Who remembers the first day they were abandoned at Kindergarten? Yes I know we weren’t necessarily abandoned at the tender young age of three or four, but that is what it feels like when you are insecure, shy and afraid of being left behind with a bunch of strangers, and after what has now become apparent I was a huge pain in the arse to some. So Little Girl Lost was I.
I remember vividly the tension in my Mother as she schemed at dropping me of at the place of fun and mayhem. Toys galore play dough, art and crafts, woman with kind calming sounding voices and lots and lots of noise.
My Mother with a gentle edge to her voice, I’ve been here before, my four-year-old antennae went up, something amiss here but at least she’s not yelling at me. This is what happens to children when they are from a fractured family, loaded with insecurities, lots of yelling, accusations, threats, dinners being thrown against the walls, you learned when to duck in my home.
I remember always being afraid of being left behind and abandoned, whenever mother was getting ready to go out, wondering, would we be going to? Or not?
Excitement I was going in the green Vauxhall for a drive, hopefully to visit someone? ‘Yes said Mother, we are going to a place where their will be children you can play with’ heart sinks, that means there will be noise and I will have to talk to someone, I don’t want to go as I don’t want to be alone. See even then I couldn’t decide if it was going to be good or bad, I just knew I didn’t want to be left behind.
It has always baffled my Mother why her little girl was so shy and bereft all the time, we don’t often see what is in fact in front of our faces every day as we are I guess so caught up in the everyday activities of surviving.
Well we arrived at this centre, I so remember like it was yesterday, I can smell my fear, see the carer’s faces, hear the children laughing and playing, recognising the careers calming voices.
But I didn’t:
- Belong here
- I didn’t want to be here
- I didn’t know anybody
- They were making too much noise
- Where has she gone?
- Is she coming back?
- Where can I hide?
Mother was encouraged to go, I was coaxed through the large glass doors out into the yard, where the scene was awash with children laughing and playing. I still thought I didn’t belong her and was now becoming very anxious.
There was such enormous equipment at least in the eyes of a four year old. The noise was, deafening, the sun was too, bright. The lady held my hand and drew me out even more, tears started spilling down my face, distracted horrified by the cacophony of sounds and light. I turned around trying to run back to escape, they held me fast. Gently issuing calming noises, she felt gentle, I clasped onto her leg, looking for an escape route.
The carer left me after she felt I was settled, sucked in, sorry, and then I spotted it, a large round concrete tunnel. I fled to the middle of the tunnel, hugged my knees, head down and howled and howled and howled.
They couldn’t coax me out; no way was I going back out there. Guess what?
Mother had to come back and get me, and I never went back again.
Funny thing is, many many years later, my youngest brother was placed in the same facility, yes I know a facility is like a prison, well it has a wire fence all around it and you can’t escape, or so they thought. My youngest brother Daryl, bless him, did escape and walked all the way home, up and down the hills a good 5 kilometers, across many intersections, along a very busy road, (Blockhouse Bay Road Auckland New Zealand) knocked on the door to be let in. Mother was horrified and they didn’t even know he was missing till Mother rang them.
See I knew it was a bad place to be, my instincts and gut feeling were right. Always follow your instincts.