Don't judge me, man....
Apparently I was the most beautiful baby many people had ever seen. I guess it could have been my mother’s bias. My dad says everyone says that to parents about babies. He does concede, though, that I wasn’t squished and puffy like many babies. I had colic and was often sickly with chronic respiratory infections and earaches and such. As a toddler I was very curious, but seldom had opportunity to find trouble due to my mothers vigilant observation.
Growing into childhood, I was more adventurous. I wasn’t the type of kid to believe that the stove was hot just because someone told me it was hot. I would generally have to find out for myself. I didn’t get in trouble, though. I got attention. Not much of a deterrent. I was made much of and spent a lot of time with Grandma and Grandpa H.
I had a horse sometimes, but it's not like I had a horse throughout my childhood. My dad tended to do what my mom said and my mom wanted me to have a horse when I whined and nagged her enough. She always had one when she was a kid. I guess it brought back good memories for her. So they would get me a pony or horse, but inevitably I would not take care of it. They would have to take care of it. They would tell me if I didn't take care of it I wouldn't have it long. That made me feel bad, but somehow or other I never managed to do what I needed to when I needed to. Then they would get fed up and sell it. We went through this cycle many times. I think when I was a kid I had two ponies and two horses between the ages of 9 and probably 14. The first pony wasn't my fault, actually. I fell off of it into a cut cornfield and broke my arm when I was 9. Obviously I wasn't able to take care of it properly for a while, and by the time I got better it was wild enough my parents wouldn't let me try. All the others, though, were my own lack of ability to do think of and do general things that most kids could have or would have been willing to do.
This pattern is repeated over and over again in my life. I start new things and end up loosing interest. I feel guilty and bad so for a pick-me-up I start another project. Now that I've figured out the pattern I really tend not to do anything. I don't want to feel like a failure so I never start anything. I never really do anything. I guess I try to keep my compulsion to "begin something" to free, and insignificant things. This blog, for instance, feels like a new beginning. I've started probably half a dozen blogs this year with the intention of writing in them consistently. I have probably 20 journals for different things, but I seldom write in them. I wonder how long it’ll be before I forget about this blog and have one more failure added to my collection of frustration and sense of failure.
I was born to very capable parents. My dad was a high school jock. The kind of guy everyone liked. He’s still that kind of guy for the most part. He was home every night in general, but what time he got home was always an issue between him and mom. Dad was always a local truck driver. In my hometown trucking was regulated so he really made a good living for such a small town. He always had hobbies that drove mom nuts. He had poker night and spent time with friends at bars. I wouldn’t say he drank too much in general, but at times he drank too much. Mom, and her eternal search for perfection, didn’t really complain to anyone about it. Rather she tried to hide it. She was raised Methodist and her parents lived close. It wasn’t as much that she feared their judgment as it was that she feared their perception. She wanted everyone’s perception of her family to be a little idyllic. She wanted a Norman Rockwell paining of the All-American family.
As I got older, though, I got less motivated. My brother, born four years after me, always had “issues”. I believe it was a textbook case of ADD, but, there may be more to it than that. He learned how to get out of his crib early. He was into everything. He always got up in the middle of the night and roamed around. The child never slept. Of course, I always had problems sleeping. Consequently, my mother suffered from severe sleep deprivation for years. She was constantly afraid Brother would wake up in the middle of the night and accidentally set the house on fire. It was a warranted fear. Naturally, due to the bad planning gene that deeply imbedded in the faulty wiring called human nature, eighteen months after my brother came along, my sister came along.
Thank goodness, for my mother’s sake, she was a child of perfection. Not only did she not get out of bed in the middle of the night, when she woke up she didn’t cry. Mom recently told me (after saying her notorious precursor to every statement: “now don’t tell…” Laura this, but when she was a baby, I was really scared that maybe she was a little slow or something. I was so used to having Travis constantly into everything and you constantly sick and in need of attention, I had no idea that there were children who were just happy. I discussed this with Laura, the next time I talked to her. The conversation went something like this, “Har, har, har… when you were a baby, mom thought you were retarded.”… My siblings and I tend to be a little juvenile. Laura said something like, “Not as retarded as she thought you were.” And the conversation just deteriorated from there. It always does. Don’t judge us, we’ve had a hard life. What harm could it possibly do to be immature now?