DP Challenge – Childhood Revisited

My Mother, one of my sisters and me around 7 or 8

My Mother, one of my sisters and me around 7 or 8

Prompt:   Sure, you turned out pretty good, but is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? If you have kids, is there anything you wish were different for them?

My childhood is something I have mentioned in several of my blogs. Although I don’t have memories of the early years, there are vivid ones of the later ones.

If it were possible, I would have a father in my life to love, nurture and be my protector so that some of the years that were so stressful would instead be ones of happier times.

If he had been different and not an alcoholic and gambler and unable to share love with any of his ten children, life would have been easier not only for me but for my siblings as well. He would have shared the burden of raising them and me, with my mother. Not that she ever made us feel like we were a burden.  No, she worked and did whatever she needed to do. While my father was present in my brothers’ and sisters’ lives, he was not by the time I was born. He had become more than emotionally abusive by that time and so had been restrained from the home.

Because of the financial strain on my mother she had to work of course outside the home. In later years when I was around 10 or so she had then taken on a second job at night, coat checking at a major hotel. She would go to her day job and then several nights would go directly the other one.  I understood this was something she had to do, but even with two jobs bills would fall behind and we would have to move again, and again and in one instance being evicted, with my mother having to find a place to live the same night.

I was so often the ‘new kid’ in school, and being shy it was hard to make close friends, and it was always so awkward whenever anyone asked about my parents, to have to explain there was only my mother. Back in the 50’s it was not very ‘normal’ to have single parents. Today is quite different!

Of course there are many single parents now, because of circumstances only known to them and I’m not saying that it is not possible for those children to flourish.  I am only saying that because of the lack of any physical, financial or emotional support from my father, it was very dysfunctional for me growing up and for my siblings (9) having had to live in an environment with an alcoholic.

Having painted a somewhat bleak scenario, there was my mother who loved us with all her heart and she is the only reason that I made it through those difficult years and was truly blessed.  Oh and by the way, we were never neglected as children and we always had food and clothing and were lovingly cared for.

My (our) children were fortunate to have both parents to love and support them and to make them feel more secure as they grew into adulthood and had families of their own.

30 thoughts on “DP Challenge – Childhood Revisited

  1. My Dad became a Christian Diane, just before he died, I was 8, he also was a gambler during his life but not an Alcoholic, although he did have affairs which is how I came to be, I was overtime, well that was what he was suppose to be doing.

    I didn’t have a wonderful Mum who had great faith in God like your Mum did, even though I had three Mums, Oh Diane how very blessed you were, I would have been very honored and thought it a great privileged to have met your Mum but I must say you also are a beautiful, Loving and caring Christian woman and in the short time I have known you personally , I have felt very blessed, you have given me Joy, your a wonderful listener and encourager, and right now I need someone to tell me not to give up, Thank you.

    Christian Love in Christ Jesus – Anne

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    • Anne, look into yourself and see what other people see… a strong Christian woman who gives so much of herself. Believe that the Lord will fulfill His promise to you. I will continue to pray that you will be kept safe from the storm that surrounds you…. (all the storms)…. Diane

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  2. I can relate to your story. My dad wasn’t an alcoholic, but he was emotionally unavailable and verbally abusive. Mom was unfortunately in her own private depression hell while I was growing up. I still turned out OK. (Though I do have a sister who should be certified-so we didn’t all come out unscathed.) I think feeling loved is the most important thing to being successful in your life, especially with family. Looks like you have done equally well and should make your mother feel proud.

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  3. Your story can almost be mine, the only difference my father died at an early age because of his alcoholism and smoking. As I read the comments it was comforting somehow to realize I am not alone. Your mother did a remarkable job raising all of you. Although we have lived with it all of our lives, the pain and regret never really goes away. Thank you for sharing your story, it is helping me deal with my own past. Blessings – Patty

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  4. sounds as though there was a bit of a hard life.My Mother brought me up without my biological father and like your Mother mine also had to have two jobs. But there were 10 children in your family and that must have been hard for your Mother. I was an only child so really no comparison.
    In those days women were made of harder stuff..they had to be, there was no choice so I feel sure that she reaped the reward eventually of knowing that her children all made it through to a good and better life

    love to you

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    • You’re right she was made of ‘harder’ stuff and at the same time she was such a tender woman’. She just did what had to be done.All 10 did grow to be wonderful adults…not perfect but loving and caring. And I think she probably did get satisfaction that in spite of circumstances she did a ‘good job’…..Diane

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  5. I saw my friends comments on here 😉 My father was a workaholic but i was glad for it in a sense, he was gone a lot working overtime. when he was home, i hated the workaholic it never stopped at home either. i’m sorry you didn’t have your father in your life, i know it’s been so painful for you. i’m glad though that your mother made you feel loved! xo

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  6. Wow! Diane, your mother was an amazing person. Truly amazing. She did a fantastic job with raising her children, so many of them, and alone (because whether your father was there or not, he certainly wasn’t being a father.)
    I was just talking to a friend last night, she told me her grandmother’s story. It was very similar to your mother’s story. Large family, alcoholic, violent, absent father, the mother pretty much holding the family together and through huge hardship. And yet, like your mother, her kids were deeply loved and knew it, and grew up to be wonderful human beings who are a testimony to their mother’s love and care – much like you are.
    My friend, also, is embarking on an IVF journey. It’s her dearest wish to have a baby – after years of fighting anorexia, she’s been in recovery for a while, but time is running out for her and after dating for years, she no longer feels that she even wants to find a male partner except as a possible father and that’s not a good reason to form a relationship! She has been panicking over so many things, but one of them has been “how can I bring up a child without a father? How can I bring it into this world knowing it will be missing out on so much? How will I know I can provide for it? Be there when I’ll have to be working so much to support him or her?” etc. And she’s slowly coming round to realising that what’s most important is that her child is loved, supported, encouraged – that it’s far better to be in a loving single parent family than have two parents who are fighting or not loving or barely holding it together just for the kids sake and so on. And that friends, Aunts, Uncles – there are other people who can form extra ‘family members’ especially uncles, male friends, and grandpa for the fatherly figure.
    I’m sure she’s going to be alright.
    I’m so glad you were alright, and your mother was an amazing woman, I’ll say that again, it’s no surprise you are the kind and caring person you are. xx

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    • Thanks Fiona as always for lovely words…You’re right that sometimes having only one parent is better…My brothers and sisters had to contend with what kind of mood was ‘Pop’ going to be in when they came home from school etc. Also my sister 5 years older than me used to say he was a ‘bully’ not in the physical sense..He didn’t hit them or anything but he would for example force her to eat the fat on the meat that he knew upset her so…She used to tell me he’d say “Swally it down, swally it down” He didn’t get physical with my Mom even until shortly before I was born and he hit her but fortunately one of my sisters fiancee intervened and that was him gone…My mother never taught us to hate him though and in fact I can’t remember her saying much negative at all… It’s my siblings who related stories.

      He just should never have been a father…but then I wouldn’t be here would I ? lol Diane

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      • It’s a hard one – some people just should never have been parents – but then, if they weren’t, we wouldn’t be around.
        I’m so sorry for what your family went through. xx

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  7. Single parenting may be more common now, but it can be just as damaging.

    I can totally relate with emotionally unavailable parent/parents. I come from a long, long line of alcoholics and substance abusers. At least you had one good parent, but she worked so much, she probably didn’t have much time.

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      • My father = workaholic

        Mom = alcoholic

        My parents often were not present. It is what it is. They must’ve given me enough, I’m a productive member of society. Lol! That’s good that you had one good parent. My dad was ok, when he wasn’t working. We get along well now, although we don’t talk too often. He’s really helped us lately. I’ll save that for the blog.

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