What story does your family always tell about you?
If this was an onstage play or a narrative excerpt, it would be titled “Grape juice and life lessons from a 5 year old.”
The house my mom and I live in we moved into in April of 1991. My brother was just two weeks shy of turning one, and I was less than a month away from my fifth birthday. Here’s the first mistake of parents with little kids who buy a new house: having a white tile, white grout kitchen floor.
Honestly, that should be enough to predict the rest of the plot.
During our first few months in the house, I tried to be super careful of everything I did in the kitchen. BUT, one night we had grape juice at dinner. And somehow, the cup got tangled in my sleeve or neared the edge of the table, and knocked over.
Purple juice. White tile, white grout floor.
My parents leaped up to begin cleaning the mess, and said nothing to me in that moment. When the finished, and looked up, I was already sitting in the corner.
They had never before yelled at me or punished me in my life. Ingrained in my head, I had learned that when kids are bad, they sit in the corner. I was choosing to punish myself, at age 5.
My parents laughed about it then and continue to tell people now, because in truth, that story sums up who I am pretty well.
I am 26 years old, and I still set the bar (often unattainably) high every single day, for every goal I set. And when I don’t reach it, I do punish myself. In different ways than when I was 5, but with the same mindset.
I guess some of who we are really does develop when we’re young.
[If you’re a parent, remember that =)]
Amanda Kasper is a writer, reader, quote lover, CASA advocate, and non-profit believer, seeking space as a lifelong learner, passionate lover, and irreplaceable friend. Amanda tweets at @AKasper513 and blogs over at “& this I believe”