"Even When the rains fall, Even when the floods start rising, Even when the storm comes...I am washed by the water"- quote from Need to Breathe's Washed by the Water
"Don't tell me if I'm dying cause I don't want to know. If I can't see the sun, maybe I should go. Don't wake me cause I'm dreaming of Angels on the Moon. Where everyone you know, never leaves too soon. Do you believe in the Day that you were born? Tell me do you believe. Do you know that every day is the first of the rest of your life?....." quote from Thriving Ivory's Angels On the Moon.
I heard these two songs today on the way up to Elkhart's Habitat for Humanity.When I'm by myself, I flip through stations alot until a song catches my attention. Neither of these I had heard before today and I had to look them up on the internet to properly quote them, but for my story- I think they're appropriate....
Mom had finally broken free of the nightmare of moving from small town to small town. When there is violence in the family you must always move, too many nosy neighbors you see. None of their damn business what we do as a family he would say.
So, we were finally free.I was 4. My brother Eddie was 2, my sister Amy, 1. I had developed a love for singing. And I sang to everyone, all the time. My little fist would be my microphone. My brother and sister hated it.That brief period between Mom's first husband and her next boyfriend allowed me a small window of opportunity to find a way to comfort myself, a way to heal. It was in singing that I, at 4 years old, found this.
We lived in a run down trailer court, one of the worst ones in the area. After all, Mom was by this time 18 and had already had 3 kids to raise on her own. I think the thought of being alone in parenthood and still a child herself who felt unloved scared the hell out of her and is what ultimately drove her decisions along the way.
I remember watching mom dance with my younger sister in her arms with music such as Dolly Parton, Anne Murray, and the Judds blaring through the house. Music was the only thing that I had ever seen make her smile and feel free. I wanted to smile and feel free too, so I sang to about everything that came across my little mind.
My brother was a happy kid for the most part at that time. And it is the only time in his life I can remember him being so carefree and happy. I have never seen that side of him since. I had done my best at that tiny age to shield him from the worst of the things that his dad would do, so the small reprieve to be a child, a real child was new to me. It didn't last long. Those short happy times never did last long, but there were some happy memories- they were just far and few between the years.
In this trailer court Mom meet another guy. The Pink and White rusted trailer across the small trailer park. I don't remember his name but I remember how nice he was at first. Appearances are always decieving. My brother and I got a shiny red tricycle to share from him. I have a picture of us smiling on it in that living room, the one in the trailer he rented. We would run around outside, carefree as birds, all around that trailer park. No adult in sight. As I think about that, the horror of the "no adult in sight" strikes me, the parent I am now. But back then it was a freedom from hell for me. I learned early you couldn't trust anybody-not even your parents.
I began to develop a mind and a tongue of my own. I was a bit of a loner child. Always doing my own thing. Mom could never seem to relate and I later realized what it must have felt like to her (knowing her the way I do) to have your child say things that were way, way beyond her years. Mom was always intimidated by my intelligence-something she thought she lacked.These traits would both serve me well and hurt like nothing else ever could in my life.
I have to give you a little insight to my mom's side of the family before continuing on.
Mom's family is weird, bitchy, and a gossip train ( I reluctantly admit I am weird, but I refuse to claim the bitchiness or the gossip train- its just not my nature to be that way, in fact I despise it because it shows how little people think of others). There are very, very few men in our family. I believe the ratio is a little over 2:1. The kids in the family always gave the grandparents funny names and everyone in the family would use that name from then on out. For instance, My Mom's mother was known as "Grandma Gum" because she always had gum to had out to the kids (what I didn't know until much later in life was that Grandma Gum came from an orphanage. We have no idea where the family originates from). My Mom's mom is known as "Grandma Cow" because her and her husband lived next to a cow farm and my mother is known to my kids as "Grandma Horsey" because she still had a few horses when my oldest daughter was able to learn to talk.
Now then, continuing on with the story. Mom had no one to help her with us kids and she was looked upon like the rest of my aunts were in the family. They were viewed as never-going-to-get-anywhere-so-dumb-they-got-knocked-up-and-they're-fair-game-for-Gossip, even from their own mother.They were drop outs, "Your mom should've been my Boy," Grandma Cow would say or, "You damn near killed me in childbirth" I would over hear in their conversations. They (they family) could talk slander all day about so and so in the family, but no one would ever lift a finger to help the other. Their eyes never saw what was right in front of them. Ever.
So this new guy who was apparently nice was to Mom, was to her, a gift from heaven. But soon his true colors were starting to show. And I knew without a doubt that a storm was coming....