Week 3 Blog Assignment
Personal Childhood Web
The People that nurtured and cared for me as a child:
Mom. It almost always starts with Mom doesn’t it? In my case, My Mom, Lillian Michiko, was a stay-at-home Mom during the early childhood of my two brothers and I. In our culture, there is really a “pay-it-forward” type of mentality. Parents make great sacrifices for their children. My Mom had aspirations to work, but waited until we were old enough to be left alone before she went to work helping my Dad at his office. I can remember her being sick only once during our childhood, because I seem to remember my Dad making lunch for us on that singular day. My Mom loved to work in her garden. She had a fish pond in the back yard with koi and goldfish. To this day, she’s 87 years-old, she still does the occasional plant or flower arrangement. I think that her influences on my development include my appreciation for nature and animals, and my never-too-sick-to-do-something attitude. She was nurturing in the “classic: mother’s way. Volunteering at our school, team Mom for our sports teams, Cub Scout Den Mother. She also passed on some “issues” to us – rather poor boundaries, indirect communication of needs, and a rather excessive selflessness. But it’s a part of who I am, and I carry the baggage with determination. Mom made us special by her presence, her vigilance, the generosity of her time and the sacrifice of her needs that we will probably never fully appreciate. She had us believing that we were the best, the smartest, the nicest. She convinced us that we could do anything we wanted to do. She always set in my mind that I was the best “Ni-chan”, big brother, for my siblings.
Dad. My Dad, Hideo, was actually quite the cool dude. He was an athlete in high school and in the military. During our childhood, he was in a bowling league and a golf association. In the Japanese-American community he was well known for his basketball talents. I didn’t get those talents, but I did develop an appreciation for sports and physical activity. He would take us to the park and hit fly-balls to us. He would take us bowling and golfing and fishing and to the basketball courts. To this day, both of my brothers and I are physically active. My Dad was also extremely purposeful. When we would go to visit our cousins, the car would be full of gas, the doors open and the engine running. He seemed to know the distance to every destination. Unlike me, he was polished. He never cussed or drank or goofed around. He was also very private. He eventually became known for his bear hugs. From him, I have gotten my discipline for work and my private nature. He had high expectations for us, which was his way of nurturing. Both of my brothers became MDs. On the “tough side” this private nature and discipline can be a bit off-putting to some. His gift to us was an expectation of effort. I remember being in Latin 4 in High School. I had enough points before my Final to have an A in the class. I still pulled an “all-nighter”. I take my responsibilities very seriously. I am still not quite sure if that last part is a gift or a curse!
Uncle Tak (Taketo). This was my Mom’s brother. We saw him several times a month – whenever we went to visit my cousins and Grandma. He provided us with a bit of a lighter-side, a more playful nature. Later, when I went off to college, I would occasionally visit him at the family store and help unload the delivery trucks. He gave us a sense of what an extended family looked like. In his house lived my Auntie Kazie (Kazuko), Grandma, Uncle Lloyd who was disabled due to a childhood illness, and my closest Cousins, Carol, Frank, Nancy and Elaine. They had a huge yard and we would all play outside all Sunday when we visited, coming in only for meals and after it was dark outside. My Auntie still lives in that house, although I haven’t been there in many years now. I still think of that vast outdoor yard when the weeds are high in Summer and the smell of hot, dry earth is in the air. His gift to me was the gift of time. He would explain the family market business, fix my Cousin Frank and I sandwiches when we helped in the store. Perhaps he was a “teacher” role model of sorts. I suppose my “troublemaker” nature can be attributed to this side of the family!
Cousin Naomi. Naomi is the cousin that always humored us when we were little. She would let us play with our Hot Wheels and show off our games. I guess she was the one who gave me a sense of being a kid at heart. She’s important to our family because she and my Cousin Laura are the ones that are closest to my Mom, now that she is older and spends all her time at home. Naomi and Laura will take my Mom out for lunch. They keep her connected to my Dad’s side of the family.
I suppose that that’s all I can talk about. Like I said, we were a private family. My childhood was during the era of Super-8 film – threaded through a labyrinth before being shown on the white walls. We never transferred any of those things to DVD or any current technology – it’s unlike our family to do such a thing! That’s probably a bit tough on my Mom, who probably would have appreciated a more social life. But we never really talked about that sort of thing. That’s the hard part of being private and disciplined in our family. All of our feelings are for the most part – secrets.