Growing up, I was a pretty bright kid. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I always did fairly well in school. Got good grades, always had glowing reports from my teachers, could interact socially without being awkward, overall, just well adjusted.
But this post isn’t about that. Actually the opposite. I was thinking back the other day to my younger years and I was reminded that there were a lot of everyday, normal nuances that somehow seemed to pass me by. I just didn’t get the memo apparently. I’m sure lots of kids are like this, and I guess that’s just part of the process of growing and taking in the world around you, but seriously? Sometimes I think my parents must have thought “this kid is an idiot”. (Of course in a loving and supportive “but-she’s-our-daughter-and we’re-proud-of-her” way…)
I remember once when I was six and having been taught the dangers of saying no to drugs, and also being warned that even “good” medicine needs to be taken properly, and only for the specific illness it’s meant for. I had a wicked sore throat one day at school. I went home and told my mom that my throat really hurt. She wanted to give me something to help me feel better. But I was unsure about this. You see I wasn’t 100% sure I had a “sore throat”….maybe my throat just hurt. And if that was the case, then taking medicine designed to cure a sore throat would be bad for me. Apparently, in my six year old head there was a huge difference between a sore throat, and having a throat that hurt when I swallow, and until a doctor was going to diagnose me with the right illness, I wasn’t about to get all willy-nilly with medicine.
Or how about the time when I was convinced that “Don’t drink and drive” campaigns were solely in place to ensure that you didn’t spill whatever you were drinking, because you were also driving. And how I may or may not have panicked one day big time, when my dad got McDonald’s and then proceeded to continue to drink his pop WHILE driving me around. I KNOW. Don’t worry, I gave him a what for.
Then there were the Easter seasons that I was certain that as we reflected on Jesus dying on cross, he was actually being crucified over on the other side of the world. I thought this was an annual event, and I couldn’t understand why someone wouldn’t just STOP THE INJUSTICE ALREADY. (I was really young….and also, apparently, a little slow)
I can also clearly remember waking up on my sixth birthday at my grandparent’s house in Saskatoon. (we were visiting). I probably spent a good half an hour standing beside every.single.piece. of furniture they owned just to see how I measured up to it. I was convinced that you grew on your birthday and so I wanted to see where I measured against things like the kitchen table, the fridge, the counter, the phone, the couches, the wall, the doors… I would say to myself “Well, if the kitchen table comes up to ‘here’ on me today, then yesterday, it must have come up to ‘here’. Then I would move the hand that was marking my measurements up an entire inch on my body, showing the amazing growth that ensued overnight. The best part of this story is that I did this with no one else around. I just talked to myself as I walked around, doing my yearly measurements.
And just in case you needed further proof that sometimes I missed the boat entirely, here it is:
When I was three or four, we were living in Saskatchewan. We went to the same church as my grandparents (dad’s side) and my aunt, uncle and cousins. I kind of just assumed that we just really liked hanging out with these people and it was the duty of parents to find an older couple that we could call grandpa and grandma. It kind of confused me as to how we ever found my other set of grandparents (mom’s side), because they didn’t go to our church, but I just figured they saw them at the mall one day and thought they looked like nice people and asked if they would do us the honour of being our grandparents.
So one day, we were hanging out at my grandparent’s (dad’s side), after church. My cousins and aunt and uncle were also there (sidenote: I also just assumed that my aunt and uncle also really liked these old people, and so they also asked them to be their kids grandparents –which was good for me, because I had fun with these people I called my “cousins”) My dad was holding me and I remember asking him “dad, why do you call grandpa and grandma “mom and dad”??) And he answered “um. Well Karmyn, because they are my mom and dad.”
My world, as I knew it exploded. I was all like “whoa. So wait a minute. You have a DAD and a MOM? Wait….does this mean that those OTHER people I call grandpa and grandma are mom’s mom and dad?? She has a DAD and a MOM? Hold up…why does Uncle Gordon call these same people dad and mom? Wait – he’s your BROTHER?? You have a family?? And all of those other people I call aunt and uncle – they’re your and mom’s brothers and sisters??”
I know right? I’m pretty sure I was thinking to my four year old self “karmyn, you really are an idiot”. But really. I’d never connected that we were actually related to these people. Or that my parents came from somewhere.
As I said: not always the sharpest knife in the drawer. (But at least I was cute)