Well, Since It Was Your Idea

My mother called me to announce she had a personal care attendant who comes for eight hours a week.

I had suggested that to her after her accident, but she was not interested. I knew from how she was during her visit here that she needed help maintaining sanitary conditions. She would start cooking and then leave things on the counter to go bad, too tired to complete the preparations. I was after her for months to get paperwork in, or have someone do the paperwork, or call for a social worker, a case worker, someone. She acted like she didn´t need one. In fact, when I gave up I did tell her, ¨Well, I guess you just don´t need one.¨ and she agreed.

I guess it had to be her idea.

Now someone else knows how she lives. I don´t have to worry anymore, and it is none of my business anymore- as my mother made clear it never was.

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How We Are Formed

Are we born perfect, to spend the rest of our lives trying to heal the wounds that this world carved into us after birth?

Are we born susceptible to wounding?

Are we at fault for being wounded, even as children, even as the disadvantaged?

Can we grow without being hurt by our parents?

I don´t know.

I keep reaching back, trying to discern what it was that made me like this.

It is so easy to just throw up my hands and say ¨There was no diagnosis for verbal high functioning autism when I was growing up¨ and just insist that I was misunderstood.

But that does not explain the extent of the misunderstanding, the wounding ramifications of it, the mental and cognitive disorders and the problems I had with comprehension and safety. That does not spare me the curse of repeating the cycle with my children, of misunderstanding them to the point of causing them pain or driving them from me. I spend a lot of time trying to make sure I am connecting with and appreciating them, instead of just working the time away. I am diligently trying NOT to go through the motions of appointments and meals and cleaning. I am paranoid about showing love. I am consciously loving them as much as I am unconsciously loving them. I am always forgetting to teach them to care for themselves, because I am so anxious to show them love by caring for them.

I want to understand what went wrong in my own life to such an extent that my own mother  and father did not want me, even as an employed teenager who followed house rules and kept a good academic average. I know many parents now, as I have been an adult now longer than I was a minor, and I don´t know any personally who have done what mine did. I know I had some difficult years in my early teens, where it was easier to leave my home and live on the street than it was for me to stay where I was feeling unloved. I did not try to make up for that, there is not much you can do to make it up, but I did change my tune and stay put at home where there was usually raw fixings in the refrigerator and I had access to medical care. I bought Christmas and birthday presents for my mother. I thought I was doing alright, with following the rules. But it was not enough. I know people my own age who live with their parents, and it seems to be an arrangement everyone is happy with. Even my own cousin does this.

My therapist has her theories, but those theories are born of my recollection, not of the facts of my childhood. I cannot trust such theories. She is too willing to forgive, too willing to remove the blame from me, she would, I often suspect, make me innocent as well as naive. I was never treated as innocent when I was a child, she must be mistaken.

I can safely blame many things in my life on my religious convictions, my personal convictions, my misplaced loyalties. But childhood things I cannot. None of those things were formed yet, when I was a child, all came later.

I am so terrified of hurting my children. I am petrified that they will reach an age, as I did, where they want to be far far away from me. I don´t want them to feel haunted, lifelong, by my actions. I want it to be transparent, my love for them. Transparent and tangible, something solid they can build on- forever. I am frantic to puzzle out the key to this, the rejection of my childhood self, so that my children never know it.