Life and Lemons

Doodlebug

When I was little I went to day care.  My day care provider had a nickname for me that she still calls me to this very day, “Doodlebug.”  Can you tell where I got my “Darcy’sDoodles” from now?  I just made it more adult-like is all.  Any way, I’m not sure of the exact reason why she called me doodlebug.  Maybe I was a doodler?  Maybe I had written and doodled on my parents walls, or other various things around the house that she had derived at this nickname for me, and may be the very reason my own children have doodled murals on my walls; they inherited that trait from me!?  Either way, her day care  is a place I can recall some of my earliest memories as a child.

Those were happy times, better days, innocent days.  She had a trampoline in her back yard that was buried, level with the ground and was surrounded by a swing set and was basically a giant sandpit as well. She had a golden retriever named Sunny and I literally can’t recall a snowy day I had spent there (even though I know for a fact there was, I just know that I was so happy and “sunny” there that that’s probably all my brain wants me to remember).

I remember my best friend at day care too.  She was younger than me but I remember how much fun we had together even though she threw up under the lunch table as we were playing blocks.  I also remember myself throwing up on her kitchen play set just as I had opened the oven door.  I remember the endless legos and somedays, when we had separation anxiety from our parents or were naughty, we’d spend some time in her actual living room (her day care room, which was fairly large, was in a separate part of her home just through the dining room) either sitting on the couch (naughty), or playing on her portable, handheld Nintendo playing Tetris while she sat and read books.  I also recall her ceiling.  Yes, you read that right, her ceiling.  She had a much fancier home than my parent’s doublewide trailer.  And she had popcorn ceiling, the glitter kind, which was fun to stare at because I’d imagine them as stars!  She was so much fun!  And I thought it was the coolest thing if we’d see her in town on a shopping trip (because I thought no town was bigger than my 2,000 population hometown – haha!).  Those were definitely the days I only hope my children are experiencing in a similar way.

My parents weren’t popular by any means even though our last name was something quite cool, “Love.”  Seriously, I should have made my husbands change their names!  But we had a pretty happy home.  My sister and I sure as hell didn’t get along, but our parents were very loving and nurturing.  My dad often had jobs away from home when his career with the county ended after a work accident.  That is really the only traumatic times I can recall.  He was hurt pretty badly and has struggled even to this very day with feeling in the arm (shoulder and neck really) that was injured.  We lived on my mom’s income (she’s still a hairdresser) for a while until workman’s comp kicked in but even then it wasn’t great (but I didn’t really know that it wasn’t).  We spent nights together watching my mom’s favorite TV shows, “Deep Space Nine,” and “Startrek.”  They played card games and board games with us.  We went to church damn near every Sunday (still by far my favorite church by the way).  We were average Americans for sure.

My parents were always supportive of our talents.  My sister was quite the artist (still is!).  I was the singer/musician of the family.  I picked up the piano when my sister started lessons (because I wanted to be like her) and as much as I hate to say this because of how much animosity it created between my sister and myself for YEARS, I surpassed her playing rather quickly.  And after that when I was in band I played any instrument I wished to learn!  I continued these talents through out my first journey into college as well.  My relationship with my sister is something that will most likely come to light later, but for now you should know we get along just fine these days.

I really did have a good childhood.  I mean, I didn’t always pick the greatest of friends (I was a nerd who wanted to be accepted by the “popular” girls). I did things at times that I’m not proud of to my closest group of friends just to impress when the popular girls showed interest in myself.  But I also had that one friend (you know, the oner-upper) who did those same things (where do you think I got those awful ideas from) to our group of friends because she wanted the same thing, to be accepted.  We eventually parted ways, mostly because she moved a town over, but nonetheless I had realized eventually she wasn’t any good for me.  I believe this was in middle school and towards the end of our days at middle school to which I believe, once our initial hormones pass, we begin to see things differently and realize how we could have better presented ourselves.  She was a bad influence.

High school was a little better.  By then, I was fluent in gossip and boys.  I had my first boyfriend (my husband now) at the very beginning of our freshman year.  He lived in a different town too so at least he didn’t have to be subjected to the rumors about me (they never were that terrible until my last year in high school).  One of my friends actually got to hang out with us at prom because Daniel’s (my boyfriend then and husband now) brother needed a date for their prom.  It was such a fun night in his Uncle’s Lebaron convertible.  Daniel and I did eventually part ways shortly after a church mission trip we were involved in.  It wasn’t a big deal.  We just naturally went in different directions.  One of the easiest break ups I’ve ever had!

By the time I hit my senior year, I was an even bigger nerd.  I say this because I took a lot of AP classes, I was in quite a few extra curricular activities and went on to graduate with honors and scholarships that paid for almost my entire first year of college.  My boyfriend at the time drove a lifted Ford truck (that’s what you drive in the country states because 4 wheel drive is almost a necessity) that was always too loud for city ordinances and had too dark of tinted windows.  Poor guy was always getting pulled over.  And we broke up shortly after I got to college because the distance was not ideal for him.

I remember my graduation like yesterday.  I was so incredibly proud of myself, and honestly, it was because I wanted to gloat in my sister’s face that I could do better than she did.  And that bit me in the ass at my reception when she came (late) just to tell me I’d fail and fail hard, I’d fuck up and never amount to anything.  And how true those words rang in my head for years when my ex husband happened.  I will explain that later.

As you can tell, my sister and I had quite a bit of animosity towards each other for a good portion of our lives.  I’m not entirely sure why it was the way it was between us because our parents were very kind and giving, and I was naive to behaviors, or really the explanation as to why people behave the way they do when you think you’ve done nothing too detrimental to them for them to react in such ways.  I don’t want to dog on her, she really has always been an inspiration to me.  It is the negativity between herself and myself that has helped me to deal with those nay-sayer folks who enjoy driving you down the rabbit hole.

So, I remember when my sister got her license.  She didn’t have to drive me to school because my school was just down the street from our house.  She didn’t even really have to babysit me at this point because I was old enough to watch myself unless I was grounded.  But what I do know that created some animosity was that a lot of times when I was little and got scared in the night and my parents wouldn’t let me sleep with them, I’d go crawl in her big bed.  That always made her a bit upset with me.  I also recall getting into her things to the point she had to put a lock on her door so I wouldn’t steal her stuff all the time.  I did have a problem with stealing her stuff.  I always put it back, but not always in the shape I had stolen it in.  There were numerous times I would take her diary too.  And my no filter mouth would get her in to trouble.  I’d repeat things she had said in her diary to my parents.  Yeah, I can’t say that I was an awesome sister.  I was a brat when I did these things, but I just wanted to be like her.  She dressed cool, she acted cool, she was fairly popular I’d say (she might say otherwise).  But when she got that license and a job, I hardly ever saw her and it wasn’t just me that thought that.

My sister was rebellious.  She was also wise beyond her years because she figured out how to get advances on her paychecks!  I was old enough at that point to understand what that meant.  She also wrecked a few cars too.  We were never sure if it was drinking and driving that caused these things or if it was just reckless driving.  But one thing that was one hundred percent positive, was that she was drinking and smoking.  She didn’t come home at curfew most nights.  She’d miss school.  I was helping her clean her room when my dad was home between jobs and I moved her trash can and it was full of a liquid that resembled a colored water, but smelled of some kind of peaches (turns out that was her alcohol puke).

During this peak phase of being a rebellious teen, I remember how terribly this affected my mom.  With my dad away on jobs, my mom was left to raise us basically and my sister didn’t exactly have regards for my parents, especially my mom.  I remember the pj’s I wore (I wore them often) on the nights we’d go out looking for her.  I remember being woken up by my mom’s shaky voice trying to find my sister via telephone but to no avail.  That always made me anxious or sad.  Yes, my mom was a crier, but I knew how much she loved my sister, how worried she was that we’d get a phone call from the hospital saying she had been in an accident and didn’t live to see another day.  And as most parents, we think our younger children are oblivious to the reasons they are sad or depressed.  But I’ve been there and I know for certain just how intuitive kids are because I was one.

Now, I’ve always been a person who likes sleep and I wake up more often than not on the wrong side of the bed.  I hated being woken up from a nice slumber when I was a kid too.  But those nights my mom spent utterly worried about my sister were nights I didn’t argue, didn’t want to make her feel worse so I got up and did as I was told.  We’d drive for a few hours, but sometimes if we couldn’t find my sister and came home empty handed, I’d stay up and listen to my mom cry herself to sleep.  Most of the time my sister would sneak back in the house and sleep in in the morning while my mom got up at our usual time and got ready for work, or for the day and got me up to get ready for school.

During those times, the times of my mom sobbing, scared and afraid for her baby girl, I gained an intuition like you wouldn’t believe.  And yes, because I too needed to be a little rebellious as a teen myself, I used her emotions to my advantage and often played the goody-two-shoes card.  It wasn’t often I did that because I really didn’t want to hurt my mom, but I did nonetheless.  I, otherwise and more so, tried to learn from my sister’s mistakes.  To her and because she, at this point in my life, was away at college could only see my life as a spoiled brat rather than opening her eyes and mind to realize I had learned from her mistakes. I lived through the pain of the unknown whereabouts of her with my mom because I was mom’s only companion at the time.  I knew better than to treat my mom in such a way that made her feel complete distress.  Don’t worry, my sister and I eventually got over ourselves and have been great friends for quite some time now.

Yet also during her rebellious phase, my sister hung out with people much older than herself; hence the alcohol use.  These people had kids and pets.  My sister would babysit on a rare occasion, but for one friend in particular she would dog sit.  And during one of these times, I remember my sister getting all fancy and dolled up, obviously not for work because I knew better, but she gave me that excuse any way.  Well, she was dog sitting and had the dog chained up in our garage so the dog wouldn’t be in the heat of the summer days we had at the time.  She left her job up to me and gave me the key to the lock on the chains.  I was to walk the dog shortly after lunch.  It’s what I did for her.  But being the age I was, I also neglected my chores.  So when I realized that while walking the dog, and realizing the time I walked the dog home, locked her back up, and threw the key on the floor through the back door of the house and went and did my chores, forgetting where I threw the key.

When my sister finally got home and needed to check on the dog, she went to get the key assuming I had put it back.  Well, I hadn’t.  And as always, my sister’s first reaction to anything dealing with me was rage.  This time seemed so much worse than normal that I was actually scared.  We had had a wrestling match in the living room.  I went to call my mom at work to see if she could talk my sister down, but my sister was already threatening me and because I was scared I threw the phone receiver at her.  I don’t know where it hit her because I was running to my mom’s room at this point to use the other phone and to be able to lock a door to keep my sister away, but my sister’s rage prevailed and she kicked the door in.  I was on the phone with my mom when she kicked the door in and proceeded to yank the phone base out of the wall.  Even after I had kids of my own my mom’s little box connected to the wall was broken.

Any way, I don’t remember everything to the “t” of what happened after that point.  She will tell you I chased her with a kitchen knife, but what I thought I remembered was running out of my mom’s room and out of the front door while she chased me and I came back in the house through the back door and locked it and the front door.  I locked her out of the house.  This was when I discovered how she would sneak out at night because she crawled in through her window.  That much I do know happened.  I really don’t remember chasing her with a kitchen knife.  I do remember how scared I was of her at the time so it possibly could have happened in defense, I just don’t know so I usually just leave that out.  With all of her threats, I also remember that when she crawled through her window, I left the house and rode my bike to my mom’s shop.  When I got to the beauty shop, my mom was on the phone with my sister who I could hear yelling through the phone.

We wound up finding the key that evening.

Now, please don’t take my relationship with my sister in our past as something that has held true for the rest of our lives.  She may have behaved the way she did.  She may seem like she wasn’t a good person, but please remember, there’s two sides to every story.  I can’t speak for her, I can only speak my truth about the situation.  And she became one of my best friends when I went through a very awful time, one of the worst times and she didn’t let me down.  She was there for me in every way she could be.  She bent over backwards for me to which when I get to that part of my life, you will know that we eventually got better at being sisters and friends.  This relationship, however, in our past is a very pivotal one for me.  She is one of the influences in my life that while it wasn’t great, has had a great outcome.  It proves the obstacles we faced (I don’t know a lot of hers back then because she too thought I was too young and wouldn’t understand her problems.  Plus, I was a kid.  I was still playing with toys when she started seeing boys.  We are 5 years apart in age) didn’t stand a chance in the end because we both grew, changed, and eventually learned better ways at communicating.  I love her dearly and honestly wouldn’t change the things we went through.  Besides, she wasn’t the worst kid in her class.  She was mild compared to some of the kids in her class believe it or not.

So you see, in comparison to quite a few people I know (one I’m married to), I had a pretty good upbringing.  My parents weren’t rich by any means, but we were comfortable and they provided as much love as one can only experience but still unable to explain when you have children of your own.  It’s these relationships I experienced that I intend to build on as I try to help you understand who I am and why I am the way I am, as I try to unveil my life’s experiences as I have come to know them.  I want to share more of the impactful relationships I’ve had that have molded me, influenced me, and essentially created my very being.

 

 

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