When the mother visited last time we talked about the childhood and some of the things that happened. In some respects I think she was checking out when we were hurt and by whom – a fairly understandable concern for a mother. What became very obvious is that huge chunks of the childhood are missing from our collective memory. This is for both good and bad incidents.
I’m quite happy with the knowledge that you don’t remember everything from your childhood. But what I really need is some good memories to hold onto. There’s no way that the childhood was all bad. I know there are some good pieces, and this was confirmed by the mother when we were talking about it. She’d ask “do you remember…” with a smile in her voice; but we couldn’t remember it. Admittedly this is the woman who had a baby photo of our cousin and tried to tell us it was us, so odds are her memory isn’t all that accurate either. But where in this head are some good memories?
Aimee is our happiest and carefree young one, but she holds almost no memories. She was purely there to be happy and appease everyone around us – she did this well. K has a smile which would break your heart, but it’s a smile born out of being scared all the time – it’s very tentative.
When the mother was talking about the good memories, it became obvious that not many of them were totally positive. I remember Nanna brushing our hair dry one time when we were staying with them in Wellington, this is the only totally positive. The rest are tinged in some way – on holiday at the Marlborough Sounds, getting out of the car and running to find the ocean… we found it by falling down a cliff. Deciding to eat raw pumpkin seeds before going on a family holiday… only to throw them all up before reaching the town limits. Being the smallest in the family so being told to go up the storm water drains to scare the eels down for the brothers to catch. These stories are often told with humorous teasing at family gatherings, but we don’t remember the events. I can see how they’re funny, but they’re not the sort of thing that you can hold onto when you’re whole body is shaking from a triggered abusive memory.
Whoever in this head has got the good memories, can they share them with me please… Could really do with some good stuff right now.