stripped bare

How very true.

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“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, other crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”

– Mitch Albom (the five people you meet in heaven)

I remember when I was around 20 years old, while doing the graveyard shift at work, I was reading The Sunday Times feature about how parents make or break their kid’s childhood. My parents’ mistake was being overly protective of me. Of course I rebelled, which teenager doesn’t, but the extent to which I was rebellious was nothing compared to the other kids I know. However, in my parents’ eyes, I was the world’s worst child. So of course they relaxed on my brother and he became the world’s worst spoilt brat. Now that took the burden off me somehow.

I took that article, enlarged and photocopied it and wrote in red above the headlines “Please read in your free time. Damage already done. Therefore, for your information only”. My message was tinged with a little rebelliousness, a little love, and little sense of humour. I left it on the dining table at home and went to sleep, but subconsciously, I woke up when my parents did, just to see their reaction. With one eye closed and both ears peeled to the door, I heard my father laugh guiltily while my mother just brushed it off as she always does when she thinks her daughter is up to her nonsense again. We have never talked about the article at all.

Until one day, I knew the message got through to my dad, for I lamented jokingly about how my attitudes and behaviour had been shaped by the way they locked me behind steel bars as a child. He answered without missing a bit that “Yeah that was before, but I’m changing now, right?” That sentence, though said with a smile, shot poison arrows through my heart and stung the tears out of my eyes. I got through to my dad. For once.


Written by smudgi3

September 20, 2005, Tuesday at 13:09

Posted in Insight

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