I hate fruitcake. I know I’m not alone in this but it’s true. I mean it looks awful and the taste is even worse – who thought this would ever be a delicious holiday treat? I think there’s a reason they added creative designs on the tin, but even that can’t save it – It’s just plain disgusting. This is reason enough I guess to dislike this dessert but I actually despise it. It’s been this way since my childhood.
There was a fruitcake tin that sat on the coffee table in our living room growing up. As far back as I can remember it was ALWAYS there. I was too young to think to question it or realize the power it had over our family. I would see my parents reach for it occasionally, but I never thought twice about it. It was a normal, permanent fixture – like the couch or lamp.
In some ways we were the average family. My father worked in shotcrete (also known as gunite) mainly for local swimming pool companies like Shasta or Paddock Pools. Cement, sand and water would be mixed and then be “shot” through a large, high pressure hose. His job required he add a hard, dense layer of cement to line the pool. It was a very physically demanding job that has taken a toll on his body. My mother was a stay at home mom for many years, but eventually went back to college and earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree.
On the weekends it wasn’t unusual to have family and friends come visit. Friday nights typically was spent with relatives. I remember watching TV shows like Dallas with my cousins while my aunts, uncles and parents would be in the kitchen or backyard. Saturday nights was open for everyone. More often than not they would host parties and our house would be filled with people, music and food.
My job would be to watch over all the kids that came over (I guess working with kids was always meant to be). At these parties my parents (and a select few) would open the fruitcake tin many times, and then head to the backyard. Initially I would enjoy spending time with my cousins and other kids, but the point in the evening always arrived when that would change. Always.
People say that marijuana (or pot or buds or whatever you choose to call it) is a harmless drug and should be legalized. You are completely entitled to your opinion – I’m just sharing my story. As the adults decompressed from their week by drinking and getting high – we were left alone. I’m not exaggerating when I say that a herd of buffaloes could have charged through the living room and the adults wouldn’t have noticed (unless of course a buffalo blocked the fruitcake tin).
It was during this time that the predators showed their ugly faces.
Something in me was compelled to guard over every child in my home. It seemed impossible (because it was). Watching, observing, trying to figure out adult motives and maneuver around it – completely overwhelming! Keeping kids corralled in one room so it would be easier to watch everyone was difficult to manipulate. I think I taught myself a lot of classroom management techniques as it’s called in Early Childhood Development. Keep in mind I was a child myself, and feeling determined but so inadequate to do this. By the end of the evening I was mentally and physically exhausted.
I wasn’t always successful.
I am not blaming child molestation on marijuana. I’m saying that in MY life it never brought anything good. It was my parent’s choice to bring it in our home, it was their choice to smoke it, and it was their choice to neglect us. If this substance wasn’t a factor in my story – would it have still happened? Maybe.
I just know that it always led to poor parenting choices for them. It was a distraction. It NEVER helped them to become better parents. Their desire and love of it caused them to let their guard down. In the end, it played a part of what destroyed my life and the lives of other children.
I get sick to my stomach every time I see a fruitcake tin. I hate it. I abhor everything it represents in my life. It hurts to know that my parents in some ways valued that container more than my brother, sister and I. For me this isn’t the end of the story. I’ve chosen to forgive my parents because I don’t want to be stuck in the past. Their terrible choices taught me how to be a better parent to my children. Break the cycle.
I’m not sure if I completely believe the saying “time heals all wounds”, but I’m certain that time hasn’t improved fruitcake. It is still disgusting.