When Your Parents Shrunk


When you were child, your mother or father were Gods and Goddess. Heroes.

Nothing could hurt you, as long as they existed.

They held up the heavens with their hands. They could dip their fingers into the tar of the night sky and swirl it around and startle the stars into a refracted flurry, rippling the firmament. If the moon fell on your head and squashed you like a tombstone, well, no matter! Your mother or father could pluck it off your back and slot it back into place, where it would shine and delight and watch you, like a round, white eye.

How easy it was. How safe it was. Your mother and father were smarter than books and braver than lions, and you were their little mortal ward, their little special Eve or Adam, born in a dark wash of amniotic fluid from their celestial wombs.

I tell you this: there is no greater happiness under the sun than the joy of feeling like a safe little bird in the nest of your parent’s arms. Those moments were good. Those moments were good. Those moments are the ones that make you weep with nostalgia when you look back upon them.

But darkness comes. Growing up happens. Days end, and death awaits.

As you grew, they shrunk, shrunk so small it was astonishing, and you saw them for the mortal beings they were. The ugly, broken, fallible beings.

You realised they never did hold up the sky; only the sky squashed down upon them so they had no choice.

And it was like the carpet had been pulled from underneath your feet. Do you remember the first time you realized everyone is a child, in their hearts? The world is a mad nursery, and we wail and throw toys. No-one knows anything, and being a grown-up is just a prissy little costume people put on to hide the sniveling baby inside.

When my parents were in the process of getting a divorce, and screaming and contorting their hearts into ugly shapes that showed on their faces, and my siblings and I looked on, a hot confused rage in our hearts, my universe tore apart. That’s what happens when deities die. They die, and it upsets the balance, tilts the groove of orbits, make the stars wobble and hearts to lose their gravitational pull to the rest of the body and plummet.

My parents died in my eyes, then, and I’m still mourning. Those are the kinds of deaths you never get over, and never cry about.scared

Sometimes, there is no viler creature than a man. Of course, not all women are angelic little cherubs, and there are countless wonderful, good men (or, at least, I hope there are), but there is something to be said about the terrible fathers that exist, and have existed, in this world.

Perhaps it’s biological, and the male is meant to lose interest once he has passed on his genes, and only the woman is truly infused with the instincts to protect and nurture and love and….care.

But I’ve always had this sneaking suspicion that men are less stronger than women. This may seem sexist, and you’re free to hate me for it, but the little boys inside some men are much more scared than the tight-lipped girls inside women. You can see this fear sometimes flash in their eyes, as they bow their head or scuff their shoe at something. Do voice your opinion, if you disagree with me on this. I won’t mind at all.

Then again, it might just be my own experiences with my father clouding my judgment.

Did you have a good father? The kind that hugged you and pushed you on swings and loved your soul? You are so lucky, you know that?

My heart bleeds for the love I never received. I still dream of a father with a warm, strong chest and a rumbling voice, a father who loved his wife and his daughters. A father who cared. A father who loved. Sometimes, all you want people to do is care.


People who haven’t had children yet often proclaim of the wonderful parents they will be, and how much kinder and better they will be than their own parents. But I think the reality of parenting is simply older children looking after younger children. The latter may be cocky, and strut about, with their knowledge and life experience, and the younger doe-like and innocent and sweet, but in the end, they’re both scared to death.

But, that’s okay. We’re all scared, every one of us. When we close the light and lie down in our beds and think the thoughts we only think in the darkness, we’re all afraid and alone.

And despite that, my childhood had its moments of joy. It wasn’t all thunderclouds. Walking home in the dark after eating at a restaurant, holding my brother’s hand and giggling up at the stars. Running into my mother’s arms and having her kiss my nightmares away. My father buying me a teddy bear from a shop, though that was tainted by my mother gushing at his generosity and enthusing what a wonderful father we had, as if to make herself believe it. Sunlit days at the park, the trees dappling the grass. Icy poles in the summer, and Christmas presents. Tottering with my mother down to the library every weekend and drinking in the words like water.

My father left my mother and his children in poverty, forbid his wife to work and gain independence throughout their marriage, abused her, cheated on her, lied to my siblings and I, but he still gave me a childhood. He still loved, in his own, weak, twisted way, at least in the early days, when he had more idealistic notions of marriage and children. He still gave me the gift of life; I wouldn’t exist right now, I wouldn’t be writing this right now, without him. When I was a baby, I only wanted to fall asleep in his arms, and he would hold me through the night until his muscles ached and stiffened. He cut me oranges into perfect, delicate slices when I was sick.

Sometimes, you have to look at your parents and realise they’re not just figures who exist to support you, and for you to leech off of, but people with their own souls and hearts and feelings and universes between the lobes of their ears. That they’re a person, just like you, no matter how despicable. And, like when you meet other horrible people in life who fondle with your guts and mess them up, the best thing is to move on rather than stagnate and writhe with hate.

You should hug your parents as equals, as organisms existing in this reality together, if you can. I don’t know. That’s the closest I can get to reconciling myself to my parents shrinkage, of them turning from heroes into men and women who hid from the dragons and lied when the townspeople asked.

That dragon is there still, and it can’t be killed. Not by me, not by you. And when we have children of our own and feel its sooty breath down our necks, we’ll smile into their faces and tell them what heroes we are.



4 thoughts on “When Your Parents Shrunk

  1. I had a good father, but I do think good dads are a rarity. My HSP makes me bleed for the people without good fathers who stick around and are kind. My dad is the feeler of my parents though (ISFJ) so I guess it makes sense. He was the youngest out of four siblings, raised largely by his mother and his dad was kind of distant. My mother is an ENTP and I actually think she is kind of critical, plus she used to yell a lot, but I’m pretty sure she had a hormone imbalance. Her parents got divorced when she was very young because her father became an alcoholic and my grandmother was fed up that he wouldn’t do anything (my grandma is an INFP, actually :D). My mom was raised by an overly critical step father who wouldn’t let her do anything, and she didn’t meet her biological father until she was 15. But now he is living in town and he’s weird, but a good grandfather 🙂 I married a man who might be kinda harsh but honestly he’s more sensitive than I am, even though I’m a girl with HSP T_T In conclusion though, I think it all depends. There are two relevant studies I know of that explain some stuff.

    In one study, they looked at what women find attractive. Women in third world countries and in ancient times tend to find more masculine, testosterone-filled men more attractive – you know, the big, aggressive, triangular ones – but it turns out that in first world countries or places with good healthcare, women like ectomorphs with low testosterone and low body fat. The study said it was probably because in rougher places with lower chances of survival, women look for testosterone because it means they have good genes and a smaller likelihood of getting diseases. In places where that is less of an issue, we look for softer men who look like they would stick around and take care of the family. I found that to be very interesting.

    In a more relevant study, they looked at how elephants behaved when the adult males were removed from the herd. They had to cut the study short I think because the young male elephants became so violent that they were goring open an endangered rhinoceros species. They were also bullying the females. When the adult makes were reintroduced, they forced them to behave like elephants again and everyone calmed down. I think the lesson here is that the lack of fathers creates more lack of fathers. It leaves kids angry and perpetuates the problem. Everyone acts like the mother’s role is more important, but they’re both equally vital to a growing kid. We need a mother AND a father to teach us how to be people and how to interact with others. Of course, you’re totally right – parents are still just flesh and blood, but they know just enough to get a kid to adulthood. My parents were both very wise an I’m so happy to have had them. My life would be incredibly lacking if I were without either one.

    • You’re very lucky to have had such wonderful and wise parents. I don’t mean that in an envious or biting tone – it makes me feel rather wistful, that’s all. Both my parents have a strange, childish streak to them, and I’ve often found more wisdom in books and through thinking than their words, few as they are. And I completely agree – both parents are important. Unfortunately, the legal system usually favours the mother more than the father e.g. the mother usually takes custody of the kids, and the father becomes estranged, a sideline figure.

  2. Hey 🙂 I have to go somewhere pretty soon but I couldn’t leave before I said something. I know, I have a bad habit of rushing with these comments. But you just know how to pierce deep within my soul, you know?

    I really wish I was as mature as you when it comes to how I feel about my parents. To start off, I should explain my situation. So, basically, I was adopted. I was taken straight from the hospital to foster parents, who eventually adopted me. My birth mother couldn’t take care of me, she lived on the streets and in shelters and what-not from what I know of her, and I don’t know anything about my birth father. Like, anything at all.
    I’m quite thankful that I was adopted, but my adoptive parents were very old in relativity to me. I just turned 21 and my adoptive mom is 80, turning 81 in December. My adoptive dad isn’t alive anymore, and he actually got alzheimer’s when I was around 7 or 8 and his mind gradually got sicker and sicker as the years went on, until about 2 years ago when he finally passed, but he wasn’t anywhere near coherent for the past few years of his life.
    I have to say, I agree with you about how men can be monsters when they’re angry and uncontrolled. But I can’t ever say I’ve seen that with my adoptive dad. He was one of the most gentle people I’ve ever met. I’m not quite sure what Type he would be through MBTI or any personality tests, but I’m certain he was a strong feeler, because he was so loving when his mind was actually there. I honestly can’t ever remember feeling any negativity as a result of anything he said or did. And if I messed up or something while growing up, he wouldn’t ever get mad, he would talk to me as a person, a human being, and it made whatever lesson I needed to learn stick so much more. Unfortunately, I don’t remember a lot of those years because I was so young at that time, and he wasn’t the same person after he got sick.
    My mom, on the other hand, is very much the opposite and she always has been. Same thing with her, I don’t know what Type she would be but she’s definitely a strong Thinker/Judger, and her and I don’t always get along as a result. I’m not gonna disrespect her or anything, as I don’t currently perceive her to be the same person who adopted me all those years ago, she still helped give me the gift of living a semi-“normal” life. But it took me a long time to realize this. After my dad got sick and my mom was being my mom, I felt very rebellious and stuff. She was very controlling, and over-bearing, the kind of person to say “because I said so” over and over and actually believe that it justified whatever she wished. So, as I said in previous posts, I began engaging in the wrong kind of habits with the wrong kind of people. “Wrong” as in not beneficial towards my life in any way, detrimental actually.
    Nowadays I’m striving to see things from her point of view. She has been there for me, she has stood up for me, she has taken care of me when my own biological mother couldn’t, at a time in her life when she really shouldn’t have had to take on any more responsibilities. I’m very thankful for that.

    So I just want to say thank you again Dreamerrambling, for you insightful posts. You’re such a genius. Please keep pushing, life is never easy as we know, but the world needs people like you, big time. I’ll be back to check on this post again, and I’ll also update you on some other things in my life. But I better get going. Be strong ❤ ❤ ❤

    • Thank you for your kind words, and I’m sorry your relationship with your parents isn’t ideal. I know how you feel – my mother a Judger/Thinker too, and sometimes her life mission seems to be to squash my dreams. But, like you said, mothers do so much for us. Oh, and thank you for reading.

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