The one thing about moving into a new house that I absolutely love, is going through boxes of the memories created over the years. Today my husband was organizing the garage and brought me a few boxes to go through. One was filled with photos of the kids and their schoolwork. I spent over an hour looking through those pictures. I smiled ear to ear as I pulled every photo out and remembered exactly what they were doing or where they were when it was taken. It seems just like yesterday I had four children, under the age of 12. Long before the years of teenage angst, teen hormones, attitudes, drivers licenses, first girlfriend/boyfriends, proms, and graduations. Now I have 3 adult children, what used to be the baby is going to her first prom, and I have another baby girl I never dreamed I would’ve or could’ve had! But that’s the thing about memories….there are good, and bad ones. And just as I was busy celebrating all of my good ones, a bad memory was there to slap me in the face!
After over an hour of looking and reminiscing, one of the last picture envelopes I opened took me by surprise and I gasped! Not because it was photos I hadn’t seen before, but because it was photos I haven’t made a habit of looking at. They were photos taken by a relative during a horribly bad time in our lives, but somehow she knew one day, we would need them for closure.
Those photos took me back to being 21. I was married with a 22 month old son…a stay at home mom…when my whole world came crashing down around me! During that time everything was a blur. I don’t remember much. I remember the doctors harsh words, holding my husbands hands and talking to him. I remember the people coming in and out of our home…I can’t tell you who they were though. I remember boycotting food for 5 days…until December 31, 1994…The day I found out I was expecting our second child. And I remember the first bit of nutrition i fed myself after that 5 days, a banana, because the baby would need me to be healthy.
People may wonder why I have those photos or the video tape of his eulogy…it’s simple…he had a son, and unknown at the time, an unborn daughter. I owed it to them, to give them the option of being a part of the funeral if they chose to be when they were ready. My son was too young to understand at the time, so he stayed at home. I remember his first words when I came home…”Mommy, where’s daddy?”
I took a deep breath and looked at my sweet, innocent baby boy and said, “Daddy’s in heaven with God and the Angels!” The same sentence I repeated for years every time he asked, until he finally gave up and stopped asking. I honestly can’t tell you which was worse, saying those words over and over or the day he stopped asking.
Which brings me to my original reason for this post. My son is 25 and my daughter is 22 now. I can’t imagine having to watch either of them go through something like this at their age now. But what I can tell you, is as their mother, I’ve watched them go through it as children their entire lives.
We live in a tight knit community. Most people know my first husband and what happened. They will also speak about rumors on what they think REALLY happened, not thinking about how it may affect my kids or other loved ones. I’ve dealt with being judged for making wrong decisions during the time when my grief was so blinding, I couldn’t see what was clearly a bad decision. But with every bad decision comes a great memory, or in my case child 3 & 4! I’ve watched this town and it’s people put pressure on my son to be someone he was not, just because of his name. And the same people can somehow “forget” my daughter even exists, just because she doesn’t share the same first name! It took years for my son to truly find himself and become the man he was always meant to be. He is strong willed, compassionate, soft-hearted, tender and caring. He still has those that doubt him, but trust me when I tell you, his dad would be SO proud of the man he has become! It has not always been an easy journey, but I’m SO thankful he chose me to take it with him…the good and the bad!
And to my daughter…our last gift….what can I say but WOW! You have surpassed all of my expectations and more. You are so strong and courageous. As a small child I would catch you watching videos of your dad or looking through pictures…you know him inside and out! I still remember him saying, “I don’t want to have a girl! And if we do, she better be fat and ugly so the boys won’t want to date her or else I may go to jail!”
I said, “That’s what we have Little Pit for!” 😀
And from the first moment I laid my eyes on you, I knew his wish didn’t come true….you were the most beautiful baby girl I had ever seen!
So, somewhere out there, there is another single mother making memories with her beautiful children, and sure making some mistakes along the way, but I hope that like me, she can one day look back on the bad times and know the good memories cast so much light in her life, the bad ones don’t seem so dark.
Thanks to my kids for always being the light of my life! 😍😍