Sunday, November 28, 2010

Oh, To Be a Child Again

Barb wanted to hear about some of my childhood memories. I was actually really excited to sit down and start writing this because I have so many.

My parents divorced when I was young and my mom remarried shortly afterwards to a man that had three kids of his own. All boys. So we were pretty much the Brady Bunch. My mom brought three daughters into the relationship, he brought three sons. We were all pretty close in age, too. But then there were two middle children. If you haven’t heard, middle children are pretty terrible. I know. I am one. My step brother and I would seriously cause complete chaos. We were bad. We constantly picked on our younger siblings. We would steal cigarettes and beer and run into the woods and smoke and drink (yeah, we were like twelve). There were always so many people at the house though; no one really noticed that we were gone. We got away with a lot. And since we were the meanest of the bunch, our other siblings usually listened to us and did what we told them to. Which meant they got in a lot of trouble, too. Sounds like Holy terror, right? It was. My poor mother.

We weren’t always mean, and often times we would end up mad at each other and I would go play with my sisters while he went with his brothers. When we all did get along, it was fantastic. We already had six people, so we could play football, tag, hide and seek, etc., without really having to enlist more players. All the neighborhood kids, though, would come to our house and play because, well we were awesome. We would actually go to the corn field across the street in the dark and play flashlight tag. In a huge corn field. At night. Only one child armed with a flash light. We were stupid carefree. As an adult, I’m afraid of the dark. And corn fields.

Usually for the last few weeks of the summers and sometimes during Thanksgiving, my mom would ship us girls off to our dad’s house, wherever he may have been at the time. Remember, he was in the military. Every summer was a new place, a new adventure. By the time I was 13, I had been to just about every state on the East Coast and to three countries. I’d been to Niagara Falls, Disney, Universal Studios and just about every Six Flags on the coast. Summers with dad were amazing. Since he only got to see us about once a year, he really saved up and made the trip something spectacular. My dad spoiled (ok, still does) us with money but is an awesome dad, too. I can call upon him for ANYTHING and he’d be there in a flash. He didn’t try to buy our love, because he didn’t need to, he already had it. He just wanted us to have a life he never really got to.
My mother could never afford the luxuries that my dad could, so when we got to go with Dad; it was like living an entirely different life. Just something as simple as going to a movie theater was unheard of at home. My mom couldn’t exactly pack up six kids and take them to a movie. She just didn’t have the means to do so.

So my childhood was mostly spent it two different worlds. At home, I was a barefoot kid running around in the yard with her brothers and sisters playing tag until it was too dark to see. Camping, fishing and making forts in the woods. Again, as an adult, I won’t go into the woods, because I’m afraid of what’s in there, but when I was a kid, I’d spend hours in the forest. Isn’t that strange?

When I was with dad, I was exploring cities and staying in fancy hotel rooms with room service and cable TV. I sat in the passenger seat and told him how to get us across many states with an actual map. (Yeah, I don’t know how I ever did it. Thank God for GPS.) I was watching airplanes do tricks at air shows on the Air Force base, lying in the grass in the middle of the runway while they flew directly over our heads and took off right beside us. I was swimming in heated pools and lounging in hot tubs. I was getting my hair braided on beach boardwalks while eating funnel cakes.

Two totally different adventures. Both made me who I am today and both held the greatest times of my life.


Aimee said...

I love that you guys were kinda like the Brady Bunch. very interesting

I am a middle child as well so I hear you on them being the terrible ones hahah. Middle children all tend to be pretty outgoing too and love being the center of attention. I actually never was a "bad kid" well unless you count almost burning down a field on accident... We thought having a bbq under a flamable bush was a good idea. Luckily nothing happened.

OMG flashlight tag in a dark cornfield? You guys were crazy! That would scare me.

The summers with your dad sound amazing. That is good that you were able to spend those summers with him and experience the two sides of life. :)

Thisisme said...

Sounds like a pretty good upbringing, Jumble, and, as an only child myself, I really envy you having all those brothers and sisters.

Bouncin' Barb said...

JM...Fortunately for you and your sisters, your parents both did great jobs with you. It's pretty evident here. You had the stability through the school year, and then got to move around during the summers. Great balance plus you even gained a few brothers in the mix too. That's great. So often divorces leave the kids to suffer. So glad yours was happy.

Mynx said...

Sounds absolutely brilliant that you all got on so well. And the way you were able to move between lifestyles and experience both. No wonder you are such an interesting young woman.

Jess said...

My parents divorced when I was six, and I feel kind of the same way about my upbringing. With mom it was playing in the woods and gettin' dirty, and when we were with my dad (who lives in Tennessee) it was always fun adventures because he was trying to make up for only seeing us 2 weeks a year.

becca said...

sounds like a wonderful childhood. the best of two different worlds.

Mamarazzi said...

the flashlight tag would scare the poop outta me!

lyndylou said...

I was the youngest child of 3 and then my mum married again to a man who also had 3 kids and I became the second youngest. We were, like your family, very close in age but we ran wild like barefoot kids, swimming in the river next to our house, going down the rapids, climbing trees, making dens. We were not well off but we had the best childhood ever :-)

Tress said...

@Aimee- Haha you know all the woes of being a middle child. And you are right, I do like being the center of attention :) Yeah and the flashlight tag thing was dumb. I don't know what we were thinking lol.

@Thisisme-Boyfriend is an only child, too, so I kind of get a glimpse into that life and I don't think I could handle not having my siblings.

@Barb- It really was a happy childhood. Sure, I missed my Dad a lot, but we had some great times and I wouldn't change it.

@Mynx-Awe Mynx! Thank you! That made me smile :)

@Jess-Wow, we are like the same person. I've said it from the beginning! LOL. Are you sure you aren't my long lost sister or something? LOL

@Becca-Thank you! It was pretty wonderful.

@Mamarrazzi- Yeah that was just stupid. I would be scared to death to do that now.

@Lyndyloud-That sounds amazing! When you are a child, money doesn't mean much. I really miss those days:)

steph c said...

Just reading that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Reminiscing is always fun :)

PS. I hate cornfields and the forest at night (and well, just dark) too. I blame it on Children of the Corn though ;)

Krissy said...

JM.. I am happy to say you are not alone in that "used to be fun in the woods and now I'm terrified" thing. I am petrified of snakes, so I don't even need to consider other things that could be there or in the corn fields you mentioned. Okay, I need to go think happy thoughts to get rid of the heebie-jeebie's (have no clue how to spell that... lol).