Home » On Memoir Writing » Memoir Writing: Discover Your Life: Imprinting

Memoir Writing: Discover Your Life: Imprinting

What are the images and perceptions we gained from ourselves as children from our parents? They instilled in us some of the first police we have about ourselves. (Remember, if you get a glimmer of some memory peaking in at the edge of your mind grab hold of it! Don’t let it sneak away!)

There is no doubt that we grew up with love in our house hold.  Although I am pretty sure it came almost all from my dad.  He would give us hugs and piggy backs to bed.  He would play games with us, trapping us in his legs and giving us whisker rubs on our checks.

Dad with three of us. I am the one with the bottle.

Mom booted us outside so she could have some quiet in the house.  She only ‘hugged’ me twice as a child.  They were not really hugs.  I just got to lay my head on her lap once cause I was tired on the bus ride from Rose Valley to Saskatoon.  The other time I was on her lap.  As an adult she hugs me all the time though.  When she sees me hugging my kids she says that she never thought to hug us girls when we were little.

This is an old picture but it is one of my favourites of mom and I.

Going down town with dad was like being a superstar when I was a kid.  All four of us girls in tow as dad led the way down the street, in and out of stores.  We were Hjalmar’s girls – his “four dolls” as we were often refered too.  I sware dad took us to town just to get attention.  He was otherwise a very quiet and reserved man.

One thing I wish dad never taught me was the notion that what I had to say was not important.  My dad is 52 years older than I am.  He raised my three sisters and I with the idea that children are to be seen and not heard.  When we speak it was only to answer the questions we were asked and not to say anymore.  If I was caught carrying on then I got a firm squeeze on the shoulder or arm or even plainly said to me, “That’s enough now.”  This left me feeling embarrassed and ashamed of myself.

This message is deep within me.  I am attempting public speaking lessons with Toastmasters and let me tell you it pops up.  My voice trails off when I assume I am ‘carrying on’.  It is going to be hard  habit to break.

In summary I grew up with the two messages of be quiet and listen to others while being cute.  Too this day when my husband says I am cute it drives me batty.  It feels like the biggest insult.

He also taught me to be of service to others no matter the cost of myself but that is probably a whole book.  Hey, I guess it might be Sunlight.  Hmm…

Back to this blog post.  What messages did you receive from your parents as children and how does it impact you now?

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3 thoughts on “Memoir Writing: Discover Your Life: Imprinting

  1. “We were Hjalmar’s girls – his “four dolls” as we were often refered too. I sware dad took us to town just to get attention.” — that made me smile.

    I too recent knowing that I better not “carry on.” I always wondered why my excitement wasn’t important enough to be expressed. Were we all trying to maintain a somber mood or what?

  2. You just shook loose a few memories for me and made me think. I have issues with people seeing me cry in public sometimes for similar reasons. My dad did not like tears. And I have been a peacemaker to a fault since I was six years old. Trying to get better at mining memories and writing them down. Thank you.

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