I sort of had an epiphany over the weekend. I've thought about this idea before, but never realized how deep it really goes. I'm nervous to even try to express it here, because words are sometimes so insufficient.
Since I was nine years old, I have been taking care of other people. Back then, it was my little sister, who came to school when she was seven. I felt like I needed to protect her, be there for her, mother her. I've talked about this particular thing before, but never as it relates to me now.
I had my first child when I was nineteen. I was a kid, really, in more ways than just age. I got married when I was twenty-two, and a year later had my second child.
Now we have four, and they are my job.
I've been in therapy for many months, now, working on growing older. No, not older than my age in years, but older in mind and soul and heart.
My husband was going for awhile, as well, but recently decided that he didn't want to go anymore, because it wasn't working for him fast enough.
Our therapist ages people, based on how they respond to things emotionally, and socially. I was about six years old when I first started going, and have made it to age ten. My husband was also around six years old when he started going, and I'm not completely positive, but it seems to me that he is still six. He didn't go for very long.
SO. We have a married couple, who are both very young emotionally and socially, that are trying to raise four children into functional adults. My hopes for good results are low, and sometimes I don't hope at all.
But here I am rambling, and haven't even gotten to my epiphany yet! Here it is: Because I have basically been a "mother" since the age of nine, and because I was raised in boarding school with no actual parents involved for most of that time, I missed out on something very important. Just being someone's child. Being held, knowing that unconditional love that children should know from their parents, being cared for. And what's lacking is so much more than just an emotional level of needing. It's physical. I want someone to do things for me. Brush my hair, tell me to take a shower and go to bed, even tuck me in at night. I want someone to cook healthy meals for me, and insist that I eat them. I want someone to make boundaries for me, and enforce them. I want the knowing that most children have, the knowing of unconditional love. It's this longing that I am quite sure will never be fulfilled, and the emptiness that exists there, that thing that was missing all those years ago, sometimes I feel like I'm drowning in it.