It's easy, when you're a child, to say, "I hate you, Mom!" Or, "You're not listening to me, Dad!" Or, "You don't understand!" And you can't ever swallow the pill you're given. "You'll understand some day." Nope. That's impossible. I'm a child, and I know better. You're just a stupid adult.
Sometimes they're right. Sometimes they're wrong.
I remember when I was nine or ten. I was playing ball with my cousin across the street on the Prairie Path. It was time for us to go home, so I got ready to cross the street. I glanced back and forth and crossed when I saw no cars. I came home to my mom screaming at me for not looking both ways. But I did. I didn't turn my head, but I looked both ways. I screamed and cried at her, but she never bought it.
I see her point of view today. She was deranged because of her own perceptions. It's understandable when you look back at it from the ripe old age of 40.
Another time, with my dad, we were at his girlfriend-at-the-time's family reunion (she eventually became his second wife). We were driving around, and I was in the back with my cousin and my soon-to-be stepmom's brother. I was stuck in the middle. I hate being in the middle. It's uncomfortable for me to hold my legs together. I was in physical pain. So when the time came to get back in the car, I begged Dad not to let me be in the middle. He thought it was because I didn't want to be next to his soon-to-be brother-in-law because I thought he smelled. That wasn't even a factor. I was tired of holding my legs together. I tried to explain, but he didn't buy it. I got stuck in the middle again.
I see his point later. Maybe I could have been a bit more subtle. I liked the guy who would eventually be my step-uncle. He played the Simpsons boardgame with me. But perception changed everything. The kids are rude and explicit, and only adults can dictate reality.
It's the whole cops-think-the-teens-are-lying syndrome from 'Eighties slasher films.
But conversely, there are the things where the adults were right. When I was five, my grandparents were having the roof redone, and the roofers just flicked their smokes down below. I found one and pretended to smoke it. Sure enough, Mom cleaned my mouth out with soap. Then there was the time I went camping with Dad. He only ever struck me twice, and this was the first time. Looking back, I totally understand why. I went off on my own. He couldn't find me and panicked. In his panic, he slapped me several times on my bottom. The number one fear of a parent is losing their child. He went crazy, and I completely understand it now. I hated him at the time, but now? I get it.
I went to visit my grandfather's grave recently. I sat down and had a chat with him. Look, I know that he didn't hear me. I don't believe in the afterlife. It just made me feel better. I told him if he ran into Mom and Dad, to tell them I'm sorry for all the times I scared them. It's not about reality. It's about therapy. Aaaaaaaaand maybe just hedging my bets.
But it was 100% about love.