Sunday, July 17, 2005

All This Time

I have the lyrics to an old "Tiffany" song running through my head. Over and over. It's like a bad 80's movie. Only worse, because it is so applicable to how I am feeling. No, I haven't broken up with anyone, but sometimes song lyrics can take on new meaning depending on what the listener is going through. It doesn't always have to mean what the artist wants.

And hence, "All This Time" is playing in my head. I wish it would stop. But I know that it won't.

My mom is moving, and not just down the street, or to another city within my state. She is moving 2047.9 miles away. Or more specifically, 31 hours, and 30 minutes by car. She has found home and it has nothing to do with walls and windows.

The last time we were parted by such a distance I was running away. Granted I had plans to elope, but still...I was running. I spent most of my childhood waiting for the opportunity to live in a happy home, and when the house arrived, the people inside were still lost.

The 8 years I spent away were not easy by any means, and when I finally returned it was with children of my own and the intent to start new. Including renewing a relationship with my mother that had always been fractured.

I returned to Michigan 8 years ago. The first scent I recognized was the smell of skunk. Because it just isn't Michigan if you aren't smelling skunk.

I was full of hope of a new life, a new beginning. Little did I realize how much self inflicted chaos was waiting to erupt around me, and during all of it I had still had this belief that my mom was suppose to be there for me no matter what.

However, I learned that her life had gone on, just as mine had, in my absence. I did not realize until too late that my absence in this family had shaped the course of things yet to come, and when I returned nothing was as I had expected. My brothers and sister were all in their teens. When I had left they were no older than Abi is now.

My warzone had become theirs. What I had ran away from was still thier reality. Bonds were formed, broken, and repaired with or without me. I was now the outsider.

I'm not exactly sure what I expected upon my return, but I know that it was wholly unrealistic. I wanted to come home. But I found that home didn't exist. The disappointment of my own perspective was too much for a single mom to deal with, so I did what I knew, and I ran again. Only this time I didn't have anyone waiting miles away. So I ran to silence.

But with silence harbors a great bitterness because the silence doesn't make you forget, and it doesn't fill your time with the distractions of life. The more you ignore it, the bigger it gets for yourself and the others that it affects. By the time I was ready to break it, my silence had grown horns and teeth.

That is the result of a complicated relationship with a very complex history.

My writing has been published in the newspapers quite a few times. I used to freelance for The Flint Journal. However my first article in my writing career was a letter I entered in a contest for the Mother-of-the-Year award. I was 6 years old.

I do not have a copy of the letter, but I remember one line of it:

"I like when we go to the laundr-o-mat."

Washing clothes is something that we did together at the laundry mat. We went once a week, and it took 3-4 hours to wash and fold the clothes. I used to press my face to the warm dryer doors, almost burning my cheek listening for the coins to fall out of the pockets. I got to keep those and buy candy from the vending machine. Dollars belonged to my mom, but a found dollar or more often meant a stop at the store for some pop or other treat anyway.

I won that Mother's Day contest for my mom. I guess it was the simple things that we had experienced as mother and daughter that touched someone else's heart. A man came to the house and took our photo and it was featured in the Oakland Press along with my letter.

I think about these things and I sometimes have moments of clarity, that though I did experience very hurtful things in my childhood, there were times that life wasn't complicated and joy came in small doses like tiny laundry soap boxes for .25 cents. Or finding change in the pockets.

My mom was just as much a victim as I was. And now that I consider myself a survivor of those times, I should consider her one as well.

I don't know if it is possible to expect the past to completely heal. In fact, I hope that it doesn't because I want to remember so that I am diligent with my own children. So far, it has served me well, and I have not faltered when it comes to their safety. I will not compromise them. My own safety is another story.

The relationship that I have with my's still complicated. But I am able to see now that life is moves on regardless of hurting or healing. And I don't want to lose the next 8 years holding on to something that was broken in the past.

I'll take the scar for remembrance, but the wound can close.

As for finding home. Houses are just structures. Sometimes beautiful, sometimes not. This house looks different than when I lived there. But the walls are the same, and they hold secrets just as well as any other house. I'll miss the long walk from the driveway to the road; memories of such moonlit walks have served my storytelling very well, but the people that lived inside...I'll miss them more.

All this time
All in all I’ve no regrets
The sun still shines the sun still sets
The heart forgives the heart forgets
But what will I do now with all this time?



At 19:07, Blogger strunny said...

i love reading what you write. and that you are reading my keeps us connected although we haven't seen each other in a long time. thank you for being you. thanks for being so open too, especially about broken things and relationships. it touches me in deep places.
i don't have anything to say about your mom, although that is not because i didn't try to think of something.
love, s.

At 19:10, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a very touching post. I never thought that Tiffany would be associated with anything so thoughtful.


At 15:39, Blogger Smito said...

Sharing a feeling this deep cannot help but move me.


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