Wednesday, September 15, 2010
What I might have Been
Do you ever wonder how you would have ended up had you not been abused? I suspect every abuse survivor has had such fantasies. Imagine if you had a mirror where you could see what "might have been."
My daughter is very much like me. In some ways that is good. In other ways, I am trying to influence her to be different. In her I see my love of books which is a positive. I also see my tendency toward being anxious, for which I am trying to teach her some coping skills.
This past week Munchkin came down with a stomach flu. The only person she wanted was Mommy. It was difficult to even get away from her to go to the bathroom by myself. In some ways the illness had nice results. It's hard to find time to really spend as much time as I would like snuggling with Munchkin. With illness, we couldn't go anywhere or do anything much. We spent all day napping, snuggling, watching TV, reading books and talking.
There was also a lot of time for reflection.
Of course I had the typical childhood stomach bugs, colds, chicken pox and other ailments. I do not remember much coddling or sympathy. When I was really young and sick, my mom would make a poached egg with toast dish. It was the only time she cooked that dish. It is the only concession I remember to being sick. There was no bell to ring. I learned early on how to hold my own hair back and my own trashcan. I learned how to clean myself up. I learned that being sick was not an excuse to interrupt mom's soap opera habit. You certainly never whined. Near death was the only reason an illness would require a trip to the doctor. Being sick simply meant you kept more to yourself.
At 6:30 am on a Sunday morning when I heard the pitter patter of little feet coupled with "Mommy my tummy hurts," I immediately scooted over on my bed, grabbed a trash can and wrapped my arms around Munchkin. I held her hair back and tucked it up in a ponytail when she was vomiting. I changed sheets, wiped her nose and mouth, and held her shoulders. I cleaned her up. I held her when she was sick and after. I made sure she had Gatorade, 7-up and everything else she needed. On the few times I did leave her sight, I was ready to run back in at a moment's notice if she called. I sat with her and watched hours of TV, let her nap on my shoulder and read her chapters and chapters of her favorite book.
I don't say this to toot my own horn. I can't say how I know to do this stuff. Some of it comes naturally. Some comes from what I've seen others do. Some comes from what I wish I had experienced.
I see much of myself in my daughter. It's interesting to see "myself" in a totally different environment from my childhood. In her I can catch small glimpses of what I might have been. I'm not sure yet what to do with the glimpses I'm seeing, but for right now I'm storing the information away to be sorted later.