Monday, November 22, 2010

Last Thanksgiving daddy held my hand tight and told me he had made peace with God and was ready to go home.  It was the last time I saw him before he died.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

     If I had realized that this photo would be the only picture I would have of me with both my parents, I wouldn't have goofed around and flung my hand out like that.  When I look at this picture now, what I remember is how comfortable I was with the thought that my mama would never really leave daddy even though at the time this picture was taken, she was only months away from doing so.
     I also see why my daddy's second wife could never accept the family we were; why she despised my mother; why she has worked tirelessly to wipe out my daddy's first wife and the children she gave him.  I see that my parents loved each other and they loved their children.  It was love that remained even through divorce.  It was love that I was blessed to grow up with and was probably the reason that I never thought my mama would really leave.
     My mama lived in an orphanage from the time she was nine after her mother walked out on her daddy.  She didn't know anything about marriage or family dynamics except the popular opinion of the times which was:  If he doesn't make you happy, LEAVE.  My parents would get along great for long periods of time-the calm before the storm-and then have loud shouting matches the result of which were that she would move into my room with me and inform me that as soon as her children were grown, she was leaving.
       I was 19;  my brothers, 18 and 14.  We weren't grown and what I know now is, it wouldn't have mattered if we were.  Leaving was not the solution to her unhappiness.   I can't speak to all situations where couples feel compelled to divorce.  I can only speak about what I experienced and that was my parent's inability to deal with the problems between them.  Their divorce didn't solve any of those problems; it only denied us all the one thing we really had going for us:  love.
      My daddy's second wife of 29 years spends lots of time since his death saying how my daddy was her soul mate.  She spends lots of time saying how he was her best friend and how he will always be with her.  She spends a lot of time reminding everyone that she was his wife.   In the year before his death, she also spent a lot of time reporting how often he had accidents to anyone who would listen; jerking his pants down to "see if you've messed yourself" in front of whomever; snatching his hat off  and commenting on his balding head; telling him that his children didn't care about him and taking every opportunity to embarrass and humiliate him.  She spent a lot of time bullying him and trying to make him leave his 30 acres of dirt and little 3 bedroom rambler to her so she could have the power over what my brothers and I eventually inherit.
      What she is unable to understand is that I have my inheritance.  In the months before he died, daddy entrusted me with a message for mama:  he never stopped loving her and he wished he'd tried harder.  My mama says that now that he's gone she doesn't think about what he was like in his later years or even what drove her to leave in the first place. 
She remembers that she loved him.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

     I miss the days when mothering was simple.  I felt important and wise and, to some degree, I was.  My present day mothering of  young adult children, who are living with life changing stresses, alternates between them clinging to me in that loving, nostalgic way and punches that knock me to my knees.  As they stumble around and attempt to make their own separate lives, I stand at the ready to assist but all too frequently I am knocked to the ground and chastised for my failure to make everything work out exactly as they wish.
     My offspring don't seem to realize that I am living with life changing stress, too.  It feels as if they believe their father and I have finished with any living of our own.  Our feelings, needs, hopes and dreams are inconsequential to any of theirs.  I suppose their attitude comes from so many years of letting my children be the culmination of all I hoped for as a young girl.  I wanted nothing more than to be a wife and mother; to have a family of my own with which to live.  The problem is that having a family is not a feat to be accomplished;  it is a way of living.  Only lately it feels more like a boxing match where I spend most of my time unconscious on the mat.
 But I am starting to learn how to box;  to keep my head down and heart protected; to avoid the quick jabs ands punches that come my way.  And when I get hit square and fall to the mat, I'm learning how to get back up again.