We seem to be so quick to blame who we become on our past and our childhood and whilst there are unending cases of lives being damaged by events in the past (some irreparably so), there are also a huge number of cases where victims haven’t allowed history to repeat itself and have created a positive and blessed life for their children and in turn, for their children’s children and so on.
My life happens to be a positive one that could have been so different had history repeated itself. I am a happy, contented wife and mother looking back on a childhood filled with love and great memories. A stable upbringing prepared me for adulthood with enough skills and learned knowledge to equip me with all the things I needed to become the person I wanted to be.
So you would assume I had great parents and you would be 100% correct. My mum and dad are great. They have always poured love over me and my brother and although there were bumps in the road, mainly teenage angst, mid life crisis behaviour and your bog standard mother/daughter, father/son, mother/son and father/daughter collisions, we are a happy, contented unit who continue to achieve and build on what has gone before.
On that assumption you would also probably assume that my parents had great parents but that is where history does not match the present day. My mum and dad were both born to Polish citizens who had survived the wickedness of World War II. Both families had experienced negative treatment at the hands of occupying forces and I will never know the full extent of the atrocities my grandparents experienced and witnessed. England was a fresh start, away from those memories and for my dad history stayed in Poland. His parents closed the door on what the war did to them and provided my dad with a happy, loving childhood in North London within a tight Polish community.
For my mum however, history didn’t escape her. She was born to an alcoholic, abusive father who did everything he could to damage and break her and her twin brother. They grew up in the British military with their saving grace being a doting mother and boarding school. Home life was beatings and demoralisation. If my grandfather wasn’t taking his frustrations out on them, they would witness him taking them out on my grandmother. Constantly told they were ‘stupid’ and ‘pointless’, his recognition of what he did came too late.
My mother was an abused child but I was not. With strength of character not to become the person her father drilled into her she would, my mum has not let history repeat itself. Not once has she raised her hand to me, I don’t ever remember her telling me I couldn’t be what I wanted to be and I have never felt what she must have felt as a child, terror, loneliness and neglect. Even after a serious accident, which left her with Post Traumatic Stress and 10 years of depression, I never had to fear her or hide from her.
I cannot thank my mum enough for tearing up her history book and re-writing mine because if she hadn’t I would be sitting here writing a very different story about a very different life where history had repeated itself and would have been just like hers.
I love you mum for being strong and determined to create the life you did for us. You always say you are not perfect but you don’t have to be perfect, you did enough not only for us, but for our children and their children and so on because you didn’t let history repeat itself, you changed it.