Monday, May 4, 2020

Joys 1977

In October 1977 when I wrote about, and cried over, losses (see previous post), I continued writing and expressed joy. The next page of that old journal begins,

What a rich, special childhood I had!
May 5, 2020, is the anniversary of my mother's birthday. How fitting that I can share this remembrance now.  Janet N. Cutler was born on May 5, 1912, and lived to almost 64. She came to Danvers in 1940 to marry my father. They started married life in a small rental house on Nichols Street, just across from the large Locust Lawn property. They'd been house-hunting elsewhere, but hadn't yet found what they sought. So, on a temporary basis, they moved into that little cape. Lucky for me, they stayed. I, born three years later, was able to grow up with grandparents next door, and acres of woods, fields and streams nearby.

Here's the final page of my journal entry written on October 5, 1977:

What a rich, special childhood I had! The land and plants and wild birds and animals were so much a part of it, thanks to my mother. She taught me so much about nature and conservation and appreciation of life! That is a wonderful gift. She got such joy from the simple things – a bright red leaf, a fern fiddlehead, growing vegetables, a new wren in the birdhouse, etc. And my life is enriched by experiencing these wonders as she taught me to.
As a child I used to get tired of her exclamations to come see the cloud, or this leaf or that view. "oh Mommy!" I'd reply "it is just another leaf..." etc. I resisted her enthusiasm. But it came through whenever I was alone (at Putney, and now). 
Now my kids have to endure my endless cries of "Oh, look at that." I want to pass on that love of the beauty of nature. (Even though it carries with it the pain of watching "progress" spoil the beautiful land.)
What a joy tonight  to get in touch with this special gift  from my mother, after concentrating for hours on the hidden messages* I got from her, most of which were negative. I got lots of problems from her. I'm like her in so many ways. But fortunately the good came with the bad. I feel love for her now. And I like myself.

*See my Comment below for context about "hidden messages" and some examples. I did appreciate my mother during my youth. My comment in fall 1977 about problems referred more to changes I, as an adult, was attempting to make in some of my habits, and my realization that she had been, of course, the model for those habits. She had died in April 1976.

1 comment:

Sandy said...

I should add a note about that last paragraph. The "negative" hidden messages were typical of most parents, who were busy adults doing their best to be good parents. In many ways I had an ideal childhood, with two very nice parents.

Neither I nor my parents were consciously aware of the messages at the time. It was only later, in my 30's, that I learned (in an intensive "Inner Growth Seminar" in fall 1977) about the underlying attitudes and behavior patterns that I had absorbed as a child. Some of the old messages were driving my adult life, and needed to be brought to the surface and questioned.

EXAMPLES of unspoken, but powerful messages: "Keep busy." "Don't be emotional." "Worry about the future." "Don't ask for help." "Don't make a mistake." "Be what I can handle." "Be afraid to spend money."