Thursday, February 6, 2014

Shut up and make something

Two things up front, to explain the title of this post.   (1) My mom wasn't normal; (2) I was an only child.

Because none of my friends lived nearby, it seemed like my childhood was one long escape from boredom.  I read, I wrote, I plotted elaborate games for my Barbies (easy, since as an only child and had a village of them), I drew pictures, I painted, I sewed, I made things.  I learned this early, because of my mom.

"I'm bored."

"Find something to do."

"I'm still bored."

"Shut up and make something."

So I would.  She and my dad never questioned the strange constructions that appeared all over the house, or the random holes cut in the middle of the magazine they weren't done reading.  Or the tie that went missing from a dress because it was the right fabric to make Barbie a halter.  Or whatever it was.

Mom walked a fine line between total over-protective suffocation -- if I was doing anything that involved risk of physical injury or even being out of her sight for long -- and complete ignorance of my activities.  So long as she knew where I was in the house, or could see me out the window, she really wasn't concerned.  And there were always paints and crayons and glue -- copious amounts of Elmer's glue, I must have drunk the stuff -- around for me to mess with.

Maybe it was a strange way to tell me to occupy myself, but it worked.

It still does. 

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