Well, one of the reasons. It is my parents fault. Isn't everything? It is a wonder I have not been on Oprah, crying about how I was the oldest and obviously the "test child" for their other children or as they insist on calling them...my brothers.
Because it is Halloween I want to share the crazy story of me and a haunted house. I was about 3 years old. I have a very clear memory of this day for reasons that will become VERY obvious to you in a moment. I know I must have been 3 because my brother Roger was not born at this point. Anyway, every year the March of Dimes out together a fabulous and incredibly scary haunted house to make money for the charity. My parents thought that taking a 3 year old to a haunted house seemed like a good idea, so off we went. What the hell did I know? I
Now, that would have been bad enough. My 16 yr old worked at a haunted house this season and would frequently tell me how these parents would bring in terrified children and force them through the rooms, almost taking delight in the child's horrified clinging and screams. In the words of Zachary "that is fucked up, dude" But, that is not where my parents went wrong with me...OH NO.
So we arrive at the haunted house and as you can imagine the parking lot is packed. The setting was an old, unoccupied mansion. Screams, groans and growls are piped out of the windows. Rattling of chains and creaking doors surrounded those who dared walk up to the front of the house. The crowded parking lot was a field next to this old house. My mother gets me out of the car and says to me "you stand right here, Heidi while your dad and I park the car"
Yes. My mother got me out of the warm, safe car and made me stand in front of the haunted house ALONE. Let's not leave my father out of the blame. Did he say "umm, Fran, you are INSANE. Not only is out child 3 and could be kidnapped in 15 seconds and will end up on a milk carton BUT she will be scared SHITLESS!?"
No, he did not. They both thought it was a perfectly sound and prudent move to leave me there ALONE.
And let me say that throughout my childhood I had a recurrent feeling that when my parents left me somewhere, that I would never see them again. That did not help this situation in the slightest. In fact, maybe this is why I started to feel that way in the first place.
So, I am standing in front of the house. Terrified and I start to cry. And cry. And cry some more, so hard that I puke all over the front of my red plaid jacket. This incident was so traumatic that yes, I know what I was wearing at the time. After an eternity of waiting my parents saunter up to me and my mom is shocked at my pukeiness, cleans me up and hugs me and takes me THE. HELL. HOME. sigh.
A few years ago I bring up this incident up to my parents and my mother has the nerve to deny it happened. My father told her..yes, yes it happened and said to me "Heidi, I am not sure what the hell we were thinking" Clearly, not much about anything.
Thus began the trials of parenting on an unsuspecting, adorable little girl.
Perhaps I should have been more afraid of my dad's sideburns. OYE!