Did you have a fun childhood? You know, the kind where every day seemed like Christmas or the Fourth of July? Did your parents make you feel like you were the best kid who ever lived and that one day you were going to change the world, write the great American novel, or at least cure cancer? Were you always stylishly dressed, well rested, completely satisfied and deliriously happy? Me too! No, just kidding.
My childhood was often difficult. I felt lonely and unloved much of the time. However, I had many good times, too. I had food, clothing and shelter. I had pets. I got to name them. I had a sister (I didn’t get to name her; she came first). I remember that when I was very young, my mom had this funny little Betty Crocker booklet of different birthday cake shapes. Each year she would get it out and have me choose a cake for my birthday party (I mostly remember the butterfly and the rabbit). She would elaborately decorate the cakes with coconut (yum), licorice (yuck) and gum drops (oh, yeah). My mom would let me pick where ever I wanted to go and whatever I wanted to do for my birthday, anything from spending the day at the zoo to dining at the fancy revolving rooftop restaurant downtown.
When my mom took me to the hospital at age six to have eye surgery, she said not to worry, because I had the same eye doctor as the Washington Redskins. So, I didn’t worry. The first time I went to work with my mom (she was a secretary), I was thrilled to discover a paint-by-number that I had made hanging on the wall by her desk. My mom would always buy me a new Nancy Drew Mystery when I finished the last one (I know, I’m old). My mom would let me play dress up with the cat (forgive me dear Smokey, forgive me). My mom even developed the blank roll of film I produced with my pin hole camera (the guy at the Photo Hut said that perhaps I had made the pin hole too big). One magical year my mom bought me a twirling baton for Christmas and a Star Wars X-wing Fighter for my birthday.
Sometime during my eighth year, my mom announced that, since I had taken the initiative, I could buy anything I wanted with the green stamps I had saved up from our grocery shopping at Winn Dixie. For my first purchase I chose Sister Sledge’s record, “We Are Family,” and proceeded to play it morning, noon and night for months on end. Around the time I was nine, my mom proclaimed me an artist, told everyone who would listen that I was one, and from then on gave me art supplies whenever she could afford them. My mom also rented me a violin, and got lessons for me at my request. Carrying my violin in its case, she would walk to the music shop in downtown Atlanta on her lunch break (she didn’t have a car and rode the bus to work), whenever my violin needed repairs. Unfortunately, by all accounts, I was terrible at playing the violin.
My mom worked three jobs for most of the time that my sister and I were in high school. She worked seven days a week doing jobs she didn’t exactly love, so that we could have what we needed. When I announced that I had been accepted as an art major to the University of Georgia, she was not at all surprised (mission accomplished). My mom, Sheila Wyatt, was always tired, and she never had new clothes or went out dancing. I wish I could say that she was perfect and that everything was golden. It didn’t happen that way. There are lots of other stories that I’ve chosen to leave out. I just wanted to acknowledge some of the good times in honor of Mother’s Day. My mom was a super smart lady and incredibly funny. She helped make me who I am today. Thanks mom. Happy Mother’s Day. Rest in Peace. I love you. –Kim
If Mother’s Day finds you trying to sort through the things that happened during your childhood and you need some help, give us a call. At Life Skills Resource Group in Orlando our Counselors and Life Coaches are here to guide you through that process.