It's weird trying to remember my earliest memories. A lot of the things I remember from before around 7 years old or so is just small flashes. Usually it is things that were traumatic, times I was really scared, and sometimes things that made me really happy or really sad. Trying to pinpoint my oldest memory is difficult. I vaguely remember laying on a beanbag chair behind a couch in an old house that I think I lived in. The room was dark, and someone was watching a movie, but that's it. Why is it something so boring? All I remember is the flickering of the TV, and laying there. I think I must have been maybe 4 or 5. Around that same time, but living elsewhere, I remember getting angry with my parents, and saying "I'm running away." My parents likely thought it was funny, as I packed a little bag with some of my toys and stomped out the apartment door. I walked around outside, it was dark, and cut scene, that's all I remember. But that's one of the only memories I have of my parents together.
The traumas stick too. Bicycling down a hill at Mesa College, headed home, I hit a curb, flipped over my handlebars and landed on my forehead. Some guys found me and took me to their apartment, filled with naked women on the walls, and my mom frantically coming to pick me up. It was close to Halloween. I remember I was Robin Hood that year, and had to wear a big bandage over my forehead. Another Halloween I was at a neighbors house carving pumpkins with the neighbor girl, when she decided to cut me with the knife, I raised my hand to block the blow, and it left a big gash in my hand.
The older I get, the longer the memories, but again, it is usually only high emotions. Like when I was bat boy for my mom's softball team and I had my face against the fence, only to have the ball come back and hit me right in the nose. Or driving by the airport in Grand Junction, on what me and my mom's best friend called, "the bumpy road," in her white truck as we would fly in the air driving 80-90 mph.
One thing that typified my childhood was never being in one place too long. My parents split when I was really young, and I primarily lived with my mother in the early part of my life. It also seemed like we moved every few months. I lived in the dorms as my mom was the residence director, we lived in different apartments all over Grand Junction, and shared these places with different people as we would always have new roommates. I sometimes feel jealous of friends who lived in one place their whole childhood, who never had to move, who had and have childhood friends they have known their whole life. Around 1st grade me and my mother moved to Kansas City so that she could get her Master's degree, then we moved to Denver, all the while going back to Grand Junction to spend holidays and summers with my dad. Every year throughout elementary school, I went to a different school. So there was never any of those early childhood bonds built, but I do not think that this is all bad. It taught me how to be social, to make new friends quickly, and to be self reliant. Though it also built some bad habits, because I was always the new kid, I often exaggerated a lot, or straight up lied in order to make new friends. I lied, cheated, and stole, whenever I wanted or felt I needed to. There was little to no consequences, as my mom was usually busy working 2 jobs, and I often had free reign to do whatever I wanted.
It wasn't until 5th grade that things would begin to change as my Mom got into a horrible drinking and driving accident, as she flipped her car end over end 5 times. Thankfully she was wearing her seatbelt, and would survive. But she wouldn't be able to take care of me, so I moved in with my Dad who had recently remarried, and I all of a sudden went from being an only child to having a step-brother, a step-sister, and a new born half-sister. There was rules and structure. It was hard, and always a fight with my step-mom and siblings, but it was also stable. I would go on to go to the middle school for 3 years, and the same high school for 4 years. I would still visit my mom in the summer, which would usually give me that same streak of wildness and spontaneity that I didn't have with my dad.
Though there were many different life lessons that I would get from each, directly and indirectly. Even though my dad was angry with my aunt that she gave me the condom talk at 12, I learned about sex from him long before that age. Again reaching back to my youngest memories, I remember he always had a stack of porno mags in a drawer under his bed. It was a fun bed to crawl around under as there was a secret passage under the frame, so it was obvious I would find them. And in kindergarten, I remember coming back to his house before he was home, and turning on the playboy channel. I could always see him coming and could change the channel in time, often to cartoons or Disney and he was never the wiser.
From my mom, I learned about drugs and alcohol. She was a bartender most of my life, so while she was good at being discreet with drugs, alcohol was always around. But as a clever little boy, it was easy to learn about drugs as well, especially since I spent a lot of time at bars, as the laws were much more lax about kids being in bars during the 80's and early 90's... My Dad had thought I hadn't drank until I was 18 and went to Mexico, little did he know, my first beer was around 8 or 9, same with my first sip of Wild Turkey (which tasted like hot cardboard). On my 12th birthday I got wasted at a Jimmy Buffet concert as my Mom's friends, who were cocktail waitresses at the bar my Mom worked at, as they slipped me Zima's all night. That wasn't the only time Candy and Erin would get me drunk as I would come in to see my Mom at the bar, play video games, and they would bring me rum and cherry cokes. Some may find this appalling, I find it hilarious, either way, I was in a safe controlled environment. My Mom's side of the family would often let me drink so long as it was under their supervision. I got drunk at my Aunt and Uncle's wedding and danced all night doing the electric slide after doing my first keg stand. In many ways, this helped me understand alcohol, instead of hiding it away, I learned moderation, though I've learned that moderation goes out the window when you emotionally drink, but that's for a different blog.
While I was wild and reckless with my mother, I became responsible and patient because of my father, I honestly believe it is a great balance, as I have my mother's heart and my fathers brain. Not to say that I don't admire my mother's brain or my father's heart, cause both are beautiful, but that is how I am able to order it in my own head and thinking. I needed both to be who I am today, I needed both to be compassionate and thoughtful, to understand the world and other people, to understand myself.