So today I woke up with tears in my eyes…It’s October 9th and I am 49 years old.
I have a daughter that turned 15 about six months ago, and she was an ass too. She was trying to find her way in the new place we call home, and I gave her too much “rope” to “hang” herself with, and she did-metaphorically that is. You see I can see myself in her so much, and I remember how hard that time was in my life, but I can also see how selfish I was by parenting her.
I was on the JV volleyball team, I was a cheerleader, I was cute, I was confident, and I was too proud to visit my sick mom in the hospital. I thought my life was so important that no one else’s life was more important than my own, and although I loved my mother so much, I was stuck in my own head. Any time I wanted to do something or go somewhere, I did it; if my mom had the “gall” to say “no” I would argue with her, beat her down so much that she would finally say “Fine! Go! Do what the hell you want! If you die while you are gone make sure to remember I Told you So!” And I would go. I came and went when I wanted, I ate what I wanted, I wore what I wanted, and I said what I wanted…and no one would tell me otherwise. I did my own laundry, I took beers out of the fridge, I had kittens in my bedroom, (seriously I snuck in a cat and she was preggers and had the kittens under my bed) and I snuck out all the time. I didn’t think about how dangerous it was to drive 50mph on the hood of a car holding only the windshield wipers, nor what would happen if I missed the jump from one silo to the next about 30ft in the air, (maybe that is why my son loves Parkour) or if I would return from an exploration of the missile base out side of our town. And of course the boys…
I got a lot of attention in high school, and it was hard not to notice the loudest girl from Deer Trail when she walked into the gym. I was very passionate about everything BUT my dying mom. She never made it to my high school games, and I think she only made one of my middle school games, and she maybe saw me cheer, and it hurt me; but I played, cheered, or performed for me, I was in charge of how I did. I realized that my mom opened the bar at four, and she did just that, every day…regardless of what her girls had going on. She had bills to pay, and she was solely responsible for us, and the memory of us being taken into foster care under “her watch” was still fresh and there was no way it would happen again to her, so she did what she had to do. She was also the “town drunk” and I don’t imagine the rest of the town being very interested in talking to her, or sitting next to her on the bleachers at any of my games or events, and she didn’t handle judgmental people at all-worse than I do present day.
So today I sit here, in tears, missing her. I sit her thinking back to the times I had with her, and it hit me like a sledgehammer…she trained me. SHE is the reason I sit in my screened-in porch looking at my pool in Florida, SHE is the reason I have a successful 26-year marriage, SHE is the reason I have four beautiful children who are turning out to be successful in their growth, SHE is the reason I was able to get off the 180mg of Morphine (and about 4 other narcotics) and SHE is the reason I am who I am. Please understand that I had/have a strong relationship with my God, and I know how powerful and absolute that is, and to me, right now, my God is showing me the angel he gave me on Earth.
My present day relationship with my 15yr old daughter is a glimpse to me of what I didn’t have, and a second chance to experience that relationship-just from the other side. I get to see (and experience) her being an ass to everyone, her being selfish, her being cute, and her being stubborn. I also get to see her growth, her change, her inner beauty, and her heart. I get to hold her accountable when she messes up, I get to be there when she plays volleyball for her varsity team, and I get to be there when she gets her heart broken. I am also accountable for when she goes beyond the scope of what we call “age appropriate actions”, and I get to parent her back to good. I get to give her that “unconditional love” that I never had; I get to because of God, and because of my mom. She was the strongest woman I knew, and I never understood how she went through all the crap she did for us; she could have left us on the side of the road at any time, but she didn’t. She picked herself up and worked as hard as she could for her girls, and I learned how to work hard for something you believe in.
I know my mom, and my husband’s dad would be proud of us, and I know in my heart that my life would look very different than it does today if my past was different, but I love my life. I love the fact that I have friends from all the different experiences I went through: I have my siblings…including blood, foster, and marriage, that I don’t know what I would do without; I have my mentors who trained me how to be a woman, wife, parent, and friend; and I have my soul mate that I have screwed over, fought to keep, and love with all my heart. I am still a work in progress, but I am still here living the life we created and deserve.
She died in 1983, on this day 35 years ago: she is still as alive to me as ever. She is still the voice in my head when I parent. She keeps my memories of our “happy times” together fresh, and I mimic her “silliness” without thinking about it. My time with my mom was too short and riddled with a lot of pain, sorrow, anger, hate, loneliness, and even despair…but what I remember of her, and what I talk about on a weekly basis??? Her favorite songs, and how she would just dance around with us, and be silly…and I love those memories…and I am creating those with my family. Thanks Mom!
So, I am leaving this blog post with a few songs my mom absolutely LOVED, just so you can get an idea of what kind of “nut job” she really was…
Bounce your Boobies – Rusty Warren (gotta listen the entire way through)
I’m gonna Hire a Wino – David Frizzell
Cocaine Blues- Johnny Cash
Smokey Mountain Rain – Ronnie Milsap
Grandma Got ran over by a Reindeer – Elmo & Patsy
Spiders and Snakes- Jim Stafford
White Lightening – George Jones
I Believe in You – Don Williams