I grew up without parents to talk to. They were both very distant and seemingly uncaring about my life. I had rules to obey, but my opinions didn't matter. My sister and I were definitely "seen and not heard".
We didn't talk as a family and looking back all four of us - mom, dad, my sister and I - just went our own ways each day. Our problems were our own. I thought it was normal because that was all I knew, but once I was grown I realized how much it affected how I viewed myself and the world around me.
No hugs, no kisses or "I love you's" from my mother. We ate at the dinner table but no conversations took place that I recall, and anything that was said was strained and phony.
I vowed to be close to my kids. I would tell them all the time that I loved them and I spent as much time as possible being part of their lives. I always want them to know that they can count on me to support them. They are not alone - they have a mom! Three of them are now grown and they seem pretty happy and well-adjusted to me.
(Because of a wide range in ages (13 - 35 here) and the fact that we are scattered all over the country, my four kids are rarely all together, but they were in the summer of 2010 when I got this photo.)