Rob was gone last night so I sat down with a big bowl of ice cream and watched the first 5 episodes of Party of Five thanks to this beautiful thing I call Netflix!
I remember loving the show as a teenager. The first episode said something about 1994 so I must have been 12 or 13 when it started. I also really liked Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place. I watched a lot of t.v. growing up. I didn't realize at the time how smutty the stuff that I was watching was though! Not that Party of Five is smutty per se, but the subject matter is quite intense for a 12 year-old in my opinion. You have to wonder how I survived my teen years with these kinds of shows as my only role-models!
You see, I grew up... unsupervised. I know part of it was because it was just a 'different day' back then. Part of it was because my parents where quite young themselves (I was their 3rd child by the time mom was 20 and dad was 21) and they grew up in the 70's if you catch my drift. They divorced when I was 8 and I mostly lived with my dad and 2 older brothers, though they were both in and out of the house for various reasons that take a whole other blog post to sift through. So, sometimes it was just my dad and me and sometimes one or both of my brothers were around. In my late-teens I lived with my grandparents for a year, then my aunt Pam and uncle Steve... then I went to college and got married.
My dad always worked rotating shift work so there were lots of times that I was home by myself for 12-14 hours at a time, even over night. With those kind of family dynamics there wasn't much in the way of supervising going on to say the least. I did what I wanted, watched what I wanted, ate what I wanted and went anywhere I wanted anytime I wanted without thinking twice and rarely asking for permission. It was just my life... I didn't realize 'normal' people didn't live that way because most of my friends were in a similar boat.
It shocks me now, as a parent though. I used to get myself ready for school and walk more than a mile to a get there by myself... in 1st grade! In Kindergarten I would walk to the corner store which was 6 blocks away on a fairly busy road. My brothers and I would be outside playing for hours and hours and never check in. I thought my friend's parents were super-strict and psycho because she had to be home before the street lights turned on! I forged my dad's signature (with his permission... he even taught me how) on all my school work, and even on his checks to buy pizza on Saturdays if he was at work. Nobody told me to do homework, or even asked me about it. Nobody helped me get ready for school (I'm sure on most days I was that ratty child who's clothes didn't match and hair was never combed and was always late to school). Ah, the good ole' days!
Granted, there were times where life was somewhat 'normal' but there were far more times where I was 'on my own'. I remember one time when I was in high school that I went away on a peer mediation retreat for the weekend, and when I came home my mom's car was in the driveway. She lived 8 hours away and I knew we weren't expecting her so I got freaked out. When I walked in the door I learned that my brother, Greg had been a tree-falling accident and had been crushed by a tree at work. His jaw was wired shut and all of his teeth were shattered and for a while they weren't sure how he was going to pull out of it. Nobody knew where I was, so they couldn't get a hold of me!
I have lots of great childhood stories, but I don't know if I want to blog them. They're always good for a laugh though, so feel free to ask if you're ever interested in a little story-telling time. Just ask about my family tree. It's got some crazy twists and turns!
Just in case you're wondering, I became the super responsible hyper-sensitive one. Though I was encouraged to "get high... and loosen up" I never drank, smoked or did drugs. Instead, I poured myself into school work and extra curricular activities and nominated myself the safety officer, taking keys and sharp objects from intoxicated people. I graduated high school and college both with honors and I was determined more than anything never to be driven by substance abuse. I saw what it did to my immediate and extended families and to my friends and wanted no part of it!
Ultimately, my childhood (crazy as it might have been) has made me who I am. And, honestly, I'm happy with who I am so I'm not sure I would change it if I had the chance. I wouldn't wish my childhood on anyone else, and it was quite painful at times... but it was my cacoon... and I had to spend my time there and fight my way out in order to fly away as a butterfly.
It's soooo strange to me that I ended up marrying the most wonderful, amazing godly man who is an incredibly active and devoted husband and daddy! My life is soooo much different that I ever could have dreamed it would be growing up. The life I'm living is stuff fairy-tales were made of... and I get to live it everyday!
So there you have it, Party of Five took me on a little trip down memory lane. I lived vicariously through characters like those! I don't think I'll keep watching them, one evening's worth of a trip down memory lane is enough for me to remember how grateful I am to be living the life I'm living. I think it's always good to look back and remember where you've been, but I'll certainly live my life looking forward. There's nothing I can do to change the past but I can learn from it, and change my future and that of my children.