Glimpses into where I came from
Updated: Jun 18, 2022
Take a seat, and buckle up. Today we are going into warp speed, and traveling 17 years into the future... so hold on!!! Ignore the beeping of alarms, and the pillar of smoke to your right. That is all normal while we do a little time traveling. And - don't hold your breath! That can be dangerous as well.
Clunk, bam... boom!!
Ok - we are here. After you have unbuckled - be careful standing up, and watch your head.
Yes, I am being a little silly. But, I wanted to share with you just how silly the world is sometimes. See - things in my life have been a crazy ride. At this point, I was now a girl in my youth. I think I was around 7 or 8. I think I was in about the 3rd grade. We had just moved to Canada.
My family had moved several times growing up - because of my Dad's job, at least that is what we were always told growing up. I have thoughts that some of the moves - may not have always been because of my Dad's job as much as us attempting to get away from their past decisions. But, I will never know for sure.
There have always been little slips of stories growing up - and things that my adopted Mother would share. Mostly when my Dad was gone for work. My Dad worked out of town a lot growing up. So, I know that she was lonely. We weren't usually around family, and friends was something that was hard for her to make. She had a handful of friends that she would talk to - but with moving on average of every 2 years, it made it hard for her to develop true friends where we were living at the time.
This would leave her to share some things with us kids that maybe she should not have. One of those things was a story of a time where she was at a mall with both My older brother and myself, and she was possibly still pregnant with my little brother. We were at the mall to visit with the Easter bunny. (This was in the early 70's - so this was something that Mom's would do.) While we were in line, as an infant - I became fussy. As the story goes... she was in line with one of her friends, and their daughter, and that as they were attempting to calm me down - they were approached by a group of rough looking young men. She went on to tell me that one of the men approached her and asked to see me, explaining that his friend had just lost his daughter a few months prior. She would talk to me about how terrifying it was for her, because she felt that they would have stolen me away from her if another gentleman in line hadn't interceded and told them to go away and leave her alone. The other gentleman had seen to this group of rough looking men to be thrown out of the mall by mall security, and had been told to never return.
Of course, being so young - you idealize your parents, and want to believe everything that she said. I didn't realize that this was one of her attempts to feed me some of her versions of the truth. And to make it seem that she was my saving grace, and great protector. This was always followed up with comments like, "isn't it wonderful that I came and rescued you from being raised by a bunch of thugs?" Or, she would then go on about how I would probably be living on the streets with my strung out birth mother, if she hadn't saved me. And would then guilt me into cleaning the house to her white glove inspection - reminding me the entire time of how good I have it. And, if it wasn't up to her standards - several times... she would make a mess and make me clean it up and then redo the chore until it was done to her standards. Or - I was told that I should show my appreciation and my gratitude of having such a nice place to live, and a family that provides for me - by have a spic and span home to live in.
But, on the occasion of her being lonely - she would spend the time talking to me while she watched her daytime soap operas in the background. And she would tell me the stories of my birth parents. I never asked her where she got her information, or how she knew such things. I'm not sure if it was because she would do the same to my older brother, and she knew more about his birth parents because of him being a distant relative before the adoption was finalized. So, it just seemed to make sense that if she knew about his parents - she would know about mine. Child-like faith is a complicated thing sometimes. And this is one of those times.
Besides - if I ever did get the courage to ask, it was followed with one of two options. Either I was told to never question her, followed by being back-handed across the mouth. Or - she would yell at me that I needed to go practice the piano.
And yes... I played the piano. This was one of the "opportunities" that they offered me. The doctor that did the botched job on my eye surgery, had suggested it in order to help with my hand-eye coordination. Come to find out - I had some talent at it. So, it was something that my mother pushed on me to stick with. She would enter me into classical competitions and would hire the best piano teachers that she could afford. She was convinced that I could become a great pianist one day. And - if my heart was in it... I probably could have been. But, the more she pushed - the more I would push back. I would purposefully learn songs wrong, or would not count it out correctly. This would lead to her punishing me for not working hard enough, or not putting my all into my performances. She would make me practice for hours everyday, stating that it was for my own good. If I didn't want to, or refuse to - this would end with her either "spanking" me, or locking me either in the bathroom, or my room until I would agree to practice.
But, on days that I would practice until my fingers hurt... and she was pleased with my practice. She would reward me with stories of my birth parents. Of course, she would never realize that most of what she would tell me - is not what I would really hear. But, this is something that I have learned now as an adult is normal. But, at the time - I thought was a guilty pleasure. What I mean is, that my mother would tell me horrible stories about my birth father being a drug user, and selling drugs to kids at high-schools all in order to get into a biker gang - or that he would beat people up for initiation into the Hell's Angels. What I heard (or imagined) was that my birth father was someone that was strong and courageous and would come save me one day. Or - she would tell me about my birth mother doing drugs and living on the streets homeless with a ton of fatherless babies. What I heard - was a loving mother caring for all of her children, and traveling far and wide to find me.
This kind of occurrence, I now know is normal. As stated in the Adoption and the Stages of Development article on childwelfare.gov, "A common situation in children of this age, which you may recall from your own elementary school days, is imagining that they had been adopted or kidnapped from another set of parents who were usually better in every way than their own. These parents might have been rich, or even royalty, and they did not make you take vitamins, eat spinach, go to bed at 9 p.m., or refuse to let you watch MTV. When life at home was unpleasant, we could daydream about this “better” family to soothe our angry or sad feelings' (https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/f_stages.pdf, page 10). I highly recommend reading this pamphlet if you ever plan on adopting a child. This pamphlet has helped me to understand why I have attachment issues even now as an adult.
Now as an adult receiving therapy, I also learned of a book that I am going to recommend everyone to read! I even got it for my boss for her birthday, in hopes that it can help her to guide her adult children with finding their special someone. The book is titled Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How it Can Help You Find and Keep Love by Amir Levine. You can find it here by clicking this link. But, I must also tell you that I am an Amazon Associate, and that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
But, this book is worth every penny!
But, back to my story. I played the piano from the age of 3 - until I finally walked away from it at the age of 17. I had placed Second and Third place at a couple of classical competitions before I was 11 years old. It was at that age, that we lived in Canada, and my mother had found a piano teacher from Russia. He was extremely strict, and would punish me by making me practice scales for hours a day if I didn't perform my competition piece to perfection at my lesson. This made me hate playing the piano, and I purposely threw my last competition with him. My piece was Fur Elise by Ludwig van Beethoven. This is one piece that I still remember to this day because of the many hours I spent practicing it. But, this competition was my last - because my mother was so completely embarrassed by my performance and how I was blatantly ruining my chances in the competition - she vowed to never have me compete again. And, she held to her word. Of course - the piano teacher didn't help either. As he admonished me before my group of peers, and told me what a waste I was to music and the art of piano. But, that was minor compared to anything that my mother would tell me later.
But, my mother loved hearing me play - and insisted that I continue my lessons, as a hobby.
I do miss playing now.. and I do still love listening to classical music. Although, I prefer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian composer) to anyone else. Do you know what some of his most noted work was??? Here's a hint....
With Christmas coming, this is my ultimate favorite!! Let those sugar plums dance in your head my friends!! Merry Christmas!
Until next time.... we will continue on our journey!