Big Bird

My parents worked a lot. Or at least that’s the narrative that was shared with me. Now, please forgive me ahead of time if some of my timelines don’t always add up 100%. I am trying to put all of this together as best I can as things occurred. I am told, and I remind you all that the blacking out of time is common when we are talking about trauma. So I am doing my best to piece all of this together so that it flows and hopefully it comes out like watching a movie. But anyways, I was told a lot of stories throughout my life by the adults around me, to the point to where I am still not sure to this day what was true and what was made up to “protect” me and my brothers. But looking back, and watching the movie of my life in my mind- a lot of shit did not make sense.

Another form of trauma that I would like to point out here, is abandonment trauma. I believe that this is probably the one that actually ended up affecting me the most throughout my life. I remember being very little, and I am not sure exactly how old, but I would venture a guess to say it was that “Pre Kindergarten” age. Not exactly sure how old, but I do know that I was able to comprehend something: That for some reason my dad was not there. He was not around and had not been for some time and to be honest with you, I still don’t know why. I don’t even know if I would be able to find out why if I tried today. The family has been so fractured over the years, and many are gone now. And it was so long ago now, I doubt if anyone would even remember what I’m talking about. But I know. I remember it very well. I remember waking up each day and actively looking for my dad. He was no where to be found and didn’t return home for a very long time. Or, a very long time as my mind could comprehend it. I do remember talking to him on the phone a few times during this period, and the only explanation I was offered at the time was always “Daddy is at work”. But I was just old enough to start actually computing things, and my very young spidy senses told me that if he was really at work, he certainly should have come home by now. I mean, he’s gotta come home to eat and to shower and to sleep once in a while right? Well that was not happening and it was really starting to weigh on me.

I remember, probably daily, asking my mom if daddy was coming home today. And I also remember the sadness and frustration in my mom’s voice every time she would respond with something like “No, Stevie, not today baby.” “Soon though, I promise.”

I was always very bonded to my dad. I am not exactly sure why, and I don’t regret it, but typically, or so I thought, younger littles tend to bond with mom more so than dad early on. But for me I was always stuck to my dads hip. He and I did everything together. Me him and Lucas were inseparable. We always called ourselves the Three Musketeers later on life- all for one, one for all. That was our motto. Dad even took me to work on many many occasions, when he was working at the cable company. He almost killed us both in a bulldozer one night while we were burning a bunch of trees and old tires working midnights for the city of Peachtree City, but that’s a whole nother story altogether. The point is that we were always tight. I think it was because I was his first born son. Josh, although he loved him very much was fathered by my mom’s first husband and so me and lucas were his only actual sons. His bio sons.

Any ways, apparently this particular separation really impacted me at the time, because it sticks out in my trauma bank and memories like a sore thumb. I remember literally bugging the absolute shit out of my mom daily about when my dad was coming home. Throwing tantrums over it, screaming and bawling saying things like “I want daddy”, etc. And on one particular evening, I had been watching cartoons, or barney or whatever the hell else I was into at that age, I remember vividly looking up at this old picture we had of my dad up on the wall. In the picture he was wearing this PCDC tee shirt (PCDC is Peachtree City Development Corporation), he had a mustache as always, and was kind of looking of at something over the photo taker’s shoulder and I absolutely Lost it! I was freaking out so badly that my mom had to call my aunt laureen over with her son, my cousin to come over and play with me. I just knew that I was being lied to, even at that age. Not with any kind of ill intent of course, but because to the adults around me there was no way that I could possibly comprehend the fact of where my dad really was for that time. I know this may not sound like a truly deep and historical trauma in my life, but remember this one, because it will make a little bit more sense later on.

But it’s interesting to me looking back on all of this, because I can see and feel it all as if it were happening right now. And in that time, while I am losing it over the picture on the wall, finally realizing that I am being lied to. That dad is not coming home, he is not at work like they say he is and finally blowing a gasket- it was fully confirmed to me when my aunt and cousin came in the door to help soothe me. My god the immense stress my poor mother must have been feeling at that time. I was going ape shit over my father’s absence, my mother gets on the phone and talks to someone who says they are coming over, and in walks not my dad, but my aunt and cousin. And that’s when it really hit me that he was gone somewhere else. Not to work and not returning any time soon. I don’t even recall the timeline that followed this a whole lot, and I don’t even remember him finally returning home. But I do remember that when he did come home, he brought me a Big Bird giant stuffed animal. So interesting. How this mind of mine works. I don’t know how long he was gone for, and apparently I was so overcome with emotion when he did come back, that I don’t recall his actual timeline for return, but I remember that damn Big Bird. So funny.

So what’s the point? I don’t know. But I am trying my best to share with you what all, I believe went into the making of my trauma brain. And I believe this season was part of it.

Another thing I am thinking about right now, is that this story here may not strike you as something overly traumatic and that’s okay. You have a right to feel that way. But just because something like this may or may not have impacted you the same way, doesn’t mean it didn’t me. Empathy. Don’t lose it. Just because “you/I/we” have suffered worse than someone else, doesn’t mean that the other person’s pain is invalid.

I still think about where the hell he was during all that time.

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