At seven years old, I wanted to help people.
I imagined that “helping people” meant becoming a doctor.
Then one day, I heard some kids swearing and yelling at each other on the street. I asked my mom, “Why do they act that way?”
She said, “It’s probably because that’s what they hear at home.“
As she shared how the experiences we have as children shape our character, I realized many people walking around need more than just physical help. They need work on their emotional health, too.
I considered maybe I should become a Psychologist, instead of a doctor.
Then I got the idea: They wouldn’t need to fix up all the broken people, if they would just start them out right in the FIRST place!
To my young mind, being a good mother became the best way to change the world for the better.
At seven years old, dolls were not enough. I wanted a REAL baby to care for. But how was I to get one? I was too little to have one myself.
Gazing up at the sky that night, a shooting star raced across the sky. This was my big chance! I closed my eyes and wished for a baby brother.
A few months later, I noticed my mother’s tummy looking a little bigger, so I asked her, “Mom, are you getting fat?”
And she said, sadly, “No – I’m afraid I might be pregnant”.
“YAY!” I shouted, “A baby!”
But she didn’t smile, and added, “Well… Your father isn’t very happy about it. He wants me to get an abortion.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“That’s where they take the baby out.”
Horrified, I cried, “NO, Momma, NO! Don’t DO that! I’ll help you take care of the baby! I’ll change diapers – I’ll wake up in the middle of the night – ANYTHING – Just don’t take the baby away!“
After a few minutes of me pleading, she finally assured me that she wouldn’t get rid of the baby. She told me that though she wanted to please my Poppa, it was illegal, [back in 1956] and she didn’t want to do anything against the law.
Then, on the verge of tears, she blurted out, that my father hadn’t wanted me, or my sister, EITHER – because the hospital bill would be $350 – and that was a lot of money back then.
Wait a minute…
MY DAD WANTED ME TO BE AN ABORTION, TOO?
Those words fell like a knife deep into my heart. It was a terrible thing to tell a child, but my mom must have been in great distress to say it.
My father never actually acted as though he’d wished we hadn’t been born – but the thought of it sent my world reeling.
I adored my father – and when he’d hug me, it felt like heaven in his arms.
But from that moment on, I resolved to never need anything from him, or to be a burden to anyone. After all, I reasoned… people could kill you if they didn’t want you around, so I’d better be useful. I became the ‘always ready to help’, kind of kid, figuring if I was indispensable, they wouldn’t want to get rid of me.
And even after I grew up, if Poppa would ask if I needed anything, I would thank him – but politely refuse, because deep down inside, I still felt I would be a burden if I accepted.
My twig had been bent.
When my little brother was born, I kept my promise and did all I could to help my mother – by feeding, cleaning and watching him – even when I was tired, or wanted to do something else.
I’d tell myself, “Real mothers have to do this kind of stuff, so I’d better get used to it.”
I determined to make it my job to teach him everything I knew, though I was only 8 years old. And that little boy soaked it up! He became SUPER SMART! He was always inventing things and grew up to become an engineer – like my dad.
PLUS – my brother became closer to my father than ANY of the other kids in the family. My dad grew up, too, and finally realized his kids were some of the best things that ever happened to him.
And ME? I went on to be an artist, like my mom. And a mother – of seven children. After all, I’d had lots of practice already!
It was a long road to where I could finally ask for help from others, though.
It was when my kids came along that I learned how precious I was as a baby – and worth all the work.
Seeing how much I loved them made me realize I was worth loving.
I learned that there is always help available if you need it.
All you have to do is SEEK, ASK, and KNOCK.
The answers are there when you need them.
The present is the only way to the future.
And what a GIFT it IS.
By the way. . .
Make sure you take advantage of all the free resources I have available on GoMommyGO®:
2 – FREE Illustrated Behavior charts on GoMommyGO (the 8 1/2 X 11 charts you download, customize and print up yourself)
The charts above are FREE, but if you’d like to support my work please feel free to make a donation. If you do, you can download 100 BEHAVIOR CARDS that help you get Organized! I wish I’d had these cards when MY kids were little! I didn’t have a printer back then, and had to draw each one by hand.