World in Her Eyes

It’s a peculiar thing how being raised in a large family can impact one so much. Some days I think the size of my family has minimal influence. Then there are days where I can’t get over how much it does determine who I am.

This past weekend we attended two/deux/dos two year old birthday parties. It was fun to watch the kids interact with each other. Not only was the weekend about birthdays, but apparently it was also about getting naked. We witnessed a Filipino festival complete with traditional dance rituals. It was very cool, no pun intended. We saw lots of skin and discovered our daughter enjoys lumpia. Later in the day at the second party, the young girls decided it made sense to celebrate in their birthday suits. Spontaneous celebrations erupted with little girls running around naked. I was careful to not appear in any of the photos taken of the naked children. Next thing you know my face would be plastered on a website featuring inappropriate gestures men make.

All this naked stuff got me thinking about myself again. Certain life lessons were overlooked when I was a youth. The social interaction as a youngster involve mainly my immediate family. Perhaps this is why I do clip my fingernails in public. Maybe this explains why I rarely left the state of Washington. Travel isn’t cheap when you have a heard of children.

Raising a child is a lot of work. I enjoy being part of a big immediate family, yet there’s part of me that wishes to have experienced more of life at a younger age. Not only can you not travel so much with a large family, but you’re not afforded good quality one-on-one time with your parents or siblings. Everything is done as a group, which is probably why I shun anything group related to this day.

Thank You notes — think my mom ever had a chance to write those?

Books — I was fortunate to have books read to me as a child, but there still wasn’t enough emphasis on reading. Sports, sports, sports! I so want to be a bookworm, but it’s still a struggle for me.

Camping — discovering the great outdoors didn’t happen until I reached my teenaged years. It only happened then because I vowed my dedication to Jesus and went on a church adventure in the Olympic Mountains. Despite the constant mention of how wonderful things are because of Him. I, me, still enjoyed himself immensely.

Singing — nobody in my family can sing. Maybe it’s the sports thing, but maybe it’s also because learning music/singing requires patience. Seven kids in a house is chaos.

Wiping — come on dad, show me the proper way to wipe? Don’t make me learn this wiping stuff and the birds & the bees on my own in my mid 30s. So unfair.

If this doesn’t paint a romantic picture of who I was and where I’m going, then I don’t know what will. In order to look forward, we’ve got to look back. Our upbringing is who we are today. It sticks with us for the rest of our life, much like the sight of naked in-laws.

I guess my whole point to this post is how parenthood makes me feel like a tourist in my lifelong hometown. On some level it makes me sad how little of the city I was introduced to as a child, but the good thing is I’m a relatively young buck of 36 years with plenty of time for discovery ahead.

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About lessinges

Seattle native, discovering life! I like ice cream, cold cereal, and The Amazing Race.
This entry was posted in Baby Singe, Don't Quit Your Day Job, Grown-ups, Storytelling. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to World in Her Eyes

  1. Amanda says:

    I like that that statement : parenthood is making me feel like a tourist in my own lifelong hometown.
    I come from the opposite sort of family to you with only one younger brother. But I too feel like a tourist with my parents taking Aaron and I to all the places they took my brother and I when we were kids.

  2. jaded says:

    The town I grew up in had a small population and little to tour. I think that’s what attracted my parents to it. Well, that and living close to family.
    Seeing a place through new eyes allows you to see things you’ve long taken for granted.

  3. sari says:

    People always think I’m a lot younger than I am, I fully and heartily thank my kids for that.
    PS we had to warn our neighbors when they moved in two years ago NOT to look over the wall unless they wanted an eyeful of naked kid. It’s epidemic. We just plant tall leafy trees, so far, it works. 🙂
    PSS I think a lot of families don’t get the “necessary” upbringings somehow. I learned how to clean but not a lot else.

  4. SM says:

    I find it interesting that books and music are two of the things you feel you missed out on. But do you really think that has anything to do with the size of your family? I’m thinking it probably has more to do with the interest in said activities to your parents. Were your parents musically inclined? If not, then why would it matter to them if their children were? I know that music was and is probably the most important thing to both of my parents and ensuring that we were surrounded by music which is why all of us are musical in one way or another.
    All that being said, there were some things that weren’t important to my parents and we weren’t exposed to them until we were older and around friends. Like 4th of July and fireworks – my parents didn’t buy us fireworks. Now all of us are obsessed with them and have huge 4th of July parties and spend way more than we should on blowing shit up.
    What I’m trying to say is that maybe it isn’t necessarily the size of your family that hindered you from experiencing certain things early on.
    Also, I too feel like I’m experiencing everything in my hometown/state for the first time now that I have a little one. It really makes things more enjoyable. In my opinion.

  5. churlita says:

    No matter what your upbringing, you’re going to miss out on something. I have two kids and that seems to work for me. My oldest daughter is sure she wants a much bigger family. it could just be a grass is greener thing.

  6. I’m not sure about you, but I’ve found that I’ve been able to experience childhood all over again via this parenting experience.
    I came from a relatively small immediate family – myself and a sibling – yet my parents were pretty unadventurous and we never did much of anything other than hang our with cousins. Although I’m grateful for those experiences in and of themselves, I think the fact that we never went camping, never went anywhere fun-by-kid-standards on vacation, never went hiking, rarely went skiing, never water skiid, etc – is the exact reason I make every effort to expose my kids to all of these experiences and more.
    I wonder if it has less to do with the size of our families and more to do with the parenting styles of our previous generation versus the parenting styles of today? Dads, for example, are generally speaking a million more times engaged in the parenting role than my father was. He thought of his job as “bringing home the bacon”. And our society seems to be hyper sensitive these days about what we expose our kids to (activities, crazy themed birthday parties, outrageous family vacations). It’s part of the whole “bigger is better” mantra our society has fallen prey to over the last two decades, I guess.
    Okay – rambled on enough here … sorry!

  7. egan says:

    Amanda – the one that sticks with me the most is the local zoo. Some animals are still in the same location as when I was a tot. Then there are brand new exhibits that get my daughter so excited. It’s really a great thing to witness.
    Jaded – a “little tour”? Do mean your town had an Eiffel Tower replica or something? I get the family thing even more now than ever before. I understand why families tend to live near one another.
    Sari – kids really do keep us young. Now I need to use my daughter to keep my ass back in shape. Maybe I could run around the city naked at night as my form of exercise. If I warn the neighbors, we should be good.
    SM – books and music aren’t the only things? They just happened to pop in my head while typing the post. As many have said though, nobody can expose their children to everything.
    You do have a great point. My parents aren’t really musically inclined so that could explain things. In my view though, the size of the family does matter because when you have seven kids… convenience trumps almost everything else. If four of your kids swim, then you don’t have to find carpools to gymnastics. Typing this post really made me think about how we got by. I have no clue how my parents did it. My mom may still be paying for our upbringing today, but I’m sure it’s something she has no complaints about. Oh, what were you saying?
    The hometown thing is so true. I love it. Normally I would think the Seattle Center (the dated grounds where the Expo of 1962) was boring. However, Baby Singe loved it. The fountain was a big hit and there are many things to see and do there.
    Churlita – I do think it’s a grass is greener thing. Oftentimes I would spend the night at friends who only had one or two siblings because it was so much quieter at their houses.
    Chaos Control – you raise some very great points about generational differences. The roles of the parents has evolved so much just from our own upbringing. I too wish I was treated to more trips to the mountains, parks, zoo, or anything that wasn’t a pool or baseball field. I will say this though, I learned how to navigate the big city of Seattle based on all those trips to sporting events in my youth. Rambling is good! Thanks for the visit.

  8. Jen says:

    Now I want to be a parent. I really appreciate the excitement in children when they see/learn/experience something new. Gets me all excited again!
    I have 2 sisters and have no clue how my life would have been different if a few more were added. My parents encouraged us to do everything we were interested in. I played soccer, basketball, baseball, volleyball, was in girls scouts. Note no music for me either. I regret it, but it again isn’t something that interested my parents or me as a child. I am trying to learn my first instrument now (zills) and it is not easy for me.

  9. SM says:

    Ha. Yes, I realize that books and music aren’t the only things and that you were just giving us a sample. And I definitely agree that size of a family does play a part, but not all of it. Which I think you kind of agree with. Convenience is a huge thing, for sure, but it also comes down to importance of something to the parents. If four kids swim but it’s important enough to the parents that the other three go to gymnastics, they will figure out a way to get them there. That’s all I’m saying. But I think you get that.
    I think it’s good to write or talk about stuff like this as parents. Because it helps give perspective and allows you to figure out things that will work for you as a new parent and what won’t. And sometimes you figure out that maybe things weren’t so bad when you were a kid.

  10. Felisa says:

    I didn’t know until this year that there are Filipino festivals in Seattle. I love that she loves lumpia! Haha that’s too cute. 🙂
    I think regardless of how hard our parents try to make our childhood amazing, we’ll always feel like we missed out on something. I’ve STILL never been skiing and I know for a fact that I’m taking my kids on ski trips in the distant future… And even though having a HUGE family sounds chaotic, I’ve always wished there were more of us (I have a younger brother and an older sister).
    I think it’s great that your daughter’s life is making you look back and think about your own. It kind of makes me excited to have my own kids in the future… Now if only I weren’t horrified about the idea of raising children wrong…

  11. emma says:

    Um… You don’t know how to wipe? There’s a story just in that. Dang.
    I love that you know you can still do all the things you think you missed out on as a kid. We’re never too old to explore new avenues!

  12. Cléa says:

    Birds and bees in mid 30s… ha! And wiping? I thought you counted that one time and blogged about it!

  13. big bro says:

    Hhmm…I didn’t think there were rules for wiping for men. I understand for women that is not the case, front to back…but I’d rather not linger on this topic.
    Interesting thoughts on your experiences, I think you should blame Ethan (joke!).
    When i reflect on any of my past it’s with the lyrics to Oasis running through my head,
    “And so Sally can wait, she knows it’s too late as we’re walking on by
    Her soul slides away, but don’t look back in anger I heard you say.”
    I don’t hear anger per se, but realize that where you are now, wife/child/home, have happened because of what you did and didn’t get.
    Change one part and you change everything else…

  14. egan says:

    Jen – there really is something to be said for experiencing life through the eyes of a child. It’s eye opening. It’s like when your good friend from out-of-town comes for a visit. You learn so much more about the place you call home. Zills? What are those?
    SM – you’re correct on all of this. Blogging about parenting does conjure up childhood memories, most positive. It most certainly does allow you realize how good (or bad) things were as a child. I feel fortunate I had such a good childhood considering the size of my family.
    Felisa – you have all the time in the world to adjust to the idea of parenting. You’ve got plenty of time on your hands. And, believe it or not… most parents really don’t have a clue what they’re doing either. How would we until we actually go down the parenthood path? I know of a couple Filipino festivals in the city. It was really fun.
    Emma – it’s very true, we’re never too old to truly experience life. Whether I float down the Grand Canyon as an adult or a child really doesn’t make much of a difference. Time is still very much on my side… yes it is. We’ll avoid the wiping topic.
    Cléa – I will spare you the wiping talk. The birds and the bees never really got addressed by my parents. I just put two and two together. Sex is natural, sex is good…
    Big Bro – I won’t blame Ethan. Heck he’s going to be in town soon so I best behave. He’s a good bro as are you. So if I became a player I could get my own reality TV show about the seven kids I unknowingly fathered?

  15. Jen says:

    Zills are finger cymbals for use in belly dancing. 🙂

  16. Miss Wipes A Lot says:

    Here is the post I mentioned today.

    If it makes you feel any better, I also learned things as an adult that I should have been taught as a child. Remember, I was an only child. It’s not like they could have gotten me mixed up with a sibling. They just dropped some balls, completely. I chalk up a lot of parental mistakes to being young and inexperienced. When their older and more experienced then their tired,and trying to deal with their own problems and raise a kid. It’s tough gig. Thankfully most parental mistakes only traumatize us a little bit, and leave us feeling confused at times, but no real damage is done. ha!
    The birds and the bees? I learned this as a young kid from older kids on my school bus. Given a choice, I think i preferred this method. My mom had an odd way of discussing things with me.

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