Tuesday, July 14, 2009

INDEPENDENT TO A FAULT

I popped out of the womb "independent" according to my mother. My baby book is full of her frustration with her "want to do it myself" daughter. My Dad always said I was born 60 and would die a three year old. Perhaps he was referencing F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Dad said I was born with a "been there, done that, lets get on with something new," demeanor.

Mother had desperately wanted a daughter and was getting nervous after having two sons. Then I appeared. Finally a little girl to teach all she knew about being a woman. She wanted to take her daughter's hand and lead her gently through life. I fear she wanted someone else's daughter, for she didn't get that in me. I had to be her greatest frustration as I just wanted to be an independent adult. I was the baby in the family and chaffed in that role which usually got me in trouble.

I don't know how far back you can remember but I have definite flashes as a two year old, more as a three year old and pretty clear images at four year old. Just don't ask me what I had for lunch yesterday. The day I am writing about happened when I was almost four. Of course when you are one week past your third birthday, in your mind, you are "almost four."

We had moved again to a new town. Our house was on the same block as a church, so Mother decided on our first Sunday that we were going to church. 

I remember being very excited that we were going and I just loved wearing my new dress and shiny patent leather shoes. I was impatient and kept asking if it were "time yet?" My mother was an asthmatic and that morning before she could get ready herself, she had a mild attack.

It was very common for us to witness her struggling to breathe and squirting her atomizer. I was too young to understand her disease. The attacks were common place and she always got better. It was as non threatening to me at that age as having a parent with chronic, severe hiccups.

I was the only one completely dressed and was pretty much ignored as Dad tried to make Mother comfortable as she recovered. It was decided church was off for this Sunday due to her attack. This did not upset my brothers and they just got back into their play clothes and went outside.

I was as bummed as an almost four year old could get. While Dad was busy with Mother, I thought, "I'll just go by myself." I slipped out the door without a word and down the street I went. I walked up to the entrance of the church and prepared to enter when a lady stopped me.

"Look what we have here." she said loud enough to attract a crowd. "Where are your parents little girl?"

"Home, " I said. Then rather importantly I added, "I'm here to go to church."

"Oh, you mean Sunday school," she corrected me.

"Sunday school is for babies." I said, repeating what I had heard my brothers say. I stamped my foot and with a pout starting , declared, "I want to go to church."

By now I have a crowd around me and I am hearing a lot of "How cute is she?"  However I was being physically barred from the front door. The preacher, in his glorious robes, took my hand and lead me away. I thought he was going to take me to front row seat in "church " but I ended up in a class room with kids about my age. Yuck, Sunday school.

Ok,I thought, I am here but I don't have to like it. Then the stories started and I was spell bound. That Sunday the lesson was David and Goliath. Hay, this Sunday school stuff wasn't too bad what with super heroes and all.

I was really into the story when there was a ruckus in the hall way. The door burst open and there were my parents. When Mother's attack subsided, my parents discovered I was missing and panic ensued. They had rushed into the church to ask if anyone had seen me. Well of course, almost every one had. After all, I was that "How cute is she?" pre-church diversion.

I was really embarrassed that my parents were alternately hugging and scolding me in front of the whole class. The teacher diplomatically said I could come back next week so I left with my parents to face my punishment which was a long lecture on the code of behavior required of a 4 year old.

Mother just kept shaking her head. and I am sure in her heart of hearts, she suspected I had been switched in the hospital nursery with her nice, docile, dependent child. She never did locate her lost child. She could only hope her "real" child had found a good home.

Were you also born with an innate characteristic that drove your parents batty?? Care to share??

11 comments :

  1. Yes! I was born to talk incessantly (my husband agreed with her) and ask "why" to everything. My Mother had two exasperating answers when she tired of my talking and questions, "because I said so!" or later, "Go look it up" after we had a set of encyclopedias!

    When I was grown-up--if I ever was--she told me if I had been the 2nd or 3rd child, she would have deemed me hyperactive, but since I was first, she thought I was normal.

    I interpreted that I was a "handful" compare to my younger brother and younger sister. <:~D>

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  2. We used to sit and watch the people go in the church with smiles, feathers in hats, and flowers in lapels. They came out with mouths turned down, flowers wilted and feathers askew.

    Thank you very much for visiting my birds blog and for the comment you left me there.
    My Birds Blog

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  3. Hi Patti, Cute Story!!!! There were two words to describe myself as a child: shy and sly!!!!! One time--at age 4, I was sneaky and climbed up to the big clock in our living room.. I moved the time up about 15 minutes since I was so excited to go to pre-school (and didn't want to wait)... I got caught---but never did admit that I did it!!!! ha

    My mother used to want to hug me ---and I'd just bristle (so she said). I didn't want any of that loving stuff... So-I guess I had a pretty independent streak in me also.

    I gave them fits when I was a teen---but always played the innocent one. IF they were here today, I'd apologize for giving them such a rough time.

    Great post!!!
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  4. nitwit,
    That is funny about your Mom not thinking your were hyperactive because as a first child, she had no comparison. At least you set the bar high for your siblings.

    Abe,
    That must have been church before A/C. I do remember the fans supplied by the local funeral home.

    Betsy,
    You were a sly one weren't you. Understand that need for school.Me too.
    I also wish I could have apologized to my Mom for being such a turkey butt. She died when I was still a terrible teen.

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  5. Loved this post.

    My mother had one sister who had one daughter. My mother had one daughter.

    I was a perfect fit to be my aunt's child and her daughter was a perfect fit to be my mother's daughter.

    As cousins we always understood our aunts better than we understood our mothers.

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  6. Oh, I loved your story! I was also the "unexplainable" daughter. There was a little girl down the street that was always mistaken to be "my mother's daughter."

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  7. I was pretty independent, too, and my mother was very controlling. We had quite a tug of war while I was trying to grow up my way and she was trying to make me do everything her way.

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  8. Thank you Linda.
    Totally understand the aunt thing. Aunts have no expectations of us so we just love them and they us. It is an easier relationship.

    Thanks Okihdan.
    I remember thinking my friends moms were cool and they always thought mine was fun. Go figure.
    Also, not so sure there weren't some baby swapping in the nurseries before wrist bands became vogue.

    Ouch Betty, those are two conflicting traits. Must have been interesting.

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  9. Why, why, why, and how does that work, must have drove my father crazy. Actually I still ask him those questions, just that I know when he's being honest it his reply or making it up.

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  10. I can't remember Patti, if I was born with an innate characteristic. But I always had the feeling that my parents didn't understand me. Good post, Patti!

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  11. brighid,
    Now "why" would you still bug the poor man? Isn't it true though when you get older you realize Dad didn't always know and bluffed a lot.Mine sure did.

    Reader Wil,
    Thanks, I think that may be a common complaint of all kids.

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