Being Loving Makes a Big Impact

Recent research has revealed that childhood adversity can impact mental and physical health for the rest of our lives . There have also been studies on how positive childhood experiences can help mitigate that damage. See below.

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/09/09/759031061/positive-childhood-experiences-may-buffer-against-health-effects-of-adverse-ones?fbclid=IwAR0NIxrk4d8zESYE75i5IJo-dPNpGNYwTk6OvbGCCShQlD3v9xD7TzXDxeI

I know that if it weren’t for the positive influences in my life, I’d absolutely be worse off than I am today.

Our parents and families do the best they can. We all have varying degrees of adversity and trauma. Some of the positive influences in our lives are often in briefer encounters, or limited interactions where we experience the best of what people have to offer. We’re not all up in their business living with them, we don’t see them when they’re upset, tired, afraid, vulnerable, hurting.

It’s the extended relatives, the teachers, camp counselors, librarians, neighbors who often provide those consistent nurturing, unconditional responses, because they are one step removed and can maintain better boundaries, objectivity and emotional composure.

For me visiting relatives was a positive influence. The people who most positively influenced me are my Uncle Michi along with my Grandma, his mother. We also had loving experiences with my mother’s side of the family in Gonzales, LA as well. I’ll tell those stories later 🙂 And when a teen my friends and their families really helped me, Melinda and Abby 😀

I’d say that most of what I value in life was directly due to my wonderful experiences with Michi and grandma during summers spent in Sacramento with cousins, aunts and uncles.

Our grandmother would take care of all of us cousins up to 10 of us. Uncle Michi was there too and they’d take us roller skating, to arcades, to movies, parks, amusement parks. Other uncles and our aunts also showed us a good time.

We had all kinds of toys to play with, skateboard, jacks, hula hoops, etc. We’d go swimming at Uncle Nobu’s where we pretended we were mermaids, lol. Grandma always had plenty of goodies, there were candies, jolly ranchers and others in those stackable candy dishes, she always had homemade cookies. There was an old fashioned cold soda cooler where there was every type of bottled soda imaginable. She cooked Sunday dinner, all the family would come, so much connection, sharing, love.

Uncle Michi would play guitar and sing, he would show us “seefood” (if you don’t know, that’s when you open your mouth wide with food still in it, get it, lol) He’d always be laughing and joking with a wicked, sarcastic sense of humor. He’d always bring us treats or take us to buy them, like those giant pixie sticks, unicorn horn lollipops, giant jawbreakers. We’d go to Marriott’s Great America too. They also took us to the wild west attractions, panning for gold. We took pictures in costumes, you know those sepia ones, lol Asian people in western getup, it was cute and hilarious!

I remember Michi took us to see Star Wars and he’d already seen it umpteen times and knew all the lines, it was fantastic! So impressive! He’d be driving us somewhere with “My Sharona” blaring on the radio and he’d be singing away and we’d join in.

He’d always rough house with us until he had to tell us he needed a break, lol, because we’d all gang up on him. Uncle John and Auntie Ayako would sometimes play too. Ayako’s laugh is so infectious! Uncle john liked to tease us with the creepy dolls grandma had upstairs. One time he staged the big walking type dolls at the top of the stairs with their arms raised like “attack” and told us to come see, we shrieked and ran, lol.

Auntie Asako would always take us pajama shopping, I had nice fancy night gowns from her. Uncle Masa had so many hummingbirds at his house, we were mesmerized! Uncle Yoshi taught me about astral projection and I had my first night time flying dreams after that 😀

Michi always did a fireworks display on the 4th for us! We also did sparklers and snakes. It was so thrilling!

We felt so spoiled and carefree, always entertained with lots of goodies and surprises, laughter, playfulness and love.

When I think of those summers I feel the dry, warm California breeze kissed with sunshine blowing through my hair as I skateboard down the oleander lined sidewalk, the sweet fragrance, my toes hanging ten knowing that I had another tomorrow of adventure, easiness, freedom. So content.

Images and sounds flood my mind and a warmth fills my chest, the dark arcades with the layers of sound, laughter, the pac man music, me frantically playing tempest, adrenaline rushes, that fluid speed while roller skating to disco music, splashing in the pool mermaid wiggling with all of our cousins, doing a pyramid where we stack on each other like cheerleaders do, then falling over with laughter. Whispering stupid secrets to each other, mischievous eyes and rollicking laughter. Seeing who’s the tallest.

Watching, inhaling the delicious aroma as grandma and Michi baked trays and trays of cookies together 🙂 Having long conversations with grandma as she did the dishes. Asking to rub our grandfather’s head, he had a crew cut and it felt like a soft brush, and asking him to say “rubber band” then we’d giggle because it came out as “Lubber band.”

The house was always filled with joy and laughter.

I will be forever grateful for those wonderful times together, how fortunate we are! And everyone was just being their wonderful, amazing, natural, loving selves. Having fun! Playing, sharing, connecting, exploring, caring, looking for mischief, being irreverent 🙂 Thank you Uncle Michi and all of our relatives in Cali! Such a positive influence making a big impact in my life! Thank y’all so very very very much! 😀 ???

Michelle Miyagi
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