Robot girl cooking

When I was a little kid, I imagined myself to grow up to run a restaurant. I used to open the cabinet doors in the kitchen and pretend they were the swinging doors to a restaurant kitchen. I’d write up fake orders and tape them to the door and pretend to cook up delicious meals to my imaginary patrons. When I turned 9, it wasn’t pretending anymore. Mom had left, so Dad assigned the task of cooking to me. He would plan the menu for the week and tape it to the refrigerator. He’d prep the meals and leave me detailed instructions on how to cook them. By the time he came home from work, I’d have a hot meal on the table for him and my brother and sister. Baked stuffed pork chops for 4? No problem! Not bad for 9. My siblings were 16 and 18. I’m not really sure why they didn’t get this job. Well, I know why my brother didn’t…he was a boy. Boys got treated differently in my family. When mom left, it was my sister’s responsibility to babysit me every weekend. Never my brother. He got to go out and do whatever he wanted with his friends while she had to stay home with me, resenting me. I don’t blame her. It’s kind of a shitty deal, just because you’re a girl. I guess that’s why I got the cooking job. I was a girl and I was home after school. I was a “latch-key” kid. I’d let myself in, make a snack, do my homework, and cook dinner. Every night. Same routine. 9 years old, and I was pulling my weight, filling in for mom. I never questioned it. No one did. Whatever Dad said, was. I mean, if we weren’t going to question why mom left, why the hell would we question why a 9-year-old was cooking dinner every night?  At that point, I was so numb, I was like a robot…so it really didn’t matter.

I’m not sure I even know what a normal childhood is anymore….

 

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Dec. 24/16

This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday with Linda G Hill. The prompt today is “cook” and my job is to write “organically”….no editing. Freestyle blabber….Merry Christmas!

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3 thoughts on “Robot girl cooking”

  1. I could have put myself into your nine year old shoes very easily when I was nine, if your situation had been mine. I completely understand your cooking so handily at nine. And with those nine year old eyes, I would understand why the older siblings didn’t get the job.

    I had memories of cooking my parents breakfast in bed on one of their anniversaries before I could read (so I was five). I took their order, cooked the food (egg for Dad, toast, and Sanka for Mom). I couldn’t read the directions on how to make the Sanka, so Mom told me how much coffee to the cup of hot water. At some point, as I was healing, I began to wonder why I got good at cooking so young. I think part of it was wanting to be like Mom (Stockholm syndrome), and part of it was jumping in when she was too depressed to get out of bed and be a mother. There were a lot of things in our house that I had to do because I was “the girl”. And it used to piss me off to no end.

    As an adult, my heart aches for that little girl in you. The more about I learn about my childhood, the more I wonder about it.

    1. I wonder if I was never bothered by it back then because it made me feel like I had some sort of value? I spent all those years feeling worthless and like a burden…this was something I could do to feel needed. Still, I’m sure there were more age appropriate things I could have been doing to make my childhood happier….though I’m sure I wouldn’t have done them…

      1. I’m sure you felt valuable. Anything that gives any sort of purpose or value serves that purpose. And at nine, you couldn’t exactly tell your father no, and insist that your older siblings do it (even though they rightfully should have). And I don’t know about you, but because of how my relationship was with Mom, I was a people-pleasing doormat who did as they were told.

        The more I look at my younger life (that which I’ve been able to see and remember), the more I see the survivor part of me in action. I really have a lot of awe and respect for my little self- at how she figured out how to navigate my mother and stay mostly sane. And that she survived to get me where I am today. (It’s been a process).

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