I have been doing a little more of my cleaning. Today Iíve been moving some furniture around, dusting, sweeping and vacuuming. So, there wasnít much discovering of things. But the other day I found some pictures.
There are a couple of old black and whites. Iím young, maybe a year and a half old. In one, I am sitting between my parents in a yard. In the other, I am sitting between my grandparents in the same yard. Itís kind of hard to see, the pictures arenít close ups of our faces. So I donít know if I was smiling or not.
Then there is one where Iím sitting on my motherís lap. We are feeding ducks at the edge of a pond. I must have been about 2 years old. Neither of us are looking at the camera. Then there is one where I am sitting with my mother on one end of a teeter totter. I look to be about 4 years old. No looking at the camera there, either. Then there is the last one.
It is me, standing, looking at the camera. I have a short sundress on, sneakers and socks, and a hat. Iím kind of smiling, but more like Iím just looking at whoever took the picture. It must have been taken the same day as the one on the teeter totter. Iím wearing the same clothing.
It hit me that in all of those pictures, I look comfortable. Happy? Most likely. But I donít remember. I donít remember much of my life before I was 10. But I can remember the time just before and then after my mother molested me. Just before, I was happy. After, I changed to a depressed, withdrawn child. So I assume that in those pictures, and in my life before I was 10, that I was a fairly happy, normal child.
I have often wondered what my life was like in my early years, before I was 10. I have little recollection of it. Just a couple of vague memories. Sitting in the driveway on a hot day with my little brother, the middle child. He is profoundly retarded and autistic. My parents kept him home as long as they could manage. But he has lived most of his life either in an institution, when he was younger, and then several different homes for people like him.
Another time, when my cousin and I were looking for something to eat. We had ice cream cones and oreo cookies, but no ice cream. So we each took 2 cookies and set them on top of the cones. Weird, huh. But we enjoyed them.
Honestly, those are the only real memories I have of my early days. There have been times over the years where Iíve tried to remember something, anything else. But Iíve always failed. I donít know why that is.
Today brought that home for me, made it really seem real. When A and I were in the car, we got to talking. Somehow, we got around to talking about the 7 years we were in Colorado. From when she was two and a half to when she was nine years old. Soon our conversation got to talking about the elementary school she attended.
I loved that school. I was so glad she went there. All of the staff, the principal and the teachers were very child-oriented. It was a very positive place for her to get her first taste of being away from me, because she never went to preschool or day care.
It amazed me, as we talked, how many memories she has of her school days there. Of school, the area, our apartment, our friends. Once she started talking, she went on and on. We laughed about some of her memories, and remembered some of them with a little longing to be back there. I believe our time in Colorado was one of her happiest times in her life.
It puzzles me, though. For me, the memories arenít there, not until after my mother molested me. For her, she remembers a good amount of the good times, as well as some of the bad times sheís been through. I almost think sheís lucky to have all of those memories, the good ones. She can draw from them at any point in her future, and maybe they will shape how she raises her own children.
For me, Iím stuck with this past that Iíd rather not remember, because my life after my mother molested me was lonely and depressing.
But I donít ever expect to know why I remember my past like I do. It seems so selective.
Even though I canít remember most of the good in my past, it felt good to reminisce with her and enjoy some of the good memories of hers.