saving mom at nautilus teachings

love me love me love me
love me love me love me

1973-Sixth grade breezes by. My brothers are still creating havoc wherever they go, but I am free of them. Over the year my mom works her way up the ladder from secretary to director of nine counties for the American Cancer Society. Dad travels a lot and is so very happy. They buy season tickets to the symphony, start tailgating with the neighbors for football games, make regular visits to lifelong friends and seem more in love than ever.
1974 is rung in and out with very little hitches in life. We seem to work as a family as my parents teach all of us how to cut trim, paint, stain, lay sod, mix and pour cement and plant. Our house is becoming a home and that old asparagus green sofa finally finds it’s way to the curb and is replaced with two love seats in a myriad of colors that look like a Dali painting.
“Who cares,” I think, “I feel like a millionaire living in the beautiful, quiet, loving home.”
The snow fell so gently
That winter in ’74
It was piled from the driveway
To the roof
And blocked our front door.
We climbed up on ladders
And slid down the roof
Flying fast over snow drifts
And into the street.
We smiled and we laughed
Drank hot chocolate
And sat by the fire.
We sang christmas carols
And found a new church to call home.
As the calendar flipped
To become ’75
We had no idea at all
We’d be thankful to come out alive.
For what lay before us
Was worse than my tumbling down
All those steps
Beyond being held down
And spit upon
Or called ugly words,
My mom was now the child in the CORNER crying,
Her head in her hands
I had to grow up fast,
“You have to be her Joan of Arc!”
The voice of God was telling me
It was time to take blossom,
Time to take care of mom
And time to find my words…

watching out for mom
watching out for mom

1975-1978-I do not exist to my brothers which is fine by me. They are caught up in their own life of teenage years creating havoc and breaking my parents hearts. I barely see my dad due to his long hours and travel. I spend a lot of time with my mom which I love. She takes me on local buying trips. I am beginning to add patterns to my painting. I am starting to color outside of my own lines. I am playing sports, hanging with my girlfriends and growing up. I still feel lonely. I want a dad. I do not know how to connect with him. His life is work and my mother. My two brothers continue to cause my mother pain and sadness.
I stood in the CORNER
Watching and waiting
For my mother to leave
Expecting the only soft spot
To disappear
Never to touch my life again.
I vowed from this time on
I would never go against
My parents wishes
I would strive for perfection
Keeping my mouth shut
And be a “good girl”
Most important
Some times my mother will pull me from school and we will travel to the day’s destination, gabbing the whole way. She will have her meeting and I will read. Then we will have lunch and go shopping. One day we are in Egg Harbor, WI when she says,
“Sheri I need to stop in this store for a moment.”
I stand looking at an old painting as my mom has a conversation I can barely hear with the sales person.
“Next week?”
“Wednesday or Thursday?”
I think nothing of it at all as we meander down the road and in and out of shops enjoying not just the day, but each others company. I find free fabric swatches at some of the small shops and gratefully add them to my new blossoming palette. I am glad we are together, my mother and I. She is my best friend and I know that the cruelty of my brother’s actions is breaking my mother in half.
I know she wishes to leave. I know her struggles are too much for one person to handle. Yet, every time I think she will give up and turn her back on this home and the hatred emanating from one of her children, I hear her in the dark of a corner praying. Tears streaming from her beautiful big brown eyes and her lips trembling. My mother raises her head up to the heavenly light she feels and sees within her faith and picks herself up and goes on. I don’t know how she does this, but to see her in a corner, just as I have been so many times gives me strength. Seeing my mother live through the phone calls, humiliation, ugly words spewed at her, the anger, the total disrespect and selfishness of the two demons, taught me to endure, to fall to my knees in prayer and give up to God everything. So, today is a gift. A sunny, laugh out loud kind of day filled with pure lemonade smiles that will one day be drawn upon to fill up the raven paths of the year to come, and a day when my mother exerted her independence for the very first time.

i still miss you mom
i still miss you mom