This post was originally published on RAWrWords: http://rawrwords.com/2016/06/18/the-wait/
When I was five years old, my parents lost our house and their business. I don’t know all the details, but I do know we ended up on my aunt’s doorstep in the middle of the night. My memories of that night are the reminiscences of a small child still full of innocence. They are tarnished and worn like an old picture. But they remain, forever etched on my skin like a scar that will never fade.
My mother, who loved us completely could not afford to take care of my three-year-old little brother and me, as well as my two older siblings. So she left us, the two youngest, in the care of family, out of sheer desperation.
What I do remember of that night, is having the worst earache, ever. My mother spent the rest of that night on the stairs rocking me to sleep, while I screamed my head off. I awoke the next morning on the stairs alone.
It was unclear where exactly my mother and siblings had gone. I heard stories later that they slept in a van and collected cans from recycling for food money. What was clear, was I was an unwanted burden, who wasn’t allowed to talk about my mother. We were told nothing about where she went or when she was coming back.
The next three years, I spent desiring only my mother.
Which made me a problem…
With the need for my mother my driving force, I didn’t conform to living the life that was expected of me. I don’t remember being a particularly bad child, only that I got in trouble a lot. Which meant, regularly, people were not happy with me.
I struggled in school, and I struggled at home.
Three years later my mom finally had a place for us; we finally went home.
My life didn’t get easier from there but at least I was wanted again. I was loved. In fact within years of going home to my mother, her mental illness would spiral out of control, and change our lives forever. But that’s another story…
When I look back on that night, and the subsequent morning after, waking up alone without my mother and not fully understanding why I realize that was a defining moment in my life. It helped shaped me into the parent and person; I am today.
I can’t imagine what my mother must have gone through deciding it was better to leave us than to drag her smallest children through the mud with her.
Sometimes being a good parent, is knowing when to step away, or asking for help when it’s needed.
I use to think everything happens for a reason. Today I think shit happens, and all we can do is try to make the best decisions we can to get us and the one’s we care for through it. We can’t let our past experiences rule our future. We are far greater than merely what has happened to us.