When you had parents trying to make sure you reached your full human potential, my mom was working to feed and clothe me.
Anything else was extra and unavailable for a long, long time.
Unlike you, I was not a gifted child. I was a grieving child. At 7, I grieved my parents' divorce. I grieved that I was asked who I wanted to live with and that I gave an answer. I grieved that it was right.
At 11, I grieved because my mother would not allow me to see my father anymore. There was one drunken night too many for her taste. All illegal, but she made the decision anyhow. In her mind, courts that believed Mom could raise 2 children in central NJ on $100 a month wouldn't have protected us anyway. It took years for me to see my father's family again.
I remember his voice on the answering machine pleading for us to pick up the phone. The saddest thing in the world is being a child and hearing the message, the beep, and knowing you were trapped but still evil for not answering. If I ever want to cry, it's all I need to think of.
At 12, I started grieving for my dad's life. I grieved that I had not talked to him before his death, because I was scared of what the echoes would be through out my family. I grieved that he wouldn't be there for any more of it.
I still grieve the forgetting. I've forgotten so much about him. Everyone tells me to remember the good parts... tell me what they were! Tell me what they were! No one can tell me what they were.
Can you tell me what they were?
I can't tell you. They were far more quiet than the shrieking bad. Drunken anger will always be louder than quiet explanations and reading together. Answering machine messages will always overshadow words of support. Fighting parents will block out any of the times you went on trips with your parents together.
I was not a gifted child. I was guilty, sad, and withdrawn. People could worry abstractly in non-work moments about who I'd grow up to be, but they did not have energy left after working to feed me to tell me stories about whom I could become. I've made this all up. Others have helped, but I've made this all up.
I still fear being knocked down and having to grieve more. I am still insecure. I still worry disproportionately about feeding and clothing myself. Maybe it's different now, in this "adult" world. Show me. Show me it's different?