Reminiscing can be a fun way to while away the hours remembering things that made you laugh, cry etc….and can jog you into thinking about things that have lapsed into the murkier side of your brain. This can all be very positive but when the memories that come flashing back are not ones that you particularly want to engage with it can leave you feeling somewhat less than chirpy.
This was the case this morning as we chatted to Lucy and started to talk about Paul, the children’s father. The Tesco shop was due to arrive and we were thinking back to the days when I always had to take all 7 children with me as per Paul’s insistence. Having 7 under the age of 10 and with 6 of them on the autistic spectrum to say it was a tricky expedition would be putting it mildly! Off we would all toddle with Pippa and Osborn in the trolley firmly strapped in, Lorie and Mirie with orders to hold onto the trolley or else, Jamie and Kacie gathering things off the shelves as per my instructions and Nikita twirling madly in the aisles. Twirling was Nikita’s way of dealing with stress and whilst never the best of things to do, as she often crashed into people and things, at least at home I had a degree of control. In Tesco on a Saturday afternoon it was tantamount to extremely dangerous!
Oh….how idyllic this all looks! Nothing like this when all 8 of us went!!
Add into the mix Pippa grabbing things randomly off the shelf as we passed by and opening it or dropping it into the trolley for us to discover at the checkout and it was all a bit too much for everyone. Sadly Tesco didn’t deliver back then but I probably wouldn’t have been allowed to shop that way anyway.
From this came all sorts of other memories of school holidays spent sorting literally thousands of pens and pencils into type, then colour, then size and finally into types of that colour! Paul was severely OCD amongst a lot of other things. Then it would be sorting boxes of cereal pack toys etc….all stuff that should have gone straight into the bin. He’d then have them all picking up the grass in the field after the tractor had mown and would check they had covered every spare inch. At the time they all believed this to be normal, now they look back they can see only too well how strange their childhood was. My book covers it all in all of it’s bizarre detail.
As for me, it all leaves me feeling guilty that I was unable to protect them from his madness. If I ever tried to intervene he would turn his rage towards me and the children assure me that seeing him physically abuse me was far worse than spending hour after hour sorting boxes etc… And yet I still have that nagging feeling that I could, and should, have done more even though I know only too well that I was powerless. ‘If only?’ serves no purpose and the children are all very quick to tell me that they are who they are because of everything that has happened to them so I mustn’t feel bad.
I suppose their positive take on life is a small comfort but the wee small voice is always there……