So many stories are running through my head this morning. I think I had a bad dream about my parents last night, so I'm feeling pretty down. The stories are battling for dominance. Which one should I tell this morning? Newspapers? Letter? Birthday? Grades? Graduation? Plays?
I'll just go with newspapers.
On weekdays, I didn't see my parents in the mornings before school. They would both be in their bedroom (my parents designed and had built the house I lived in from ages 10 to 18 and their ensuite bedroom was on one end of the house whilst our bedrooms were on the exact opposite end separated by two lounges, two hallways, and a kitchen) getting ready for work after downing a pot of coffee and reading the morning newspaper. On weekends, they would usually be mid-pot and mid-newspaper when I awoke, and I would stumble into their lounge to say good morning, procure the comics, and generally try to be part of a family.
On a weekly basis it was always the same and never failed to leave me feeling sad and awkward. I would walk into the lounge and say "good morning." I'm assuming they would respond with a "good morning" though I don't quite remember. If they - or one or the other - did, it was with a brief movement of the newspaper from the face but my memory is of being met with a solid wall of raised newspaper that didn't move. I would ask for the comics (god forbid me disturbing their precious newspaper to get it myself) and my stepmother would get them for me. I would lie on the floor in the same room and read them - again with no conversation from anyone. Finally, I would either leave the room filled with the same wall and the same silence or be left sitting there after they got up without a word and started their day of laundry or nail painting or bill writing or who knows what followed by lunch and sports on TV and a nap and more of who knows what.
Every day with Elliot, I stop whatever I'm doing and look her in the eye and smile and beam my good morning and give her a huge hug and kisses (if she'll let me) and ask her how she slept and whether she had any dreams and talk about what's going on for the day. On weekdays, she eats her breakfast in front of the TV and gets ready (mostly by herself) whilst I prepare lunches before we leave for nursery and work. On Wednesdays and weekends, I always involve her in plans for the day and nearly always make one or two plans just for her, things she enjoys doing and that we can do together.
I don't remember much from my childhood, but, from what I do remember (especially once my brother was older and never at home), I spent my weekends by myself listening to music, reading (a lot), throwing a basketball at the lightpost in front of the house or twirling the baton outside, or playing board games by myself in my bedroom. I was even alone at meals once my brother was out of the picture. We ate the same food at the same time, but my parents ate in front of the TV in their lounge while I sat by myself at the table in the dining area. Then I silently washed the dishes and retreated to my bedroom without any interaction or conversation once again. For years.
I guess that's probably how I ended up at age 15 having an affair with/being successfully preyed on by the 33-year-old married neighbor across the street. He was all too happy to give me attention, and he actually smiled when he would see me.