did not talk about their parents getting drunk, fighting or their father hitting their mom and that was just how it was. People did not talk about how someone touched you where they weren't suppose to, according to TV and school. It happened but was not something anyone talked about because society did not talk about those things. People did not talk about why they got certain bruises,injuries or missed school due to "illness". It just wasn't something you talked about outside of the family.

I believed every father was emotionally distant and whenever I saw a father that wasn't I assumed that was just public behavior. Father's just did not hug their children, talk with their children or share in their children's lives. They often yelled at, cursed or blamed their children for things. I believed that was the normal behavior of a dad out of the public eye.

I believed every mother had periods where they just could not handle things, where they would be too busy to notice what was going on between their children and where they would sometimes lose it . There were 7 of us kids in the house and often it was noisy, we were too rambunctious/active and mom had to shoo us outside to get anything done.So when she would yell at any of us or break down and go to her room, it was something that was to be expected. My father rarely got involved in parenting because it was the woman's responsibility. That was just the way a normal family operated, in my belief. If mom did not notice us kids occasionally disappeared for a while, hit each other or call each other names; well that was the way, I thought, it was meant to be. If she didn't know that the older ones sometimes got mean when "babysitting", and of course we never told her, nobody ever said it wasn't normal. There were many things that happened between us siblings that were never told to mom because you just didn't bother her with things, you did not upset her for no good reason. I never thought I had a good reason! I wasn't afraid of my mother but I was afraid of hurting her, totally normal right(?).

I believed every one's parents partied and drank! Alcohol was a constant in my young life and I have written about that before. Parties were frequent, at our house, until my mom tried to stop drinking.There always seemed to be a lot of people, many who were parents and that was normal, in my eyes.

I believed if you loved a male you did things they asked. It did not matter what they asked you to do, if it felt uncomfortable or hurt and even if you thought it was wrong. When you loved a male, you did what they wanted or got left out, hurt and ignored. Totally normal or so I believed.

I thought sisters where never meant to get along and understand each others. Even though my sister and I shared a bedroom, actually shared a bed, we rarely played together and fought constantly when we did speak to each other. there is 3 years between us in age. I was more a tomboy and she was, in my eyes a prissy little girl {do not see her that way now}. I never really met many sisters that got along; but, I treated my sister like she did not exist most of the time. Since no one ever tried to force me to get along or spend time with her I figured it was normal.
{I can say this, raising 4 daughters did not change my outlook on this (life did, somewhat) but mostly just showed me that sisters can be friends and close}

I believed every child had dreams that came true. I never really discussed this with anyone,as a child or young adult. I have had these dreams for as long as I can remember. Some are dull, everyday things, some are catastrophes, most are just in between somewhere. Having "nightmares" that came true scared the crap out of me and I never really was able to tell the difference between the ones which would/could come true and the ones that were just nightmares.

I believed my childhood was the same as anyone other child's. Bullying in school, being segregated because of financial background or heredity was normal (common) when I was growing up. That doesn't mean it didn't effect how a child viewed the world. I simply accepted I would never have friends, never be one of the "gang" and always be rejected and ridiculed. For me that was normal! So, I stopped trying to make friends by grade 2. Mostly I just tried to disappear in school. There were a few kids like that.

I believed my family was the same as every one's family. Family stuck together no matter what! You never stopped loving a family member just because they hurt you, used you, lied to you or made you uncomfortable, after all they were family and everybody must love their family! You always forgive family, for everything because no one else will be there for your entire life. No matter how my parent's families treated them they were always ready to be there for them, especially on my mother's side!

The truth is, I have no idea what a normal family is. I have never really spent a lot of time with other people's families. Families that did not behave like mine. I would never have learned that my family was not normal if it was not for a friend reporting me to a principle for begging for pain killers instead of seeing a dentist. That led to a fight with a nurse, an argument with the principle, being expelled and being forced to go to counselling. It was that counsellor who started me and my family on a long journey of discovery. Unfortunately, that only lasted a couple of years for most of us. It is much easier to go back to forgetting and accepting of "dysfunction" then it is to change!

However, I wanted a different childhood, a better one, for my daughters. So, I decided I had to face things and change. In that process I learned that my family was not normal. In fact, although I knew many other children who lived like I did or worse, my family was very dysfunctional. I have not covered everything in this blog and just can not face or share everything, yet.
Although I wanted a normal, loving childhood for my daughters and wanted to protect them from some of the things I went through, I was not successful. But that is another story, one I have already wrote some about but some I will write about later. I still do not know what a normal childhood is.

I do know my family is closer than most peoples, we share a lot with each other and we tend to feel free to discuss things others do not normally discuss. My family, especially my mom, tend to attract others who want to adopt us. This has passed on to my daughters. To me that is just because when we care about others, we really care (too much sometimes) and accept them for who they are, even for any faults, willing to listen and be there for them. We also offer whatever help and comfort we can.

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