Here's a story that will really make you wonder about my mother
When I was 4 years old my mother called all of us children to the kitchen. She had us all line up according to age facing her. Then, starting at the oldest, she handed each of us a cigarette. She explained, as she moved along the line of children, that she was teaching us early how bad smoking was and she was making it so we would never, ever, pick up a cigarette willingly and smoke it. After handing out the cigarettes to each of us, she went down the line again with a lighter and made each and every one of us (yes even me the 4 year old) smoke an entire cigarette each. These were my fathers cigarettes..camels with no filters. Supposedly the lack of a filter made it even worse tasting and she figured we would get sick and never smoke again.
Only her plan backfired big time!
That day I started my smoking habit! I loved the sensation it gave me, the light headedness, the relaxing sensation coursing through my brain as I sat there smoking what was supposed to taste nasty and make me puke. It was at this point that I decided my father was someone worth being near on occassion since he often would leave his cigarettes burning in the ash tray while he went to get a beer or something to eat. I would hide behind his easy chair until he got up and then I would grab that cigarette and inhale deeply, savoring the effect. By the time I was 5 1/2 I was stealing cigarettes on a regular basis, not just the ones he left smoking in the tray, but stealing whole ones out of the pack when he left them laying around and then sneaking off to the tree house to enjoy and relax. If it was winter I would go out behind the garage and pretend I was building a snow fort under the big weeping willow when in reality I was sucking on my release. By the time I was 8 I was walking the roads looking for cans and bottles for deposits money to cash in for my own packs of cigarettes...yes back then a kid could walk into the general store and buy her parents a pack of cigarettes or even beer without a hassle...only the cigarettes never quite made it to the grown-up I said they were for. By the time I was 14 years old I was on a 2 pack a day habit! I loved drinking and smoking, it made me forget the pain and suffering for awhile, on the down side I developed asthma. The doctor told me to stop smoking, but I refused until one day, after a really bad attack, the doctor took my cigarettes out of my purse, threw them into the trashcan and told me I had 2 choices....I could take those out of the trash and die or I could quit smoking and live. Something made me want to live so I quit cold turkey.
Quitting smoking is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life and I owe it all to the crazy lady who thought it would be a good plan to introduce a stressed out 4 year old to her first cigarette!
Lately when I think about my childhood I get a bunch of confused feelings. I think about the man who I had always thought was my father and I still refer to him as my father, but in reality was not my biological father. I now know that really my father was the neighbor who lived in the house behind ours...the guy who gave me the creeps! I remember looking out the bathroom window and seeing him looking toward our house and rapidly closing the curtians because I was sure he was looking at me. I remember him watching me play across the yard and feeling a bit wierd about him staring at me. I thought he was just another guy like my father, another pediphile who wanted to hurt me just like daddy and big brother #2. Now I wonder if it was really that he was a psycho like them or was he just being a distant father watching his daughter play wishing he could tell her the truth about who he was to her? Is it possible that he watched me and stared at me because he knew he was my father and not because he wanted to hurt me? Did I judge him unfairly because of the creeps who were in my life? And why didn't he do anything to help me? Did my mother really have that much influence that she could make him stay away from me and never tell me the truth? OR did he not know for sure I was his daughter and was always looking and staring to see if he could find some resemblance since he knew the timing of the affair and my birth?? I guess I'll never know the answers to my questions, but a part of me really wishes I had someone to ask. I might try asking my sister...the one who told me this mind altering news, maybe she knows if he knew or not. A part of me wants him to have known that I was his daughter and another part doesn't because if he knew I was his daughter but let me be abused the way I was....well then he's no better than anyone else in that town and he deserves the same bitterness toward him even more so than anyone else in that town. To allow your own child to be abused, beaten and raped, that is unforgivable! Like I said, it's all even more confusing than it ever was now that I know the truth...perhaps ignorance truly is bliss!
Well, that's it for this weeks edition of Thoughtful Thursday. Remember, don't lie to your kids, especially about their parentage! Let them know they were adopted, let them know who their real parents are because when they grow up and find out the truth, they will be bitter, they will hurt from your lies and their hearts will be heavier because you didn't want to admit the truth. And trust me, eventually the truth will come out because everyone has someone like my big sister who can't keep their mouths shut forever and eventually they will slip!
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