Just a little backstory; my biological father is deceased. It has been less than a year. It was really tough for me, which was incredibly hard for me to process because we had almost no relationship at all. I did get a chance to say goodbye to him in person. It was important to me because at the end of a person’s life, forgiveness and grace is simply needed.
Maybe needed for me, or you if this seeps into your heart. When someone, anyone you care for or ever did reaches the end, I knew it was something I wanted to give my father to take to his next place. I’ve always felt that way. I am a very empathetic person. Sometimes, it’s not such a great thing. Sometimes, it’s a really great thing.
It’s caused me to struggle with co-dependency (google it if you aren’t sure what it is — it’s not what you would think by looking at the word) …. unless you are all normal and not weird like me.
He passed within a week or so of saying goodbye. I found peace, but only after anger, frustration, emptiness, grief like I have never known, bitterness and spitefulness that almost swallowed me whole. I’m thankful for my husband who refused to let me drown in it all.
My Mom is my Momma. She always will be. I love her and she loves me. We have a unique, different and oddly okay relationship. I am grateful for what I was given from her. I love the wittiness, my sassy attitude (ahem, sparkling personality), a mind that has no filter, being honest to a fault, having a heart bigger than Texas, an old soul, the peacefulness in my soul that I can still only find at a river or creek. She is 4’11” and She gave me one extra inch.
If you ever asked, I would tell you that she really is the strongest woman that I know. Mentally, emotionally and physically. She can change a transmission by herself faster than any mechanic I know. She’s a plumber, an electrician, carpenter, homemaker and a former farmer. She’s a caretaker, she’s the one you call when you need something or someone. She’s has the biggest backbone of any 4’11” 98 lb person I have ever known.
What she could never be was “Mommy” to her child.
It’s hard to say that knowing all that she is. Knowing she is a fascinating human being. We grew up hard. She grew up hard. Harder than I know, honestly.
I don’t know how she survived all the things she’s had to in her lifetime, but I can tell you this; she never gave up or gave in.
She fought. If she were in the ring, I’d put all my money on her. Every Single Time.
When I was born, she and my Dad had been divorced only a few weeks when she found out I was pregnant. She remarried my Father at the request of my Mamaw. Why? Well, Mamaw begged her not to let me be born a bastard.
It’s pretty funny in a way. Only because I can close my eyes and see my Mamaw saying that to her. When Mamaw asked you for something, you just did it. I don’t know. She was just that way. But it was good. Mamaw was always looking out for everyone.
Moving on; well I was born. Much to their surprise I wasn’t the little boy, Edward Levi, I was supposed to be. Yup, got that wrong on the ultrasound. I did go home in a blue onesie. Can I just add one thing? That Father of mine, well.. he was SO elated when I was born (still under the impression I was a boy) that he went screaming down the hospital hall about how proud he was at the size of my penis… AKA, UMBILICAL CORD.
I mean, come on. My Mamaw must have been pretty dang persuasive. I can’t really see how she would have remarried, I would have been just fine being born a bastard, haha.
She put her happiness aside for someone else. I doubt this time was anywhere near the first time. But, this is where we go wrong in our lives. It starts here, things like that.
Her misery wasn’t worth what my last name would be. My Father left anyway and popped back in three times in 35 years. All three times were, well, an experience that burned a set of life experiences in the heart of a little girl who didn’t deserve it.
I have dissociative amnesia. I’m glad. I have blocked out a great deal of trauma. I’m grateful. It’s for the best. I went from place to place my whole life. Sometimes with her, sometimes not. Others, I can’t remember where or when or with whom.
Something that is permanently etched into my memory is at one point in my teenage years, I was sent back to her and she had to decide what to do with me. A friend’s mother, Gail, was in the driveway waiting to bring me back to where I was. She had taken me in in the 9th grade.
I need to pause and just say Thank You, God for putting Angels on this earth. They really are all around us.
I remember my Mom was laying in the fetal position on a bed in the back of a house. I can’t remember whose or where. I can still feel how much pain she was writhing with in her heart in that moment. As much as a 16 year old can. Now that I am a mother myself, I do understand, fully.
When I was dropped off, I sat on her bed in silence for a while.
She was hurting in the deepest way I can ever imagine. Somehow, she mustered up the strength to sit up and ask me what I wanted to do.
Can you imagine saying that to you child? Looking back now, I cannot.
She said to me, “if you want to stay with me, I will figure it out.” I believe she meant it with all her heart. But, I was 16. I was tired of the instability. I just wanted something normal. Staying with my friends family for 2 months gave me the small glimpse of what that could be.
It was just as hard to say back to her, “Mom, I want to go back and finish High School.”
It’s been almost twenty years since then. We’ve both traveled the long, rocky, flooded and washed out dirt road and made it to the other side of what it means to start over. But for us, starting over meant that we had to recognize who we were to each other as mother and daughter.
We don’t have a typical relationship by any means. We are inconsistent, don’t stay in touch as much as we should…at all, our ability to function as mother and daughter has been permanently altered from anything anyone could understand because of what we’ve both been through.
I have learned her and she has me. I know that I cannot expect things she cannot do or give me. It has nothing to do with her love for me. That I know. But I am aware of her limitations. She is aware of mine. I have a BOAT load of issues, but she and I walk through them day by day and take things day by day.
The thing that I never was able to have and have never been able to stop longing for in the deepest part of my soul is family.
A mother and a father who are in your life as a constant.
The Father, my grounding rod.
The mother, the nurturer.
Feeling what it feels like to be chosen.
To hear, “I want you.”
So, although I have a Father, now deceased, gave me this last piece of closure; “I was a terrible Father and I failed at almost everything. You deserved more than I could ever give. The only thing I ever gave you was an example of all the things you should never do.” —– Dad, that was enough. And I did what you said.
I will always have a Mother. My tough as nails, stronger than anyone I know, everything good in me came from her, Mom. —- I’m about to have another. Legally.
On August 11, 2019, I proposed to my “Mom & Dad”. The ones who have been my constant since that Dad walked me down the isle and gave me a way to my husband today. The Mom who has been the Mom every kid should have.
I asked that Mom & Dad if they would legally adopt me. My 35 year old adult self.
They said yes. Bonus? Three brothers, two sister in-laws and a nephew.
More to come, on Adult Adoption Day.
Where there’s a will there is a way. Never stop looking and don’t be afraid to ask. Ask anything your heart desires. God put it there for a reason.