Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Because God Has a Sense of Humor - Just Look at Ostriches

Ah. As promised (in a previous post) I have a subject to blog about. Here it be:

My last trip to the great white north triggered what I suppose to be a repressed memory. I wish it hadn't. I wish it had stayed happily buried beneath the pretty flowers, puppy dogs, couture hand bags, butterflies, the husband, stiletto shoes, kittens, sugar and a little devilish spice. But it didn't. It surfaced like Nessie does every 2 million years.

And, now, my pain is yours. Apparently, I like to revel in my own shame and you're coming with me. So, I freely give it to you now.

I must start by mentioning, when I was a teenager, my sole source of income was generated by babysitting. Lots and lots of babysitting. I started when I was 11-years-old and it continued well into my 20's when I subsequently ran out of patience and could no longer be trusted to watch other people's spawn. When I was a wee teenager; however, I absolutely loved earning money in this manner. It was easy and fun. I mean, I used to run major water fight productions in the homes before the kids were packed into bed. Then I would spend the next 3-hours cleaning up said mess before the parental units arrived home. You can't get much more fun that that, right? Or we made cookies, which come to find out, children love to do. We also went places (when I could drive), painted, sailed, read, discovered, hiked, created, built, puzzled, playdoe'd and plundered. All in the name of fun, of course.

Which means, I was in high-demand. I had my regular clients on a weekly basis and sometimes they fought over who got "the babysitter". If no one won, I'd take on multiple families. That was a good time! I can't implement myself here with more stories of the water-fighting kind, but I will say, when you are the product of your father who bought out an entire city of their whip cream - in the middle of August - in order to have a neighborhood whip cream fight, well, I certainly can't be blamed now can I? Nope, I sure can't. [Don't try to deny either it, dad! I was there. And then told years later (because I thought you were always innocent and Godlike) that you schemed right along with the other 2.]

Anyhow, in being in such demand, somehow my reputation preceded me in places I didn't know existed, for example, other families. So, I was recommended out of my comfy little circle of babysitting love. Where I'd find myself in places of alien children - those who cried screamed for 6 hours straight; where I thought their lungs would be barfed out at any minute or, in the very least, their brains would explod from crying screeching for 6 hours straight. This alien baby never stopped its yelling. Never. I came to find the child at 4-years-of-earthly-age had never. had. a. babysitter. before. I'm sorry? WHAT?! The kid almost sent me into my own aneurysm and I didn't know the husband yet at my delicate and fragile 13-years of age. I never went back.

Then, there was this alien-nation family. They lived in a small ranch house. It was white with green shutters and a white picket fence. Utopian to some. This in and of itself is not worth mentioning, because people mostly live in houses or in the very least, indoors. The point is that I don't even remember the kid. No. This is what I remember. . . .

I am 13-years old.

I put the kid down for a nap. And in being the fact that at this point in time, the planet was pre-satellite dish service, there wasn't much on TV unless you had cable. In fact, TV's didn't even have remotes. This house had no cable. It was summer. I may have had huge water fights in-house, but I never left the house while the child slept. Not even to see the garden. So, I needed to entertain myself. I was not a nosy teenager, in fact, I didn't really care about the inner-workings of other people, but if there was art, I was inclined.

And art I did indeed find. On their wall in their hallway were 6 black and white photographs. I started to study them. I wasn't understanding what these photographs were supposed to represent. I thought maybe they were some odd mutation of The Rorschach Ink Blots. Black & white photographs. Ambiguous photographs. I was 13 and now I was curious. I kept moving down the line. Each one looked the same, but had subtle differences. I was still utterly confused. I kept studying each one with the hopes of a clue as to what these photographs were. I was going to arrive at incredible insights from these pictures, I just knew it. I was going to be astounded. And, then I arrived at the last picture and it wasn't butterflies, lovers holding hands, puppies or flowers. Nope. It was none of those perfect pretty things.

The pictures were of the lady giving birth to the sleeping child in the next room. Giving. Birth. Black and white photographs of this woman's betty - giving birth. Pictures of crowning and emerging were flat in my face from a woman I had barely met and said "hello" to. I saw her entire world laid out before my very fragile infantile eyes in black and white. And just like that, I found myself in the dark-side trying to figure how to get out.

I was freaked out. Not even remotely fascinated. It was as if I saw Satan himself eating a babies brain. I wanted to spork my eyes. But thank the Gods That Be that my own mind bleached itself over time. That is . . . until, 2 weeks ago. Oh why, oh why couldn't my rememory stay repressed? Being older and far more wiser, I understand that this was their house, her kinker, their baby and what they consider to be their art. But I'm all the more traumatized by it. Couldn't they have a least warned my neophyte 13-year-old brain? Or put the pictures in their own bedroom - where I would dare not wander? And not the public hallway?

Maybe it's the reason I find myself not jumping to the starting line to have a baby today. The damage has been done. It'll take years more to figure out how much.

Obviously, I need to start drinking more. Bam-ah-lam.


Alli said...

WOW! It's amazing what some people put on their walls of art. I do believe that giving birth is an AMAZING thing, and now that I have seen it & have even delivered a baby myself I appreciate it even more....but sharing the photos with everyone...NO WAY...YUCK! I can't imagine all my visitors seeing pictures of my hoo-ha!

That's insane-in-the-membrane!


Alli said...

Oh, and WOW...

I knew you baby sat a lot when you where younger, I just didn't realize how much. You were like the babysitting queen!

I only babysat maybe 6-7 times growing up. After a bad experience with being left with a sick infant & being paid jack-squat I said never again! After that I only would occasionally babysit or help babysit Jess's baby sister....and she was like family anyway.

Godiva Jen said...

Yeah, I was cheaply paid when I first started out, but any money to an 11-year-old is good money. If people didn't pay well, I didn't go back. Those who did, I stayed with them until the kids outgrew me (sad, but true - they got old enough to take care of themselves).

I know some people consider giving birth a beautiful thang, but good Gawd almighty! This sent me into paralysis for, like, hours. And only then I could rock myself back and forth while frothing at the mouth speaking in zombie-tongue.

Of course, here too, I totally never went back. A 13-year-old brain can only take so much.

Ian said...

"Maybe it's the reason I find myself not jumping to the starting line to have a baby today."

You think? Forget my previous advice. In future, when people ask you when you're having kids, just shudder and hand them a card with the url:

Godiva Jen said...

Ian: *laughing!*

Jason said...

I want to know what you saw/did that triggered this memory to resurface....

mindy said...

This is really nasty. Why would someone put that on their wall? I am upset.

Godiva Jen said...

Jason: There were multiple events leading up to the revealing of my memory. First, the husband and I went to see "Knocked Up" with my mom & dad. The ending to that movie sparked a little sparkle of me being 13 in a strange house with even stranger pictures. . . .

My parents are also getting ready to move from my childhood home and we were reminiscing about our lives in the neighborhood and all my babysitting jaunts. . . when BLAM the pictures hit me full on in the car with my parents.

Where I mentioned it and how traumatized I'd been from it. How weird I still think it is. And where I told my dad, "I'm so gonna blog about this."

Mindy: THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO KNOW! WHY? WHY? WHY?! It is upsetting!

Tink said...

Ew. Ew. Ew.

To me, that's akin to having porn on the walls. You just don't do it.