A gifted kid raising himself…just sharing - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 9 Old 10-05-2010, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
Tigerle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Europe
Posts: 1,388
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Due to having had spinal surgery (and my kids tending to be big and floppy for their ages!), I need some physical help with lugging DD around to rest my spine. So my parents visit fairly often these days, together or alone.
It’s only when my father is without my mom that he will volunteer bits and pieces about his childhood, which he otherwise rarely talks about - whenever my mom who is one of the extroverts in our family is around, he lets her do all the talking, and she has loads of stories about her childhood, which I think was as comfortable a middle class childhood as a wartime childhood in Europe could be. Yes, they went to glean nuts in the woods for food, they had few books and fewer toys, chocolate was a superspecial treat, but they never went hungry.
My father, though, has different stories. He shares them when we talk about DS and my worries about his sensitivities, his high need for intellectual stimulation and my fears about elementary school. I won’t say that it puts things in perspective because that would be cheesily moralistic and just plain wrong as we live in different times – but it is always such an awakening to realize how different those times are.
He grew up as the child of, at first, pretty poor peasants, and later, after his family was deported when he was four, of dirt poor deportees. He must have been a pretty sensitive kid – when still on the farm, he remembers having a special cow and refusing to drink the milk of any other. He also remembers having a godmother who adored him, and he always ran to be with her whenever he felt unfairly treated at home. We were talking about DS’s high sensitivity and intense need to have me around, which I was trying to balance with my intense need for the intellectual stimulation WOH gives me, and he started reminiscing about being separated from his mother in the deportee camp and being mistreated, which he said is one of the few things in his life he finds hard to forgive.
He is color blind, and I am still not sure whether DS is – he tested negative for it as a toddler, but he still makes the same mistakes my father makes (green for brown, black for red, yellow for green etc.). However, he is still much better at telling colors apart than my father, which makes no sense if he did inherit color blindness from him, because they should have exactly the same deficit. So I wondered whether maybe lots of exposure to picture books and lots of people in DS life saying “Look, there’s a red car!” etc may have made a difference in DS’ ability to tell colors apart by shade, if not hue. I asked my father if he even had a picture book growing up and he just laughed. He had told me the story of finding out he was colorblind before – after the beatings for seemingly messing about with his colored pencils in some underline-the-words exercise had no effect, his teacher began to wonder!
I talked about how hard it felt to trust daycare and preschool to satisfy DS’ intense need for correct information and he started musing about teaching himself to read at four looking at number plates. Still not having any books, how did he ever learn things, we wondered. Must have been in school, we concluded.
The one story I am almost jealous about is the one about his fourth grade teacher, who, when my grandfather refused to send my father to college prep for fifth, actually went to his house to persuade my grandfather to change his mind. (All my elementary teachers ever told my parents was to stop hothousing me already). Not that my grandfather didn’t have aspirations for my father – it was only that they peaked in sending him to trade school until 16 and then having him get a job at the post office, a steady job with a government agency and a uniform being plenty aspirational already for him. He did relent at the teacher’s intervention (maybe the teacher hinted at the possibility of studying for the priesthood, that would have tickled my grandparents) but had one stipulation: my father had to make straight As at all times or he’d yank him out.
So my father did just that.
He started working in high school to support himself and his family – and to start violin lessons! I imagine not just out of a love for music, but also to keep up with my mum’s family, which was very musical, after meeting her.
He was able to go to university on a Catholic scholarship (which is why he finds it hard to turn his back on the Church even these days) and became a MD, eventually heading a hospital. He still works part time even though he is officially retired, telling me he really enjoys making the extra money – because they can spend it to support their grandkids!

I feel that if DS has inherited just a quarter of his resiliency we’re sorted.

MeDH DS1 10/06 DD 08/10 DS2 10/12with SB and
Tigerle is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 9 Old 10-05-2010, 06:48 PM
 
emilysmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 643
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You must interview him with a camcorder right now. This is a treasure beyond price. My sister interviewed my parents at Christmas a couple years ago. My father died a year later. The family history he had on the video she made is a treasure to us, but we wish we had made much more.
emilysmama is offline  
#3 of 9 Old 10-05-2010, 09:56 PM
 
carmel23's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 5,156
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I agree! Please do whatever you can to interview him and record it. What an amazing experience.

And the Church will live through this UA violation she is going through, she's lived through a lot. I think stories/ people like you Dad will remind us of that.

edit to add: I recently read some letters my father had written when he was very young adult/adolescent. He was a different person then the man/father I know!

 hh2.gif  ~~~~~~~~~~hh2.gif
 

carmel23 is offline  
#4 of 9 Old 10-05-2010, 11:06 PM
 
LynnS6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pacific NW longing for the Midwest
Posts: 12,446
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Wow! What a great story.

If you do want to preserve some of these memories, check out the StoryCorps Website. They have good questions to get things started.
http://storycorps.org/record-your-st...enerator/list/

My dad's story is somewhat similar, though he wasn't as poor and never deported. He grew up during the Depression as the son of poor farmers (they rented the land, didn't own it). He'd read every book in the school library by the time he was in 3rd grade. When he was 12, his dad came down with tuberculosis and my dad had to take over the farm. His parents didn't want to let him go to high school, and he head to take a year off. Eventually they let him go back, but only after he agreed to do all the regular chores and maintain his grades. (He also had to commute a considerable ways to get to high school.) He also played football. Any wonder that at 86 the man still can't relax and not do anything?

He stayed on the farm until he turned 21 and could enlist in the army without his parents signature (this was during WWII - he wasn't drafted because he was a farmer). His parents were furious. I don't think his mom ever forgave him, because his leaving meant that they had to move off the farm and into town. He enlisted in the army for the GI bill. Without that, he'd never have gone to college.

The other thing my dad talks about is not wanting to marry any of the girls from the neighboring farms because he knew that would tie him down in an intellectually stifling environment. That shows an enormous amount of forethought for a 16-18 year old boy. He knew he needed more than that environment could give him.

Lynnteapot2.GIF, academicreading.gif,geek.gif wife, WOHM  to T jog.gif(4/01) and M whistling.gif (5/04)
LynnS6 is offline  
#5 of 9 Old 10-07-2010, 08:03 AM
 
Freeman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 671
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I enjoyed reading this - thank you for posting!
Freeman is offline  
#6 of 9 Old 10-07-2010, 12:31 PM
 
nicky85's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Crossroads of the West
Posts: 180
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We really need more of that these days. I remember when I was in college few years back there were so many kids who didn't really have any drive and their parents kept shelling out the tuition money. They were just waffling around because that's what they were supposed to do is go to college. But I'm calling them "kids"! They were 18-24. That used to be adult and now it's just an extension of the teen years. Bravo to your dad for taking responsibility for his life and having the drive to succeed!

Mom to Lovebug 2/10 and wife to DH.
Thrilled to debut our beautiful 2011 breastfeeding calendar! www.beautyofmothering.com
nicky85 is offline  
#7 of 9 Old 10-08-2010, 08:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
Tigerle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Europe
Posts: 1,388
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Thank you for reading, everyone. I really enjoyed writing this down, too, and I actually started thinking about having to record my parents' life the very night. I always regretted not recording more about my grandparents. I'll have to think about ways - they won't feel comfortable with a camera, but we might make a sound recording and transcribe it...oh for the time to do these things!

Quote:
The other thing my dad talks about is not wanting to marry any of the girls from the neighboring farms because he knew that would tie him down in an intellectually stifling environment. That shows an enormous amount of forethought for a 16-18 year old boy. He knew he needed more than that environment could give him.
I have a hunch my father married my mother's family as much as he married her - not that my mother isn't a lovable person one wants to marry in her own right! But there is definitely giftedness running in my mother's family as well (I am pretty sure about my grandmother and my uncle; my mother isn't intellectually gifted, but watch out for her ability to sniff out someone's being emotionally dishonest a mile away - makes her a total sucker for salespeople because their intense need to sell bowls her over. I actually recognized a lot when I read the Active Alert child - total active alert adult, no emotional boundaries whatsoever...). He was really almost adopted by her family as a teenager - I imagine he needed not just the intellectual atmosphere but also the middle class expectations. no one makes it totally alone.

MeDH DS1 10/06 DD 08/10 DS2 10/12with SB and
Tigerle is online now  
#8 of 9 Old 10-08-2010, 08:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
Tigerle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Europe
Posts: 1,388
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicky85 View Post
We really need more of that these days. I remember when I was in college few years back there were so many kids who didn't really have any drive and their parents kept shelling out the tuition money. They were just waffling around because that's what they were supposed to do is go to college. But I'm calling them "kids"! They were 18-24. That used to be adult and now it's just an extension of the teen years. Bravo to your dad for taking responsibility for his life and having the drive to succeed!
YK, I think my father would just feel sorry for these young people for not finding a direction in life. he never wished his obstacles on anyone...my mother, though, never was above a little guilt induction aboutt how good we had it in life whenever we were obnoxious about not wanting to eat dinner ("your grandfather yould never have tolerated that!"), wanting sweets ("chocolate was SO special when we grew up!") or being physically lazy ("We had to walk everywhere we wanted to go!"). At one of these occasions, we moaned "blah blah blah! And we are going to tell our kids how good they have it in life and so on.." and my father just said: "You are going to pity your kids."
And you know, in some ways he's right!

MeDH DS1 10/06 DD 08/10 DS2 10/12with SB and
Tigerle is online now  
#9 of 9 Old 10-08-2010, 12:11 PM
 
eilonwy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Lost
Posts: 15,067
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Tigerle, that was so interesting to read. LynnS6, thank you for the StoryCorps link! I've been looking for something like that for a while now.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
eilonwy is offline  
Reply

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off