My Parents Didn’t Know Me

They were good parents to my two younger brothers and me, but they didn’t know about a few important parts of parenting. Mom was a dedicated mother. She managed the house and kept it clean. She was a very good cook, she knitted beautiful garments for us, and she never wanted to do anything else. My brothers and I would tumble into the side door after frolicking in the snow. We’d climb out of our wet coats and boots, mittens, hats and scarves and run into the kitchen for some of Mom’s unbelievable chocolate chip cookies and milk.

While we were gorging like wild animals, Mom went to pick up all our wet, scattered clothes and sort them out to dry. She didn’t scowl. She didn’t say anything because she saw it as her profession to do those things, and we loved her for it. We weren’t being callous toward her, we were doing what we were expected to do. When I was a kid, and I got out of bed early in the morning to use the toilet, before I could get back to bed, I’d find that Mom made the bed while I was in the bathroom. She liked doing that.

Dad was a good earner. When I was born, they shared a small apartment with my mother’s parents. By the time I was 18, my brothers and I lived in a luxurious home with two new cars in the garage. I also had a new sports car, and in turn, each of my brothers had sports cars. We also had a summer home where we each had our own powerboat. We had charge accounts for whatever we needed. So what’s my problem?

My parents didn’t have the background to understand a kid that wasn’t like all the other kids. My mother believed I lacked intelligence. She occasionally said things to me like: “Your friends are always the dumbest kids in school, like you are,” and “I worry that you won’t be smart enough to make a living.” I had to find the strength to survive that.

With Dad, it was easier. He never touched me. He never put his arm around my shoulders. He never praised any good I did, and always expressed displeasure when I did something wrong. Never spoke to me, except for an occasional lecture about my behaviour, which was never very bad. I did art, I raced cars, I had adventures. Dad never mentioned anything to me, while also never touching me.

After my father died, I learned from his friends that he was always proudly boasting about my brothers and me. The son-of-a-bitch should have told ME.

Out of the confusion of living rich and unappreciated, I eventually became a writer and artist of sorts. I created, designed, and wrote commercials, and a TV series that aired for about 30 years. I watched the first episode with my mother. At the end, the credits listed me as creator and writer. My mother turned to me and said, “Who are you?”

My parents didn’t know me.

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