Ari just turned three, in December. By the time I was three, my parents had three kids (me, 3, Ben, 1, and Joe, newborn). I can’t imagine having three children all Ari’s age or younger! I think about all the quality time I have with Ari, and it makes me so happy that I can do that. By the time Ruth was the age I am currently, they had seven kids (see the photo on the right).
Today, Ari and I were snuggling in bed and she told me about a dream she had; she was in the mall, looking for Lambie, and she couldn’t find Scottie or I. “It was da wowst feewing I evoh had!” she said. I felt bad she had such a scary dream, but it felt good that she told me. I adored Dennis when I was a small child, but I don’t ever remember feeling like I could speak freely with him. My earliest memory of him is the first time he shaved his beard off while I was alive, and he scared the hell out of me…then tried to make me hug him, and when I didn’t want to (he looked like a stranger!), he spanked me because I didn’t obey him.
I get to spend a lot of time getting to know my daughter. I learn from her (something my parents thought absurd…learn from your kids?! What?!) and she learns from me. I know what her favorite colors are (and sometimes they change on a daily basis!), her favorite characters, her favorite toys, her favorite foods. When I was 18, Dennis claimed to know me, “better than you know yourself”, but he didn’t. They never took the time to get to know us kids, because they were too busy trying to force us into their mold. They didn’t believe their children’s (even when we were adults) thoughts, feelings, or opinions mattered.
They missed out on all the wonderful times they could have had with their children…all the original thoughts and ideas and opinions children have. They missed out on getting to know us individually…and they can never get those wasted moments back.