Growing up, I was convinced my parents didn’t love me. They were not much into “wildly praising” how smart I was, or how great I was, or even some of my significant childhood accomplishments. Sometimes I would get a polite nod or smile, but not much more. I don’t think my parents were much into developing my “success ego.” I don’t think my parents loved me.
At the age of 11, my mom informed us kids she would no longer do our laundry. She explained to us that white clothes should be separated from the colored clothes, and you should not wash white clothes and colored clothes in the same load. After I turned my underwear and socks pink a couple of times, I learned to wash my whites and colored clothes separately. I don’t think my parents loved me.
In middle school, my mom stopped making our lunches. She informed all of us kids the lunch stuff was in the refrigerator and the cabinet and we could make our own lunches. I learned that at 11:30 AM I was hungry, and by noon I was starving; and if I had made no lunch, I was hungry the rest of the day. I learned to make my lunches. I don’t think my parents loved me.
My parents were not much into my feelings or thoughts as a kid. I remember having to sit in a restaurant and watch my parents drink two or three cups of coffee after the meal. We would also have to sit while my mom smoked a couple of cigarettes. We were expected to sit there quietly while they talked. The conversation was never about us – how sad. I learned it’s not about me. I don’t think my parents loved me.
My parents were not big on excuses. Every time I tried to blame someone else for something happening to me, they would have none of my grand explanations. My parents demanded I take ownership of my attitudes, words, and actions. No one else was responsible for what I did. No matter how hard I tried to come up with great excuses – it didn’t matter. I learned not to make excuses when things went wrong. I don’t think my parents loved me.
When my parents went to Europe, England, the Bahamas, or on a cruise, they did not take us along. My vacations with family were camping, hiking, and canoeing in Northern Minnesota. The fabulous vacations my parents took were just for the two of them. I never got to take exotic vacations. I don’t think my parents loved me.
One January, when I was ten, we went to explore our local creek that had frozen over, which my parents had warned us not to do. As I was walking on what I thought was a frozen creek, I fell through the ice up to my neck. My brother pulled me out. The temperature was 27 degrees. A neighborhood friend ran to get my parents.
I was shocked when he returned without my parents and no car. He said my parents asked if I was hurt and out of the ice, and he told them I was not hurt and I was out of the ice. My parents told my friend to tell me to walk home the five blocks. By the time I got home, I was a walking, frozen stiff, little robot. I learned some warnings are subtle and not repeated over and over. I don’t think my parents loved me.
At all these times throughout my childhood, I thought my parents didn’t love me. But I have to admit, now, after living life as an adult, I sure learned a lot about life, resilience, and taking responsibility as I was growing up. Maybe they loved me after all, but their love was just different than what I thought it should be at the time.