It’s so wonderful taking a stroll down memory lane. Because I was always trying to hide my true feelings of anxiety and depression, I feel as if I missed quite of bit of my kid’s childhood. Purging the paper hoard our daughter left behind, I found little pieces of paper I had written clues for Christmas Eve scavenger hunts. At the end of the hunt, they would find a bag or bar of their favorite candy. I had forgotten I did that. I had also forgotten how difficult it was to outsmart them and make the clues challenging. The three of them worked together to solve the clues.
Our oldest two kids are nerds. They have always embraced their nerdiness and never gave a second thought to what others thought of them. Our oldest son grew his hair very long–a battle we chose not to fight. We moved to Georgia before he entered 11th grade, the label he was given was stoner (or whatever a teen who uses drugs is called these days). To those who didn’t grow up with him, a young man with long hair = no brains and a user of illegal substances.
He was a Mathlete, and competed in math competitions throughout our school district. We attended one once. Let’s just say the competitions didn’t have the same atmosphere of excitement as a football or basketball game does.
Both were members of the Model United Nations, and joined the minuscule group of Young Democrats. It was hard for them to relate to most of their peers in the South, but they found ways to make it work–for the most part.
As I was placing the overwhelming pile of unwanted Model UN papers in the recycling bag, a piece of paper with a drawing on the back caught my attention. In the middle of the drawing, the words do you…care? were written in tiny letters.
Beneath the drawing, Food for Thought
If there was a grain of rice for every lie told, world famine would end. It is said that in a lifetime one person lies enough to feed thousands of people, repeatedly. Now stop. Think. Is this okay? What are you going to do about it? And don’t lie, for there will be no rice.
It made me laugh out loud. Since I was already on the floor, I suppose you could call it rolling on the floor laughing (ROFL). She doesn’t remember writing it, but to me it was all her–no doubt about it.
On the other side of the paper, were her existential thoughts. An entire page filled with questions regarding her/our purpose in this world. I wondered if it brought her as much unhappiness as the thoughts brought to our son at such an early age. In a way I felt as if I was invading her privacy. I have always respected her journals and never opened them. But this was different…it was a piece of paper among boring papers. She has assured me that she used to pretend to be more of an angsty-teen than she was.
I remember spouting off to my mom about all the pointlessness of life and injustices of the world, but I never wrote my thoughts on paper. After being grounded for an entire summer for sneaking out of the house during the night to smoke cigarettes, I recorded my activities on a calendar…in the ancient form of shorthand. I was a rebellious, self-loathing teen, I did what I wanted and hoped my parents wouldn’t find out.
I found that calendar about 10 years ago and I didn’t understand one word of it. My memory fails me and that’s probably a good thing.
I didn’t want anyone to ever come across my innermost thoughts. I am who I am and I don’t shy away from exposing myself, but even in this format I continue to keep quite a few thoughts to myself. I will most likely die with those thoughts locked in my mind–unless my husband finds it necessary to enlighten our kids with what is contained within. My sisters delighted in telling our daughter about all the rebellious things I did. My husband and I never shared our stories of rottenness with our kids, we didn’t want to give them any ideas that we would condone such behavior. You know….we matured.
Now they know.
Our youngest? A completely different book. His rookie actions to try and hide from us what he was up to were mostly thwarted. He finally understood after we took his driving privileges away that it wasn’t easy to fool two old borderline-ex-delinquents.
What a challenge.
Now I have the dilemma of what to do with several grossly thick yearbooks that are no longer wanted.