Sunday, February 3, 2008

Take me back

There are times when I wish I could just go back to my childhood so I might figure out what the hell happened to make me such an attention starved adult. See that little girl in the swimsuit perched on the picnic table? That's me. A summer day in the late 60s. I have no recollection of that particular moment in my life. I'm guessing there were several splinters in my butt as a result of sitting on that weathered table. HA! I was number 8; the youngest daughter and baby of the family
Yesterday I was online talking to a friend, and he told me to stop being so high maintenance. Whaaaaa? Moi? I consider myself one of the least demanding women on the planet. What is undeniable is my need for attention and reassurance that I'm not being left to the cold winds of fickle people. Where does the root of that fear of being abandoned begin?
I may not recall the day on the picnic table, but I have a distinct memory of my mom forgetting about me at lunch time in 1st grade. The elementary school I attended let children who lived in the neighborhood go home for lunch. I know-- sounds crazy, huh? I had a note from my mom. I gathered my things from the cloak room and headed across the alley, cutting through Mrs. Langdock's yard, dash across the street, head for the back door and BAM! It was locked. Our doors were only locked if mom needed a break from us or no one was home. I turned to look to the drive-way. No car. My little six year old head spun. MOMMY!!! I banged on the door incessantly bellowing out to be let in the house. Tears poured down my round cheeks. My mommy forgot me.
The neighbor lady, Mrs. Hertzberg, came out her backdoor and insisted I come to her house. "your mommy isn't home." She fed me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I whimpered while eating. She sent me on my way back to school. My class was busy with activities. I returned devastated and worried that my mother was victim to a horrible accident. We went out for recess. We girls headed to the hopscotch board that was situated next to the chain link fence separating us from the alley. I heard a car pull up: It was my mom. I tried to ignore her. I was so angry, but relieved. She hollered out the window that she was sorry. She forgot. SHE FORGOT!
I don't believe the incident was ever spoken of again. I'm sure she and my dad had heated words as a result.
As a grown woman I don't hold that against my mother. She raised 8 children. I'm raising one child and I can't remember anything if I haven't written it down on a calendar or Post-it Note. I walk from room to room and inexplicably forget what I was doing 5 minutes prior. With that being said, I do wonder if that point in my life didn't scar me and make me fearful of being forgotten. Being the youngest child in a large family, one is forced to do wild and crazy things for attention. I was dramatic in my pursuits to be noticed. I earned the nickname Sarah Heartburn. Sarah Burnhardt was a stage and film actress in the early 1900s known for her extreme theatrics; hence, my flip-flopped moniker. Thanks family!!
I'm sure there is a host of other reasons for why I long for a smattering of validation. Often, not much is needed. The proverbial pat on the head and a little recognition works. With matters of the heart ... well, that requires something that has yet to be seen.


  1. That was a great, great story. Heart wrenching, but what great stories aren't?

  2. Thanks, Clark. I wasn't sure whether or not to post it. I'm glad you enjoyed it.


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