Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Naughty Child's Questions

(Continuation of Thursday’s posting . . . )
Mommy and Daddy took my little brother and drove away. Days passed and they didn’t come back. Grandma told me they didn’t love me anymore. They’d deserted me. Left me with “no-account” neighbors.
            I now lived in a house with different smells, different people, and different ways of doing things. I became a solemn, quiet, reserved, unsmiling child, fearful that anything I did would make people desert me. Grandma. The neighbors who fed me. My kindergarten teacher. My playmates.

            Each day before I ate, dressed, talked, sat, rose, pee-peed, drew, listened to the Cisco Kid on radio, knocked on Grandma’s door, I questioned myself.
            Am I doing this right? What if they don’t like this? Will they desert me? Will Grandma lock her door and not open it when I knock? Who will let me stay with them if the neighbors don’t want me any more? Who wants a naughty, little girl?
             No one.
            Mommy didn’t. Daddy didn’t. Who would?
            After I summoned up the courage to do or say something, more questions badgered me: Did I do that right? Did I talk too loud? Did I wheeze too much? Too loudly? What if they don’t like little girls with asthma? Did I eat too much?
            Am I pretty enough for them to keep me? Did my school story make them laugh enough? Am I funny enough for them to keep me? Do I need to learn to dance? Maybe then they’ll keep me. Maybe then they won’t lock me out. Will they? If I smile bigger, will they like me more?
            I worried day and night. What if the neighbors with whom I lived said, “Get out, Dodo, we don’t want you anymore.” Where would I go? Where would I sleep? How would I get food to eat? What if I wore dirty clothes to kindergarten? Would the other kids laugh at me?
            Could I sleep in the church? In a pew? Could I eat candle wax? Could I become a beggar? Mommy had showed me one over on Main Street. Could I sit on the sidewalk and hold up my Easter bonnet for money? But where would I sleep?  
            And what would I eat?
            The kindergarten teacher seemed to like me. She gave me milk before our nap. But what if I did something naughty? What if I swung too high? Talked too loud? Colored too long? Slurped my milk? Would she tell me to leave the room, close the door behind me, and never come back?
            I lived for the whole of that year and for years and years and years afterward, analyzing everything I thought and did and said. Did I do something wrong? Did I say something that would make a friend desert me? Would they throw me over with no explanation? Would I end up with no friends?
            I didn’t understand why Mommy and Daddy and my little brother get mad at me and drove away. I didn’t know if they’d ever come back.
            “What did I do?” I cried into my pillow at night.
            So many things we do each day. Which of those had been the reason they abandoned me? I was confused. Sad. Lonely. Sure that no one loved me anymore. What did people want? Mommy? Daddy? Grandma? These neighbors? My kindergarten teacher? Playmates? What did they want? What? The “whats” hurt my head.
                                                                        (to be continued on Tuesday . . . )


  1. Your story is coming through to me like a movie--& I'm sitting on the edge of my seat, crying. I want to give you two hugs, Dee--one for the sad child you were & one for my friend that you've become.

  2. This is heart rending, Dee! The picture you've chosen to share is haunting...revealing not only a beautiful little girl, but one whose eyes are so incredibly sad and shut off. What a dreadful experience this was, with such far-reaching repercussions. What a cruel twist of fate that, overnight, you went from a happy, carefree child to a mere shell of your former self...insecure, uncertain, constantly questioning and second guessing yourself. You internalised everything that happened and over which you'd had absolutely no control and made it your responsibility. That is no life for a child!

    This is SO SAD, Dee!!! As Fishducky says, it brings tears to my eyes, imagining that vulnerable, innocent child engulfed by grief and feeling so utterly lost and alone! It breaks my heart to hear the myriad questions you asked yourself, questions that no child should have to ask of herself!

    I, too, am only able to offer cyber hugs, but your story has touched my heart forever! I feel so privileged to be able to get to know you, as you truly are an awesome woman!


  3. Oh Dee, what a sad, lonely little girl you must have been. It's unfathomable to believe, but I know that you are writing the truth. While I'm grateful to read what you are writing, it's bringing up some thoughts about my own abandonment issues.

    Please keep telling your story. You are inspiring others I'm sure, besides just me.

  4. That poor little girl; by now you know that it wasn't her fault at all, that she did everything right. Hug her and comfort her, the child you were.

  5. Dee although these are heart rending stories again I'm so glad you are writing them. Do you remember when you said you were afraid to write these because you were afraid people would stop reading? My response was they would ban together and support you. As Des also mentioned above. I know I personally have come to love you dearly. That photo will haunt me. What a beautiful child you were. The eyes are so sad though I just wish i could see them smile as in the earlier pictures.
    A giant hug sent your way my friend and thank you for opening up like this.. many will be helped.

  6. Your photo with those searching eyes! Oh, I want to go back in time to rescue you. Your writing will reach many whose lives were spent in such anxiety. It has reached me.

  7. Dee,
    I can't imagine how terrifying that must have been. I'm so sorry you went through this.

    Your picture is absolutely gorgeous. You were such a beautiful little girl.

  8. I'm so sad and so sorry you had to go through that. Every time I visit your blog, I am reminded of the hard journey you have endured. You are not a bad person. There is no justice in this world, no weights and measures. Not here. You are a good person who had to endure bad things. I hope you know that. I hope and pray you understand that this world does not deserve you. You deserve the world.

  9. Oh, Dee! I am probably lucky that my mother was a bit schizo so that I went back and forth from being naughty evil to perfect brilliant. At least I learned at a very young ago that neither was true. I was lost in an abyss of nothingness and could fall on either side depending on whim. I preferred to be invisible to her. You were lost in naughtyland--filled with questions--and without your parents around at all!! That poor so young you!!

    Your kindergarten teacher sounded like a nice lady. I know I want to hear how you survived and your heart grew and blossomed to be the woman you are today. No wonder why you know to your core how to listen to kids and to respect them as a person--their soul--no matter what they are doing or saying at the time. Your life has helped to form you into the sensitive, caring person you are. And that is no mean feat. Another person in the same circumstances may have turned bitter and cruel. Obviously you made the choice to keep looking for positives, love, and kindness. I am so glad to have found your blog--to hear your voice--to listen to your story. :):)

  10. Of all your questions here, "Could I eat candle wax?" and "Did I wheeze too much?" tear at my heart the most. So many fearful questions for a small child to ponder.

    Your grandmother was, no doubt, speaking from her own pain. Even knowing that, it's hard to imagine an adult being selfish enough to speak that way to a child, especially a child as vulnerable as you were at this time.

    Despite these great adversities -- or perhaps because of them -- you have grown into a woman of great strength and compassion. If I listen very, very carefully, I can hear Juliana of Norwich whispering into the ear of the little girl you were, "...and all shall be exceedingly well."

  11. It is very hard for me not to have, let's say, EXTREME, feelings about your grandmother. ~Mary

  12. I haven't commented on this or the next few of your posts because, at the time I read them, I became a cauldron of mixed emotions and wasn't sure how to express my reaction to your powerful story.

    I am deeply sorry for that little girl. I want to protect her but am powerless to do so. I am angry at that little girl's parents for their callous and indifferent cruelty; and I despise that little girl's grandmother – there is no excuse for her selfish, misdirected cruelty.

    I can reach that little girl only through the wonderful woman she's become. To the little girl I say, "Your parents left you behind only to protect you from the hardships that lay ahead for them. they left you only for a while and only out of love for you, that you could stay in school and not leave your friends. They send you their love every moment, and they miss you as much as you miss them. They are trying to build a better life so that you can join them... soon, my child, soon."

    To the beautiful woman that child grew up to be, I offer the wisdom of Khalil Gibran (The Prophet):

    Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

    And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
    And how else can it be?

    The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

    Is not the cup that holds your wine the very
    cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
    And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

    When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
    When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

    Some of you say, "Joy is greater thar sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."
    But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
    Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

  13. Heartbreaking.

    I'm so sorry for that little girl.