“The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.” ~Erma Bombeck
If I ever write a book about my family it will be called either The Brady Bunch Gone Bad
or Cracks In My Rose-Colored Glasses
When my parents married, my dad already had three children and my mom already had two. When they married they had two six-year-olds, one five-year-old and two four-year-olds. I came along in 1969, quite by accident, when the youngest were seven years old.
I idolized my older pack of siblings even though I survived numerous hazardous experiences while in their “care”, such as being fed a poisonous concoction of mushroom and various plants from the yard in my playpen (I had my stomach pumped at the hospital), being served Boones Strawberry Hill (screw-cap) liquor at the ripe age of 4-years-old (so much that I vomited), being dragged along on wild car rides with non-licensed under-age drivers or at the age of ten being part of a rip-roaring, multi-person, fist fight at an outdoor wedding.
For a good portion of my life I really did wear rose-colored glasses and only focused on the good stuff. While that was a rather positive and nice place to reside it wasn’t completely honest or real. When I became a mom myself four years ago, suddenly I found myself looking at things with new eyes, and in essence, I began to develop cracks in my rose-colored glasses. I met with two different therapists for about two years and during that time I experienced some powerful self-exploration and contemplation of my childhood and my life. I also began to process some deep residual anger that had been stuffed for many years.
Today, when I think about the possibility of someone serving my little 4-year-old twin daughters some cheap Strawberry Boones liquor the mama bear in me still begins to growl a bit. I would never want my daughters to experience some of the things I did when I was just a little girl and I know that those early experiences have molded some of my protective ways, and possibly over-protective ways, into my very being.
Yet I have been finding my way back to having a sense of humor about my childhood, my family and some of the truly crazy and even horrendous things I have experienced in my lifetime. Being able to look at one’s life experiences as adventures, perhaps even grand adventures in some cases, or as great material for stories or a wild memoir, allows one to make peace with the past.
If you were going to write a book about your family what would it be titled? Do you have a close family? Do you come from a large or small family? Any significant memories or stories? Have you read any good books about families?
A family memoir I really enjoyed reading and would recommend is called The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Here is a short video of Jeannette talking about the book and her mom.