Who Can Relate?

As a child you want to be creative, carefree, without rules. Play, have fun, and do what ever pleases you in the moment. At some point, life steps in an creates all these rules you must follow. Some are easy, most don’t make sense. Some children want to be grown ups and can’t wait for their status to change. They want to be seen and heard. Their words mattered and they felt like they were being silenced and the only way to break free was to act mature. Like an adult. Little do they realize it’s the child’s innocence that is the truth and everything thing else is a lie. 

Some children do not get a choice in the matter. Their parents, family, or society decided for them when they felt it was best for them to grow up. 

Why can’t a child be a child? Why must they choose otherwise. Do you remember when you lost your childhood innocence? I do. Not the exact date, or age, but the exact moment my childhood was stripped away from me.

I was too young to be left home alone, but sometimes I was. I didn’t know that was not normal. It was part of my life and I didn’t know life outside of my family bubble to compare norm. 

What is norm you say? Well there is no real norm. Everyone has their own sense of norm and own sense of reason, but to compare, other children my age were not spending nights alone at this age. At least not many, so I thought, but some families believe what goes on in this house stays in this house, so I’m sure my statement is far from accurate. 

My house was smoke and mirrors. I lived a life of Illusion. What we experienced was dismissed. Like it never happened the way we remember. Like our minds were always faulty. So my reality had always been faulty. 

I did not know that this day was the day I lost my childhood innocence. It is only now that I realize.

My mom came home drunk, like usual. This was my norm. Her and her spouse would fight and argue. Again, completely my norm. How was this night different? How is it that it was this night my life forever changed? 

My mother was in the bathroom crying hysterically and throwing up. I climbed out of my bed and went to check on her. She was fairly limp, draped over the toilet in between dry heaving and vomiting. I walked over to her and she started another round of vomiting, so I pulled her hair back to keep her clean. As I did this, she turned to me and pulled on my clothes. She was pulling on them as if she was drowning and clung on to anything she could as a life preserver. I just so happened to be her preserver that evening. As she pulled at me, she repeated over and over that if it weren’t for me she would be dead. In that moment, our roles switched forever and I was bound to her as her caretaker. She uttered, “I would be dead if it weren’t for you. I would be in a mental hospital, I would have killed myself by now.”

That is a lot of to put on such a young child. But since that day, I cared for my mom every day until I had my own children. I slowly started releasing myself from her bondage. The more I let go, the more I realized that life is an illusion. None of this is real. It is what ever we tell ourselves it is. 

Did my mom say those words exactly, probably not, but that is how I remember them. What is real is the feeling it left; the feelings that are imprinted on our soul in that moment without even knowing. That feeling was burden. Back then, I thought it was love. I loved my mom, therefore, I needed to care for her and protect her. That was all an illusion. Today I know that was a burden that I should have never had to bear. 

We can rewrite our history, by changing the feeling behind it; removing its imprint and replacing it with love. Not love for my mother, rather, love for myself because she was unable to love herself, and in turn, she could only love me to the extent she loved herself. So each day as I move forward, I take time to love myself a little more. Each day that love grows, and I am able to love my lost childhood and it’s innocence. I let go of my chains and now I’m experiencing freedom.

~Kathleen Marie

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