When some people recall their first childhood memories, they may think of an enjoyable birthday party or their first day at school, perhaps their first shiny new bike.
Some of us have very diverse memories that have consequently shaped their personalities. Whether it is their sense of humour, sociability, confidence, or anxieties - Childhood memories shape character.
I thought I would share an early significant memory which I consider as shaped my character, both in a positive and negative sense.
For as long as I can remember, my parents argued constantly. As a child I always felt on edge, I was a content child but did not always feel at ease, the mood at home was volatile.
I remember one weekend; my dad decorated the Livingroom with wallpaper. A few days later my mum and dad had an argument, during the argument, my dad partially tore a strip of wallpaper away from a wall and started to flick a cigarette lighter at it, he threatened to set the house on fire if my mum didn't shut up.
It was not the loveliest of experiences for a small child to witness, but it was a typical day for me and as a child I didn’t know any better.
My first memory
When I was around eight years of age, I was in a town carpark with my parents, it was a typical British rainy day. I can remember my mum holding her umbrella over the both of us while we were getting out of my dad’s car. My dad walked away to pay some bills while my mum and I went into some shops.
After we had finished shopping, my mum and I walked back to my dad’s car. I envisage this was a planned meeting point after we had finished shopping. My dad didn't return to the car park and as the rain became heavier, my mum became angrier. She told me to wait near the car and look after the shopping bags while she went to find him.
After she went to look for him, my mum caught my dad placing a bet on a horserace at the bookmakers which led to a heated argument. I can still visualise them both walking back towards me in the carpark while my mum was hitting my dad with her umbrella. My dad walked past me, got into his car, and drove away. My mum shouted for him to stop the car. Obviously, she did not want to walk home in the fierce rain with all the shopping bags.
I can remember my dad had to follow the one-way system in the car park to get to the exit, this forced him to turn around and drive back. As my dad drove towards us, my mum grabbed me by my coat hood and held me out in front of the path of my dad’s oncoming car. I think she only did this to force my dad to stop the car. Luckily, he did stop. As a young child it was very frightening, but I do recall that I didn’t cry.
This and countless other childhood experiences have shaped who I am as an adult. I have been diagnosed with severe anxiety and sometimes go into depressive states after the slightest situation triggers me.
On a positive note, I am now a father of four daughters and my childhood experience has taught me how to not raise children. It is safe to say, my daughters will never suffer experiences like I have.
I also have the most loving and supportive wife who supports me when I am going through the dark times – She is amazing!
If it wasn’t for my parents, I would not be the kind, generous and caring man I am today. If it wasn’t for the support of my wife and my daughters, I would not be alive today.