The Joy of Here and Now

by Peter Twitchell

I heard someone say, “I didn’t have much of a childhood.” When I reflect on this, and really think about what the man said, I can begin to understand what he meant.

I’m going to speak solely from my personal observations, especially from having one friend whose parents drank, sometimes binging all week. I really never saw any violence in that one particular home, just my friend’s mom and dad being in a drunken state, whether it was a weekday or weekend.

When I look back at that now, it was sad, because a lot of the times they weren’t there for my friend and his sister. I also remember, his parents showering my friend with toys, maybe that’s why I liked hanging out with him a lot. But, as far as supervision or any emotional connection with my friend, it was non-existent.

The nights that his parents were drinking there was never a nice family breakfast in the morning. My friend and I ate whatever they had, which wasn’t much and we went to school. This experience was the complete opposite of what I was experiencing at home.

If my dad was out of town and out at Kasigluk or Akiak running his trading post, mom was available to me. She cooked all our meals. She attended church every Sunday, and bible study and choir practice every Wednesday evening.

My grandma was at our house almost all the time, when I was a kid, I thought she lived with us. Unlike my friend, when I was going out to play, mom and grandma instructed me how to behave. They told me, always love everybody. This was the standard, repeated to me over and over again, because I like to play outside. I felt like I had a good emotional connection to my family. Most important I felt loved and cared for.

The man who made the above statement was a successful man, and he was kind, and I guess he talked about his unfortunate childhood. Today is a new day, and those who hurt and abandoned you when you were a kid aren’t here to do that anymore, and you’re grown up some now.

I would write my story, about being neglected and unloved as a child. Write about how you feel about people who were supposed to love and care for you and harmed you. You will be able to move forward in your life once you acknowledge this, you can stop being a victim and heal from your injury, i.e., feelings of being unloved, going to school hungry, not having clean clothes, other kids picking on you, and being mean.

Your parents did the best they could for you under the circumstances. Don’t stay stuck in your past. Live in the joy of the here and now, without feeling sorry for yourself, or blaming everyone, and be yourself, the person that God made.