Yesterday, in our “Being Human” residency we delved into the subject of “Confiscation”. I brought my butterfly yard decoration that I was afraid would poke out Jack and Fiona’s eyes and attempted to recreate one that was safe. I wrapped string and used felt. We didn’t finish them yet. I have a new idea I want to do, make a giant stuffed butterfly yard decoration! We also talked about our own experiences as children- Could we remember an item being confiscated from us when we were children?

Last night when I laid my head on my pillow I started reeling in thoughts. Half were thoughts on all the ways I could make my butterfly safe, but the other thoughts were about my childhood. I tried to remember a time something was taken away from me, all I could recall was my home being confiscated from me in one form or another. All I could, all I can remember is me being in trouble all the time, being told to “go outside” or when I was older, “Go to your room”. My mom confiscated the house from me, my dad confiscated himself from me. He moved out when I was six years old and rarely showed up on his scheduled weekends. My mom confiscated herself from me, sending me outside or to my room, and she would stay in her room often with the door shut. I can’t remember any specific toys that were precious my mom took away to punish me. I can’t even remember any situations with my mom when I was little, except the times I got hurt and had to go to the hospital. My mom was always there for me in those situations, she would still be mad at me for not wearing shoes and stepping on a rusty nail or getting my ankle caught in a gate while riding my pony into her corral. Or falling backwards at the skating rink and braking my arm. She was annoyed at these times, I remember that clearly.

Last night, while I laid in bed and my neck and shoulders stiffened, with these thoughts running through my head I kept trying to remember something positive, something happy when I was a little girl. All I can remember are the times my mom was mad at me or the times I wanted her attention, but she could not give it to me. I remember her singing songs and rubbing my back at night, so I would fall asleep. But that’s a small memory in a sea of troubled memories. It is unsettling, and last night I started to get scared. I thought about how my whole life I’m constantly concerned I’m going to get in trouble. Everything I do, every moment I live I am questioning the validity of what I’m doing, if it’s O.K., if it’s bad or good.

I didn’t live a safe life as a child, my mom never thought to wrap anything in batting and felt, to alter the dangerous things and make them safe. I’m not upset with her and I don’t blame her, she was a product of her unhappy childhood. My mom did the best she could with what she had at the time. I know this, and I know she loved me very much. I wish I could remember some happy memories when I was young.

I’ve done so much to keep my kids safe, I’ve confiscated  so many things from them, I’m sure they won’t remember them all!

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Thoughts on Motherhood Through the Eyes of an Artist