I like sitting in traffic. Driving is calming to me. Freeing. Traffic allows me focused thought.
I sat recently and had a series of realizations I hadn’t given much time to where before.
There are two things I consistently tell people. I hate surprises, and my sister is more my mother than my mother ever was. Seemingly random, I know. But the two thoughts struck me. Why? To both. What is the core reason I don’t like surprises? What did my sister do to make me feel her maternally?
Growing up my mom never played with us. Not that I can recall. She locked us out of the house or locked herself in her bedroom. I can’t recall a time she was ever engaging with us except at holidays when the whole family played board games.
My sister however encouraged so much more play and imagination. She walked us to the creeks nearby. To pick blackberries or visit stores we loved. Sometimes she engaged us in video games even though I suspect she never enjoyed it much. One of my fondest memories of her is when she helped my little brother and I cut and paint huge Gatorade bottles to make them into terrariums for caterpillars we found.
She encouraged my first experiences with jewelry making.
And here my thoughts tie in with surprises. My mother was always terrible with surprises. She always took words or ideas of things she thought I would like or wanted me to like and bought and gave items that way. I don’t know if my mom to this day understands what I like, because she’s too busy pushing what she likes on me.
And when I obviously didn’t enjoy what she’d gotten me I was relentlessly guilted. How could I not appreciate something she’d spent so much time on? How could I not love and adore anything I was given by her?
So I learned to hate surprises, because I hate disappointing and letting people down.
My sister, however, liked to play a game with presents. She liked to have me ask questions. Try and get me to guess what it was days and weeks before I opened them. The gifts were always in themed layers. Small but bountiful surprises in many boxes and bags. I always loved what she got me. And to this day I still do.
But ptsd makes the bad linger more than the good. I love doing things and surprising my loved ones. Yet I often refuse or deter them from surprising me. My surprises are often done with deep asking and consideration towards the person wants and needs. Never random. But, I think I often feel no one would put that much energy into surprises for me. If my mother couldn’t even be bothered to, why would anyone else?
But people have. My sister did. Still does. And even if she does something on a random whim and I don’t like it? She never guilts me. Never makes me feel like she’s wasted time or thought on me. It’s as simple as being mistaken. Because everyone is wrong sometimes, even about loved ones.