Tuesday, July 5, 2016

INDEPENDENT TO A FAULT


Rerun from July 2009.

I popped out of the womb "independent" according to my mother. My baby book is full of frustration with her "want to do it myself" toddler. My Dad often remarked that I was born a 40 year old.  

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. Sadly, I just wanted to be an independent adult, not a compliant little girl.  

The day I am writing about happened when I was almost four. Of course as a child, when you are one week past your third birthday,  you are "almost four." Some how I am not as quick to claim my pending year these days.

We had once again moved to a new town. As our house was just a few doors down from a church, Mother decided on our first Sunday that we were all going to church. 

We were not church goers at that time but when I learned everyone got dressed up to go, I was convinced this was going to be exciting.

With help, I was soon gussied up in my newest dress and shiny patent leather shoes. Oh boy.  I was the first one ready to go and I 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 not uncommon for me to witness her struggling to breathe and squirting her atomizer. I was too young to understand her disease. The attacks were not rare and she always got better. 
It became as non-threatening to me at that age as having a parent with chronic hiccups.

I was pretty much ignored as Dad tried to make Mother comfortable while she recovered and it was decided church was off for this Sunday. This did not upset my brothers.  They just got back into their play clothes and went outside to ride bikes.

I was as bummed as an almost four year old could get. With brothers gone and Dad busy with Mother, I thought, "I'll just go to church myself."  So I slipped out the door without a word and down the street I went. 

I walked up to the entrance of the church and was heading for the huge open doors when a lady touched my shoulder.

"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 they were physically barring me from the front door. Finally a man in glorious robes arrived to rescue me. 

The preacher took my hand and lead me away. I was delighted thinking he was going to take me to a front row seat in "church." Instead I ended up in a class room with kids about my age. Yuck, Sunday school.

Ok, I thought, I am stuck 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. Hey, this Sunday school stuff wasn't too bad what with super heroes and all.

I was really into the story and David had just clocked Goliath when there was a ruckus in the hall way. The door burst open and there were my parents. 

When Mother's asthma 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 excused me saying I could come back next week.  I then left with my parents to face my punishment which was a long lecture on the code of behavior required of a 4 year old.

Dad delivered the lecture while Mother just kept shaking her head.  I am sure in her heart of hearts, she was certain I had been switched in the hospital nursery with her nice, docile, dependent child. She never did locate her switched child and 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??


34 comments :

  1. I was the quiet, shy one, just like my dad. My mother was a true extrovert and had trouble relating to those who were not socially adept. I found my independent streak when I left for college. Still introverted, but much more confident with who I was. To this day, I think my mother must wonder how I came to be! Our personalities could not be more different. I think it is common for parents to expect to raise a "mini-me".

    Loved your story; made me smile this morning!

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    1. Carole,
      Thank you and so glad I amused.I am glad you were able to come into your own as we all must eventually do. I think you nailed it with the "mini-me".

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  2. My mother used to tell of my stubbornness. We were often at loggerheads. She would fix something for us to eat that I didn't like, and I wouldn't eat it, wanting something else. One day we finally reached an impasse. I wouldn't eat and she decided that she would put the food in front of me and if I didn't eat it, she would remove it. I didn't get anything at all. We went on that way for an entire day! When I woke the next day, I ate my entire meal and never missed another one. :-)

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    1. Djan,
      Boy my parents could have learned from yours. I use to sit in front of my hated meal for hours, sometimes falling asleep in my hash. Your Mom's idea was brilliant.

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  3. You are such a great storyteller.
    I was a quiet, shy, fearful child. But I was also opinionated and stubborn at an early age. The result was a kid who was often misunderstood, but I would just go silent and not explain myself. I'm sure I frustrated my mother.

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    1. Linda R,
      Aw, thanks so much. Glad you enjoyed. I think most of us who fall far from the tree leave our parents bewildered and us struggling.

      Delete
  4. Love this story, Patti! I was always the quiet kid. When my siblings wanted to play games (ALL THE TIME!), I wanted to be alone and think poetic thoughts. They used to sing to me, "Every party has a pooper that's why we invited you, Party Pooper."

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    1. robin,
      Now you have done it. The song that saying was based on is now firmly in my ear as a worm:))
      I do remember that chant. Can't remember if I used it or if it was aimed at me. .

      Delete
  5. We could have guessed what kind of a kid you were. LOL I was ornery but my sister got most of the blame for things I did then my brother got in trouble for not watching both of us better.

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    1. Annie,
      Ha,ha, I tried to blame my brother for everything but no one ever bought it. Weren't you the rascal.

      Delete
  6. I loved your story, Patti! Isn't it interesting how early certain traits show up! My thing as a child was talking and telling stories to an extent that it sometimes amused my parents and sometimes drove them wild. I have a tape -- made when I was not quite four, that my father gave me for my 30th birthday: a recording of my father trying to read me a story before bedtime and I asked if I could tell him a story first. I told him stories about everyone on my mother's side of the family, about animals and popular t.v. shows and then my own younger years. At the end of the tape, you can hear my father's soft snores as I'm saying "Wake up, Father! I have more stories to tell! All of them are true!" I think I must have been an exhausting child! I still have to watch the tendency to get wound up with stories so I don't overwhelm family and friends -- or put them to sleep!

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    1. Dr. Kathy,
      I love that adorable story and what a gift that you actually have that recording. How neat of your Dad to have kept it all those years then to give it to you. Priceless.

      Delete
  7. I had an over-developed sense of fairness, especially what was fair to me. I totally hated it when someone cheated at a game.

    In first grade I brought my teacher a beautiful apple. I had polished it with my dress all the way to school. There was some sort of commotion in the class and the teacher called me down for it. Despite that this time I had not said a word.

    I was so incensed that I marched right up to her desk and took my apple back. She had accused me falsely and no way was going to have that apple. She was so surprised that she didn't say a word. I ate the apple at recess.

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    1. Carolyn,
      Now that is just delightfully funny. I too have that over developed sense of fair play. It has sent me against the grain many times but I prize it still.

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  8. Cute story... My story is similar --but I was a little more shy... HOWEVER, I was the first girl (after 2 brothers)--and Mom was so happy to have a little girl. I was a tomboy BIGTIME--and wanted no part of things she wanted to teach me (sewing, reading, cooking, etc.)... I just wanted to be outside playing in the dirt.... (Still prefer that!!! ha)....

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. Betsy,
      I think both our mothers were let down a bit by us. It has to be hard on a parent to see different behavior out of their kids than they would like. Good thing you had boys huh?

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  9. Oops, I was a perfect child. At least my older parents and all my much older cousins thought I was perfect. I was also an only child.

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    1. Linda,
      Wow,a perfect child:)) The blessing of being the youngest and the only.

      Delete
  10. I'm told that I was quite the chatterbox (no surprise) and worked on a single run-on sentence from the age of four to nine. I'm sure I drove everyone nuts.

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    1. Stephen,
      Ha ha, that is one heck of a run on sentence:)) Hey, it was their fault for letting you have the floor.

      Delete
  11. My sister and I were born so close together that I never did have hardly any girly experiences by myself. My mom just seemed to be exhausted all the time! We were treated like twins, all the way down to our socks and shoes, but my sister was the neat one and I was the very untidy, tomboy one. By the time my brother came along, my mom was so over girl stuff. My worst (best) trait? Stubborn as a mule. Still am to this day.

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    1. Terri,
      I always wanted to be a twin but I can see from a parent's view that might be exhausting--even if you were only close in age. Also I can see where wanting to be an individual could suffer.
      Hey, stubborn is just another word for steadfast--a good trait.

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  12. Replies
    1. Pattisjarrett,
      Thank you so much. I am so happy you enjoyed.

      Delete
  13. I have an older brother, but am the oldest of the youngest three. We all came close together, as there is only 35 months between myself and my youngest brother with a sister in between.

    When I was about four I was mad at my mom for some now unknown reason. I decided to run away from home, packed a bread bag with my pajamas and toothbrush and made my way out to the gate (we lived on a farm). I sat out there for a good part of the day before mom came out to bring me in for dinner. She asked me what I was doing, and when I said I was running away, she asked why I hadn't gone any further. I told her...because you said I can't cross the road!

    Loved your story, I can just imagine you as a child stomping your feet and saying no to Sunday school. Did you get to go again the following Sunday?

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    1. Eileen,
      Now that is funny!!! You were not only a rebellious child but also obedient.
      Interesting how several of us stepped into our own at the age of 4. Must be the magic year.

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  14. Was the first child. My parents were older and had kind of given up hope but in the next five years I was joined by two brothers and a sister. I may have actually been your mom's lost daughter on the surface. Perhaps I spent so much time trying to be perfect that I didn't learn how to make good decisions for myself.

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    1. Olga,
      That is funny. I wish my mom were alive to learn that her actual daughter turned out so well:))

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  15. Fascinating story. Thanks for sharing, Patti...:)

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    1. TB,
      Thanks, it was fun to go back in time.

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  16. I was the youngest of 5 girls (all born in less than 8 years) so my parents were so tired by then that I got away with everything!

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  17. Ginnie,
    Wow, I sure can understand your parents fatigue.
    Being the only girl, I was under the microscope.

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  18. I was very quiet and mischievous as a child,or so I'm told. Some say I've carried that into adulthood.

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  19. I was a shadow of a child compared to you, Patti! I loved words and alternately spied on adults to hear what they were saying and hid with my books (I could read by about age 5). My Mom was outgoing and never read - go figure.

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