1976 learning tough love at nautilus teachings

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the year was 1976
Ford was the president
The Apple Computer company
was formed on the 1st of April 1976
by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak
On the 4th of July 1976
the United States celebrated
the 200th anniversary
of the Declaration of Independence
Average Cost of new house $43,400.00
Average Income per year $16,000.00
Average Monthly Rent $220.00
Cost of a gallon of Gas 59 cents,
and so much more…
but for me,
1976 was the year
i remember
feeling hatred for my father
as he spoke the words
to my mother,
“if you were a better mother,
the boys would not be doing these things…”
before this happened
my years were spent
wondering why he chose
to never protect me
from my brothers…
it was 4 years after our move
from our hometown,
4 years of my  brothers rebellion
drinking, drugs, crashing cars
running away, thieving,
the year the probation officer
would eat dinner with us
as he had become part
of our broken family…
4 years of listening to my brothers
yell at my mother
blame, hurt and finally
break her…
it was the year i remember
my mom chose tough love.
she was 45
her blue suitcase was packed
she had her first real job
her own credit cards
and had found her voice.
on this particular night
after my father’s hurtful words
she came to the kitchen
to help me wash dishes
in silence
and then,
BAM
she passed out
her body crumbled
and landed upon the
orange and yellow linoleum floor…
it was the night
he scooped her up
carried her to the bedroom
while i watched,
silently
and sat outside the closed door
hearing whispers…
when she emerged
suitcase in hand
eyes filled with water
she very slowly
and quietly,
left our home….

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what is tough love?
tough love
is telling your child
they are homeless in 30 days
because they are 19
smoking pot,
working nights
sleeping all day
not in college…
tough love is
telling your child to
get the fuck out of your house
after 5 years of them
returning home sobbing
needing love and support
from a poor choice in a relationship
then going immediately back
to the poisonous situation
after blaming their problems
all on you…
tough love
is divorcing
not one,
but two men
cruel and abusive men…
my mother’s tough love
when i was 14
was her boldly
walking away from my father
who controlled
everything she did
for 25 years
and only returning
on her terms…
tough love
is telling a friend
you just cannot listen
to their whining anymore
and it’s time for them
to shit or get off the pot…

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tough love is hard.
tough love hurts.
and,
tough love
strengthens
teaches
and heals…
it forces people to examine their lives
and either say
f-you back
or they begin
to break open
release all their pain, anger, hurt
let love, faith, courage, voice
fill them up
as they step out,
head held high
knowing
change
is
growth…
we cannot keep our adult kids
living in our homes…
if we do,
we are robbing them of a full life,
potential,
finding their true self,
passion,
love…
we cannot allow our children
to verbally abuse us
control us
or just take, take take…
we gave birth to them
to help them grow up
and become
whatever they dream of
and give back to society
all you and life have taught them…
tough love is goodness
that hurts.
take a stand
find your back bone
stop hiding
simply put,
“the world is your oyster…”
and every pearl is made
from a tiny grain of sand
diamonds are forged from pressure
you are made from love…
one life,
baby…
one life…
time to find happiness
and spread the joy

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