In Gloria and the Unicorn, Gloria is 6 when she overhears a terrible secret about herself. She’s devastated but doesn’t think to clarify what she heard.
Has that ever happened to you? You overheard something and thought you knew the truth but didn’t actually ask anyone? Then, one day, you find out that what you heard wasn’t really the whole story.
This is true for Gloria but she suffers with her secret a whole year before she is able to let go of the pain it is causing because she sees it from a different perspective thanks to her unicorn friend, Sir Louie.
Secrets aren’t usually a good idea. Especially for children. It’s so important as a parent to keep lines of communication open with our children and teach them that they can talk to us about everything and should tell us anything that bothers them. Miss Libby, the children’s lodge owner, doesn’t know Gloria has overheard this information and therefore can’t help Gloria with the truth.
It takes another year before Gloria actually lets Miss Libby know her secret. Once Miss Libby knows, she tells Gloria the truth and helps clear up any of the misunderstandings Gloria had. Can you imagine believing something was true about yourself for two whole years before learning the truth?
This happens to all of us in different ways though. Often as kids, we don’t understand the grown up world so we comprehend things from our limited perspective. Once we get older, we see the bigger picture and can help our inner younger self heal. It may not be a secret about ourselves like with Gloria but it could just be something that happens in the family; maybe a death, or a parental fight, or something else less traumatic.
For me, I didn’t understand blended families until I was an adult. My Mom had two children from her first marriage–my sister and my brother. Then, she re-married and had me. We were all raised as one family. I never saw their Dad. They never left on the weekends to see him. There was no mention of him. So, I didn’t really know they were my half-sister and half-brother. We were told the truth that we were half-siblings but no one was ever referred to as half-anything and we didn’t refer to each other like that either. In fact, calling them my half anything now feels like I’m calling them a bad name. They are just my sister and brother and they feel the same way towards me.
Anyway, my brother apparently misbehaved every day at school because every day when my Dad got home from work, he would spank him. My brother would wail from the other side of the bedroom door. I cried too. I couldn’t bear hearing him cry. Being the favored child and not being able to stand it any longer, I told my Dad to stop being so mean to my brother. I knew in a limited way that my Dad wasn’t my brother’s Dad but I didn’t really understand why he was being so hard on my brother. Honestly, as a grown up, I don’t “understand” it because my Dad should have acted more like a father and provided love and guidance as opposed to all out “discipline” which bordered on abuse. But, I understand as an adult that feelings in blended families are complicated and not just simple and straightforward.
What about you? What have you understood one way as a child but now as an adult have a different understanding?