Some of you, especially those of you who have been reading my blog for any length of time will know that my childhood wasn’t quite…normal. I don’t mean this in a woe-is-me-my-life-sucked sort of way, because with the aid of a lot of smashed glassware and torn up flower beds, I’m pretty zen with the whole thing. My birth coincided with my mother’s mental health decline so I spent a lot of my young life in the role of caregiver and caretaker.
The most unexpected side effect of all of this chaos that Young Aunt Becky was my astonishment that some Things That Remain The Same. There was a movie out a couple years ago (and by couple I mean a lot longer than that) with Julia Roberts who is a serial jilter, leaving a couple different dudes at the alter.
It comes to pass that you find out she’s been morphing herself to be whatever that man wants her to be over a plate of eggs. First, she likes them over-easy, with the next guy, they’re poached, and finally scrambled. When confronted at the end, I think, she claims she doesn’t like eggs at all.
I watched that movie–really stupid if I can remember correctly–and sat there, mouth agape! It was my mother! On the big screen! Only she wasn’t changing to fit herself neatly into a jigsaw puzzle for someone else, she was doing it because that’s what she did.
One year, yellow was her favorite color. Then green. Then cobalt blue. My brother–who is 10 years my senior–remembers her favorite ice cream being butter pecan. For me, it was Jamocha Almond Fudge. She loved french fries, now she claims that she never liked them at all, despite vivid memories that I have of her filching them off my plate as a child.
Thanks to a cocktail of ECT and alcohol, her memory is shot, so she doesn’t remember key things like this.
Now, of course people change over time, and their preferences alter accordingly, but not this dramatically. Since I can recall, my favorite color has been pink, I’ve always had an illicit love-affair with diet Coke, I’ve always hated writing in blue ink, and, if given the choice, I prefer driving stick shift.
Will these always be the way of things? I don’t fucking know. I’ll be 29 in two months and these are things about me that have always just been the way of things.
Occasionally, things will pop up, things I never knew I liked. This blog, for example, would have been something I’d not have thought I’d like to do. I never was a writer (save for a butt-load of research papers), I never kept a journal, and if you’d have told me a couple years ago that I would have written a book AND gotten an agent or two, I would have expected that I had spree murdered a bunch of people and then written about it from my cell.
It was that far off my radar.
(I’ll tell you more about this in another post. o! the cruel suspense!)
Another oddity is gardening. My mother, as my brother and I both remember her (joint memories are a rarity), was a gardener. She’s no longer interested in it, but I grew up playing in the dirt and hoping that my Rich Other Family would swoop in and save me. We’d move to a castle and I’d make the servants garden for me.
My paternal grandfather was an avid horticulturist as well, so we’d spend most of the summers with him up at the Botanic Garden or in his green house. Some of my earliest memories are of the industrial sized fans that the greenhouses, which I was always transfixed by.
Now, I had a scanner (hint, hint hint, The Daver), I’d scan some pictures of me and insert them here to make my point, but you know, I’m sorely lacking in the scanner department…
Anyway, some of the best memories I have of childhood are playing in the greenhouse, the smell of fresh dirt and fertilizer in the moisture heavy air just makes my knees go weak. It’s the closest I can get to feeling safe and at home. There are tentative future plans for the installation of a greenhouse here for me, and I’m giddy just imagining it.
(why yes, I *am* an old woman!)
Last year, after my dueling miscarriages, I engaged in some post-miscarriage therapy in the form of digging out and bagging up approximately 6.2 million tons of moldy mulch from my side yard. I was preparing it for the addition of some peony bushes. Then, in a brilliant move no one could have predicted I not only got pregnant but then I fell down the stairs and hurt my ever-loving foot.
The side yard project was shelved and the weeds grew amuck (The Daver will always make sure I have top network speeds and fancy computers, but yard work is SO Not His Thing).
The peonies had to wait.
I went to the greenhouse (o! be still my heart!) this weekend, dragging The Daver away from the computer and picked up a couple of peony bushes. And a small hydrangea bush. I won’t bore you with pictures because I didn’t take them, and if I had, I’d just point out that my house has ugly yellow siding and that said siding needs a power-washing.
(I also engaged in some killing of buckthorns and snowball bushes this weekend, which, although incredibly satisfying, isn’t going to look as cool as my peonies. Because, obviously)
This year, I’m gonna reap just what I sow.
(that sounds more ominous than I intended)
What’s something you didn’t know you liked that you now adore? Or something you couldn’t have predicted being good at?