I Told Him
I love my kid. He is a great kid. He is mature, well-behaved, thoughtful.
But sometimes, he is so clueless about how good he has it, and how easy his life is.
I try really hard not to pull the “my life was so much harder than yours” stuff. But how can I not, when we are sitting in the back yard, on a gorgeous Denver day, and all I am doing is cutting his hair. Like I have done most of his life, because I can’t stand the way most barbers do the standard “boy cut” and never listen to what I ask for. Where the water to wet his hair was apparently too cold and the sun was in his eyes.
So he was crying.
Literally crying because he had to sit through 15 minutes of a hair cut in the backyard on a 90 degree day because I want to make his hair look good.
I’d had it.
“Do you know what *I* was doing when I was your age?”
I went on to tell him about the night that my father was so drunk and angry that he ripped the phone off the wall and hit my mother with it.
And how, that same night, we snuck out of the back door and how me, my mom and my little sister pushed the car down the driveway to leave my dad and go live at my grandmothers.
And that my dad hurt me other times, badly, and it’s taken a lifetime to get over it.
And then I asked him if he had any questions about all that.
“Did your dad ever find you?”
Yes. But he never hurt me again.
“How much did he drink?”
You know those bottles of liquor that we pull out at parties? One of those every few days. Sometimes one every day.
“How did your dad die?” (He died when I was 11)
From cancer and sclerosis of the liver – which means his liver was hurt from all the alcohol.
And then I asked him if he was ready to finish his haircut.
Oh hon… hugs, my friend. Hugs.
Dex is almost 10, and he’s a smart kid. I think knowing is good for him, maybe not just as a “You don’t know how good you have it” but also as “Here are some more of the pieces that make your mom who she is.” Part of growing up is learning that your parents are human, with a whole lifetime of experiences of their own.
Thanks all. xo
Wink – my dad was schizophrenic too. Fun.
Oh my goodness, that hurts my heart, sweet Aimee. Hugs.
Wow, a very intense parenting moment. I think it is hard to figure out when to tell those kinds of growing-up stories, and it sounds like you grabbed the right moment to share. It is important that we share the hard things in our lives too.
I often think about whether I will tell my kids about certain pieces of my childhood, or about my first marriage. This post has helped me lean more towards yes. I hope that when/if that day comes I can remember your words. Hugs. And thanks.
What a great post, Aimee.
Wow. I think it’s great you have such an awesome kid, and that he has such an awesome mom. 🙂
What a great parenting moment! Good for you. Although so sorry you had to go through all that. xoxo
I found out—at 28—that my great-grandmother (of whom I have only the faintest recollection) had been a schizophrenic who self-medicated with an overabundance of alcohol. I really wish I’d known earlier. I don’t think it would have changed anything in my own life, but hey, they DO ask about family history of mental illness every time you fill out paperwork for a new doctor. And, well, it’s part of my family history, and I’ll carry it with me. Declan is old enough (read: wise enough) to know, to ask questions, and to carry this knowledge with him as he moves onward an upward. I think you’re a heckuva mom, co-raising a pretty rad kid. You’ll all be okay. 🙂
You are my true sister. We stand together with courage in sharing our truths. I honor and respect you. With love and triumph, Grace xo
You’re so brave to share your story with us and with Dex at age 10. Most people try not to talk about it and I think it eats them alive. Maybe it’s fear or maybe it’s because they think if they don’t talk about it those feelings will go away. I hope you feel some relief by telling him. You rock, my friend!
Love you xoxo
And tell Declan how all your friends wondered where you went and why you couldn’t say goodbye. He is a lucky little guy to have such an amazing strong mom.
I think it’s good you told him. He’s old enough and smart enough to get it.
I wish that hadn’t happened to you though. xo
So many hugs, friend. You ended the cycle!! I’m so proud of you for telling him.
I love the way you tell stories. A few words from you can pack such a powerful punch and bring back the memories. Hugs to you Aimee!
I adore you.