A Way to Cope With Difficulties in Childhood
A few days ago I met a cousin who I really had longed to see. As a child, I loved his family especially his mother, my aunt and his three brothers and I still do. They were so lively and funny the three of them older than me and the little one like the baby brother I would have loved to have had.
My cousin and I talked about our childhood and him being 6 years older than me, his memory goes further back than mine. When together the four brothers make so much fun that they have to interrupt each other with a new joke when one of them is catching his breath.
Their father was like that too at parties and could entertain a whole company of people at the family gathering. In their childhood, things weren’t always so funny though. He had started a plastic factory immediately after the WWII, and all his energy was used at the factory.
My aunt never knew at what time he came home. He expected the hot meal to be ready, but he returned home two or three hours later than he had said. He also required a very high standard for cleaning the house. My aunt had to vacuum clean every day, and once a week she had to clean the house in-depth with another woman who came to help her. Once my uncle came home and went directly to the sofa cushions and beat them together letting the dust be spread all over the living room. At the time I am sure it wasn’t funny for my aunt.
The boys had to go from their school by bicycle to the factory a distance every day to collect some money for their mother to use for food. Only a little amount at a time. After the visit to my cousin, it dawned on me that all their making fun of everything was a way to cope with their father. I think that they disarmed him with their quick, humorous response to his sometimes crazy reactions in their youth. All the four sons are keeping together today and the three of them work together at their father’s factory.
At their mother’s funeral, the sad atmosphere was lifted by what one of the brother’s said at the gathering after the ceremony in the church.
Today we are gathered here because of my brother’s ninety years’ birthday. Please help your self with coffee and sandwiches.
When they were at their mother’s house, they tried not to get any of the vases, cups etc. It might sound disrespectful but these brothers loved their parents, and they just used their humour like this all the time.
I also had a father who had to control us to survive. Instead of making a humorous response to his behaviour, I developed a fear of showing who I was and what I felt. I am still training on being brave enough to react honestly and without anger or fear in stressed situations.