Hello and welcome to the latest exhibit in the Museum of Me Series. This month we’re showcasing what I most looked forward to about growing up. And, trigger warning, this post is a heavy one.
While for many children the dreams of being a grown up include things like staying up late, eating lots of dessert, and not having homework, for me, what I most looked forward to was a home that felt peaceful and safe.
I had a chaotic childhood fueled by alcohol abuse, financial insecurity, and mental illness. I spent a lot of time in my room, hiding from the fighting, or conversely, I spent my time trying to keep everyone happy to keep the fighting at bay. (Side note: is it any wonder I’m a people pleaser who relishes alone time and reading?) When I visited my friends I was awestruck by the happiness and lack of tension in their houses; the energy was completely different than what I felt at home. I also spent all that time away from home quietly worrying about what things would be like when I got home.
So, yeah, what I looked forward to most was having a home where things were peaceful and safe. Where I could talk about my feelings without being ridiculed, where dinners were free from tension and screaming or stony silences, where I could, quite frankly, go into the kitchen and get a snack without having to tiptoe past a grown up who might yell at me or expect me to listen to a litany of their problems. Where I didn’t have to worry about paying the mortgage and taxes and bills. A home I could walk into after being away and not have a pit in my stomach as I wondered what the mood would be like when I opened the door.
I’m happy to say that I have created that home. It took some doing on my part, some fits and starts, because you don’t grow up in that sort of atmosphere and automatically have healthy boundaries and normal reactions to stress, but with a lot of patience on the part of my husband, and some really great therapy, I’ve done it. My home is peaceful. It’s my safe haven from the world. It’s cozy and warm, mealtimes are happy, and shouting is limited to yelling at the tv during a football game.
It’s a childhood dream come true.
Yes. A safe place. Quiet. Nurturing. Loving. Where the people are happy to see each other.
All the love to you my friend. All.the.love. XOXO
I too had a tough childhood but I learned from it and try not to repeat the mistakes my parents made. It’s still painful to think about those days.
Wow! Just Wow! Congratulations to you Carole – so glad that you and Dale have created such a wonderful home. Here’s to many more peaceful years with only football yelling!
I was lucky enough to have had a relatively safe and happy childhood, so I forget that is not always the case. I’m sorry, giving childhood Carole a hug, and congratulating you for creating the home you deserve.
I’m so proud of you for growing up and out of those rotten childhood experiences. You’ve come so very far (and I know you’re still on your way, my friend) — and you’ve successfully created a safe, peaceful, haven of a home for yourself and everyone you love. All my love to you. XO
This makes so much sense when I think about how hard you’ve worked to create a cozy home. Here’s hoping each step is a step forward instead of a step away for you.
Me, too, Carole, me, too. I became a reader very early on, and it is one of the best adaptive behaviors that I learned while trying to traverse a very unpredictable and chaotic home life. I am glad that both of us have finally found ways to create the peace and acceptance we need. A fellow traveler sends you a long, warm hug and lots of encouragement to never abandon what you have learned with such great effort.
Carole, you are one of the lucky ones. You fought hard and you won. Many don’t make it out. I have a friend who’s childhood was scary. She is the only one who made it out, out of six children. The rest never got over it or followed in their Fathers footsteps.
My best friends (twins) growing up, whom I thought had the perfect life, made it out, with some scratches thou, told me stuff just recently that was going on inside their home with their step-father and things that happened to their Mother when they were with their real father would make you wonder how I didn’t know anything was wrong. I can only hope those men are now where they belong.
Life is a struggle, it is what you make of it. I so glad you fought hard and became the person you are today.
Carole, I send you a hug and congratulations for making a stable and peaceful home for you and your loved ones. My best wishes to you for the future!
Another hug sent your way and such an accomplishment- you did the hard work and clearly have a wonderful home and home life.
I’m sorry you weren’t able to have more frivolous childhood dreams, but I am also very glad that you’ve found and created the type of home you so wanted and needed.
I’m so sad you had to grow up that way but happy you have found your way to the to the life that you had dreamed of as a young girl. Much love!
Helen Mathey-Horn says
Boy can I relate. When I married and moved away I suddenly could see my parents’ dynamics I couldn’t voice when I lived in it. It also let me free myself from it. If that was how they wanted to live, it was on them not me. Then my parents divorced at one point…for 3 years and then remarried…each other. They would tell people “The divorce just didn’t work out.” I think they suddenly realized what it was in the other that they valued and got over whatever was making them angry. They still had some spats, but never like I remember from growing up. Lessons to learn from, not always easy to live through.