Things I wish I'd said...

I am feeling edgy lately...
It's because I have started thinking again.
I stopped for a while.
For a long time I simply couldn't let thoughts or emotions through because I knew It would derail me.
They would bubble up, but then I would tamp them down...anything that was too strong I simply dug up and dealt with, then buried.
But in the spirit of Robin...who gave me a shout out in her blog that was awesome....I thought I would get all time travel y and a bit melancholy and a lot thoughtful.

There are moments that, when you are in them, you know the memory will never leave you.
They don't even have to be expensive....sometimes the moment is so full of everything that came before and all that has been or ever will be, that there is nothing left to do but stand in it.

When I took my last trip home to see my family, it put to rest a lot of things that, although I had dealt with, I hadn't faced in the real sense.
It's one thing to deal with your past when you are 1200 miles away.
Quite another to go back to the scene of the crime and test your new mentality against prevailing attitudes and old view points.
It was over all a grand success...
So, It was the final night there..and I hadn't really had much time to spend with my mom.
She hadn't worked or anything...I can't explain really.
My mom and I are different people.
But in one or two ways we are very much the same.
The way we are the same is that we don't feel lonely.
I could be alone for days or weeks and not feel 'alone'.
I can be in a crowded room full of people and feel lonely.
I have never been afraid to be in my own head.
I have worked long and hard on tending a clear conscience .
I think the people who can't be alone are afraid of their thoughts...
But anyways.
I realized something on my last trip home.
The reason my mom and I have never had much in common is because she carries a lot of insecurity.
There were things that happened that caused this...but I finally realized why she refuses to talk about some things and why she doesn't want me to talk about things.
She just wants to forget.
She wants to live in the now.
So, we are standing out on the front porch...looking up at the stars.
my mom smoking her cigarette, her long, long hair in a wet pony tail from her shower.
And I remembered.
I remembered the bad times...the screaming and the way she would distract Duane so he would stop hitting us.
I remembered her taking all the fabric remnants from what people gave her, and her making my school clothes in fourth and fifth grade....because that was all she had for me.
And feeling both proud and humiliated when I was mocked in gym class for my clothes.
I remembered how my mom would get up and go to work after dropping us off at whatever babysitter she could find...so she could make money to support us because she refused to take food stamps and Not work.
It nearly killed her to use them.
And that next Christmas after she left the abuser and she made us quilts out of his old clothes, she also signed us up for the christmas tree gift program.
Knowing how proud she was...that must havejust about killed her as well.
Especially when they showed up at our trailer door in their lincoln town car, beautiful wool coats and food basket.
I remember opening the gifts while they were there, but acting like I didn't care that I got a malibu barbie. Because my mom was standing there. I acted all cold while saying thank you.
I didn't want her to think I liked that gift better than I liked hers.
But then I went into the bedroom and got on the bed and combed her hair and touched her dress and thought "now I can show my friends I have one too."
I remembered the night after night after night of goulash..
mushy pasta, kidney beans, tomato sauce and onions and hamburger.
by the third night all the beef had been picked out and all that was left was the mushy macaroni and onions.
and tomato chunks.
And no, we didn't complain.....because it beats onion sandwiches.
I remembered our talks about sex.
They started early, and often and they worked.
I do the same.
I remember just how explicit she was, because she got pregnant as a teenager....she was never much for hugging or talking emotionally.
She never gave advice.
She did give us the space to make our own mistakes and to be our own people.
She also drilled into us that you judge each person as they come...not on how they look or the clothes they wear.
She never complained to us.
She never blamed others for her problems.
And she never quit.
So I stood there staring at her...and there was so much to say...
And I couldn't say anything.
I was going to cry...
She said...I could see you needed to come and talk..
What's wrong?
I said
When I should have said all the above.
I just said
"I love you."
and she looked and said
"I love you too".


Jane said...

Very powerful--very moving. The mother/daughter relationship is so delicate, and it often isn't until we are older that we realize the extent of its influence on us. You've come a long way, Chris, but you haven't forgotten that which made you strong, resourceful, and a loving mother to your own children.

Amber said...

Ask your mom to read this post! Or send it to her, maybe just call her and tell her all this.

One thing I've learned in the last 5 years, if you can still tell the person, do it.

You never know if you'll have tomorrow to tell them and don't assume they know it.

Let your mom know!

Very moving post, Chris!

Paula Rodriguez said...

Chris, this post made me cry. I'm crying as I type this. Very touching and I think it's God's doing that has you writing this post and me reading it. I sound sort of like your mother. It was always a struggle and I was proud. I was not affectionate and there is some resentment that's coming from my kids. My daughter actually shoulted at me "You give me no emotional support". That cut me to the core and I've been in a deep depression since that argument.

I hope my daughter(s) will one day see me like you see your mom. Anyways, I'm crying like a big ole baby.

God is working through you to comfort me.


ps. I agee with Amber. Tomorrow is not promised. Mail your mother this post. Sometimes it's just too hard to say them in person. Do it Chris.

cmoursler said...

My mom doesn't want to talk about it.
That is why it stuck. Sometimes I love you has to be enough.

Deb Willbefree said...

Chris, You told your mother all she needed to hear. You gave her a great gift--and it brought healing to her heart.

God has done a beautiful work in your heart--and it did my heart good tonight as you shared it with us.


Deb Willbefree said...

Chris! I just read your comment on my last post--you know, about the posts. chuckle.

I love that. What a great observation...It may be a post of my own someday.

I am convinced that the ONLY useful people are those who have been broken. They are the only ones who can offer hope--and be believed.


Rettakat said...

One of the last coherent things my Mom said before she died was "I love you sooo much."

It erased so much, and healed so much. She was also of that generation that didn't talk about about things.

And in the end, that love was enough. I treasure it dearly.

Tammy said...

Oh dear God I'm bawling my eyes out at work. This was so powerful and beautiful....and yes, sometimes "I love you" has to be enough.

Pam said...

My husband could have written a post very similar to this.

Sometimes its difficult for me to understand how he was raised, moving from place to place, having an abusive father come in and out of his life, only around long enough to terrify him and his brothers and get his mother pregnant again, then he was gone again.

I think the kicker for me was a story he told me that he was out with one of his older brothers and they ran into his father in town, and he wouldn't get out of the car to acknowledge him. His father asked his brother "who's that man in the car?" He didn't even know his own son.

The problem now is, his Mom passed two years ago and he lives with guilt every day that he didn't tell her more about how much he appreciated her.

I am also guilty of being way too critical of her, because I lived a Pollyanna life (as he calls it) compared to him and have a hard time understanding the struggling she went through trying to raise 6 boys on her own. I need to give her more credit.

Thank you for helping to open my eyes, He'll appreciate it, too, even though he'll have no idea what happened.

Robin said...

This post made me cry. I know that this is something that the two of you could never talk about. The conversation would make her uncomfortable. Do you think that you could send her a letter, one parent to another, that you now see all of the things that she did you? And let her know how much you appreciate all of the things she did for you? She would not have to write back but it might mean the world to her. Just a thought...

I am always shocked when anything that I write causes someone to write something like this.

Just Me said...

Very powerful, Chris. Loved your post. My mom is similar. There are some things she does not want to talk about. One time I asked her why and she said that she was "afraid to open up that can of worms." I think that she doesn't want to break down. She just keeps pushing it down and down. Loved the Dolly Parton song. That's an old favourite of mine. You are a wise woman.

Dr. Fat To Fit said...

I got goosebumps from this. My Mom has a background of abuse in her childhood. I know what you mean about her never wanting to talk about the past. I love your description of that moment on the porch. What a memory that will be for you.

Lisa said...

powerful. Beautiful. thought provoking.

Daisygirl said...

Just beautiful......I feel a lot like your mom must have - we are pretty close to the "charity taking" point ourselves, but haven't had to yet.

I have an award for you on my blog.
http://afuturesuccessstory.blogspot.com/2010/08/aug-25-holy-serious-awesomeness.html You deserve it more than anyone I know. You are real.

The New Christine said...

This is hard for me to read. Because I so seldom go home. I message my Mom daily, mostly. But it's so hard to go home. The Christmas boxes from strangers, the scarce food, the NOT having the basics . . . it all got in the way of the things that were more important. Just saying "I love you" now, it means so much.


Bossy Betty said...

Just found your blog! Wow. You are incredible writer.

Fiona said...


Roxie said...

Thanks for this post, Chris. It spoke to me on many levels.

Kim said...

I'm so glad you posted this. Robin does have that affect on people huh? lol I love her. I know you and I connect in many ways, but the whole mom thing is a huge one too. As much as I get frustrated with my mother, I know the reasons behind the way she is and I also remember the good things she's done for me. That in itself can be healing. That's what you just did. I hope this gave you some closure too sweet girl. :) Good post.

Michele said...

I know you are aware of the recent death of my father. You may not be aware that close to the end we also exchanged "I love you." I, too, had so much I had wanted to say but never could and never will because my father was such a mean person, dehumanizing and a sadist. I really meant it, too, when I told him that as I believe he meant it as well.

I thought I was also healed, but I know now that I am not. I am WAY better, but not finished. I have decided to meet with a professional to help me come to closure and even greater acceptance. I am so sorry to know that your youth was fragmented. I wish you peace as you also heal in ways that you may not understand now. Blessings, Michele