Monday, May 11, 2009
Yesterday my Mother, my siblings and their families gathered at my house for a wonderful cookout. My brothers were all gathered around the grill showing off their masculine grilling skills, while the teens gathered talking of boys, music and school. My sister chased the little ones through out the back yard as they squealed with voices that could pierce the eardrum. My mother and I sat at the pic nic table with my sister in law watching my brothers cook and laughing at Lonnie and Steve arguing over who was the best grill master.
Most Mother's Day in the past have not been like this. Mother's Day in the past was just a simple call from me to my Mother wishing her a Happy Mother's Day. I always
dreaded it too, because I knew she would never say thank you, but would always tell me the beautiful gifts she received from my siblings. I tried to rectify this one year by giving her a photo album filled with photos of all the children and grandchildren. I had worked really hard on it, not to mention that I spent 30.00 for that particular album because I liked the floral design. Till this day I remember her exact words, "That's nice Haley, but after all these years, why would you give me something with such little value?" she exclaimed. My siblings cleared the room, dragging their children with them. The fireball temper exploded and I voiced how maybe I was just trying to show my appreciation, how just maybe, that I THOUGHT it had meaning when all her children and grand children were in that photo album. Of course I said other things that really shouldn't be repeated on this blog, and I stormed out the door yelling for my kids to get in the car. It was always that way with my Mother. We never saw eye to eye and we never had a mother/daughter relationship. I moved in with my grand parents when I was 14 to avoid the slaps that I often received from my Mother. Mother and I couldn't be together longer than an hour without fighting and as long as I can remember, the words I LOVE YOU were never spoken.
Mother's Day for me has always been joyful with my own children. I learned early in life that I would never be able to have children. I would never experience the joy and the bliss of carrying a child in my womb. I would never be able to experience the miracle of giving birth. I would never know what it felt like to have a child grow inside of me, but I had a drug addict best friend who made my dreams come true.
Cindy and I were best friends at one time, we were inseparable. We had been friends since childhood. When I fell in love at 16 and married at 19, Cindy and I went our separate ways. I had dreams of being the best wife possible, dreams of a house with a picket fence, and a dog, and dreams of having kids. I would be the best mother. I would be the mother my own mother never was. I gave up my partying ways, yet Cindy never did. We often would talk on the phone and reminisce of our wild times together. We would often laugh of our drug experimentations and the craziness of all we did. She once told me she missed all that, and to a degree I did too. I didn't miss the drugs, but I missed hanging with my best friend. When I learned I couldn't ever have children I confided in Cindy my pain, my hurt and my sorrow of not being able to conceive. Cindy had comforting words but it was not comfort enough when I knew I would never be able to have kids.
Cindy began to change, our phone calls became less and less, and even our visits with each other had come to an end. Cindy's simple experiments with drugs turned habitual. Her drugs of choice, cocaine, crack, and crystal meth. Every so often Cindy
would call me, but her calls were always after she had snorted or smoked up most of everything she owned. There were times she begged for money, and I often felt guilty for never giving her any, but I would not be the one to supply her drug habit. Cindy became really angry with me for not helping her purchase her drugs and she finally quit calling me all together.
Two years passed and Cindy came walking up on the farm one day. I worked on my grand daddy's farm since the age of 14, and Cindy knew she would be able to find me there. When she approached me I didn't know who she was at first. The drugs had really turned this beauty queen into someone I didn't even recognize. We sat down and talked for a few minutes and then she told me she was pregnant. I remember how pissed I had become at this announcement. I wondered why in the world would God give her a child and deny me the child I had often dreamed of. I really in truly didn't want to hear anymore of what Cindy had to say, I was sickened by the fact. She ended up telling me she was going to get an abortion, and I became even more irate with
her. All I ever wanted was a child. I worked hard, I was a good wife, and I couldn't understand why in the hell God would bless this crackhead with a child. I remember yelling, and asking her to leave and never come back again.
That day my grandmother sat me down and said "Haley you want that baby don't you?"
I fell into my grandmothers arms and started to sob. It was so unfair how God cheated me out of having children yet blessed Crackhead Cindy with one, and all she was going to do was throw it away! I just couldn't understand why God had been so cruel to me. My grandmother pulled me away from her shoulder, and held my face
in her hands, "Go find her Haley, and tell her you will adopt the child, your grandfather and I will help you"
Seven months later, I was assisting the doctor in delivering the baby. My hands held the tiny human exiting from the womb. I cut the umbilical chord, and she was placed into my arms. I sobbed. This was my child, MY CHILD, I was holding MY child.
Through my tears and sobs I asked Cindy did she want to hold her, she shook her head, "She is yours Haley".
I was finally a mother! Ironically enough, Aimee was born on Mother's Day!
Cindy never wanted anything to do with Aimee, she didn't want any part of her. I never heard from Cindy again, till almost two years later, when I saw her walking up on the farm. My grandmother was on the front porch watching Aimee play in the yard. I yelled at my Grandmother, "Take her inside NOW". I feared the worst. I feared Cindy was coming to try and take my precious Aimee. I was proved wrong when she announced she was pregnant again. Once again I became filled with anger. Once again I ran her off the property, and asked her to stay out of my life. She told me she couldn't abort the child because she was too far into the pregnancy. I didn't want to hear it! She begged and pleaded, and I slapped her. The anger was just too much for me to bare and I slapped her across the face. I yelled and explained how because of her drugs Aimee had a heart condition that she would live with the rest of her life. I yelled and told her how a night doesn't go by that I don't listen to little Aimee's heart beat hoping and praying it was still beating, all because of her freaking drugs! I once again yelled for her to leave and never come back and if she couldn't stop doing the drugs then keep her God forsaken legs closed. I ran in the house grabbing Aimee into my arms, explaining to my Grandmother that Cindy was pregnant again. This time her words were ''Do what you have to do Haley, but I don't think that child should be born into the system. God is blessing you, you re just too angry to see it"
Once again, I was assisting the doctor with the birth, cutting the umbilical chord, and holding my 2ND daughter, sobbing over the mysterious ways God had blessed me.
This time I did not offer to let Cindy hold her, I didn't want her anywhere near her. I was selfish and I didn't even want her laying her eyes on her. I kept my back turned to her as I cried over my tiny miracle in my arms.
Yesterday, we celebrated Mother's Day, and we celebrated Aimee's 16Th birthday. As Aimee blew her candles out, tears filled my eyes, my baby was growing, she had become a young woman. I watched her laugh, her big beautiful green eyes sparkling, and at that moment, she looked exactly like Cindy did at 16 years old. Visions of Cindy and I flashed before my eyes and I remembered Cindy's 16Th birthday and how much fun we had. I also remembered Cindy blowing out her candles and saying "Sweet Sixteen and never been kissed but that wont last long" and how I laughed till I cried. I watched Aimee cut the first slice of chocolate cake, her eyes met my own tearful eyes, "Whats wrong?" she asked. All too often I have a tendency to speak before thinking, and it slipped "You look just like your Mother" I said. Aimee didn't flinch, she just looked at me and said "If I looked my Mother I would have red hair, freckles and blue eyes. I look like someone named Cindy, but I have my Mama's heart and my Mama's love" and then she produced a big beautiful grin. I cannot even begin to explain how my heart swelled.
It's been almost 14 years since I have seen or heard from Cindy. Some days I do think about her and wonder where she is and even if she is alive. I have talked with both my girls about Cindy, and have even told them both of some of the wild stories we shared. I have shown them childhood pictures of Cindy and I and pictures of Cindy and I as teens. Those photos are packed away, but the girls know they are there, and if they ever want to see them again, they are more than welcome.
I realized yesterday that I owe Cindy a lot. She was my best friend till the drugs took over. I offered her help, but she was never willing to accept. Although I had so much anger toward her, never once did she ever forget my dreams of being a mother. Cindy gave me something no one else ever could. Cindy gave me Motherhood.
Since my accident Mother and I have learned to put our differences aside. I think my near death experience in my wreck had something to do with that. We don't fight as often, we don't shout harsh words at each other any longer, and sometimes she even tells me how sorry she is about our past.
Yesterday, Mother opened her gifts from my siblings, which ranged from a blown glass rose, to slippers and a robe, to littte knick knacks. There was NOT a gift sitting on the table from me. Somehow I think deep down she knew there wasn't going to be. I could see the look on Mother's face, that although she had tried like hell to make all our wrongs right since the accident, I should have at least put forth some effort in a gift. Even my siblings had that same look. My oldest brother actually looked quite pissed.
I was sitting beside Mother at the pic nic table, I turned my body to face her, "Mama look at me" I said. She turned toward me. I took her face in my hands and looked her in the eyes "I love you Mama, I always have and I always will. You re my Mother, nothing will ever change that, and I Love You". I then kissed her on the lips and wrapped my arms around her neck. "That's your mother's day present mama, I love you" I whispered. She pulled away and for the first time in my life, I saw tears streaming down my Mother's cheeks.
She looked at the gifts sitting in front of her and said "The slippers and robe will wear out, and I will end up throwing them away after much use. The knick knacks here are lovely, and may even get broken one day. The glass rose will go into my collection, and probably be handed down to Kelly when I'm tired of them or when I'm dead and gone, but Haley, your gift I will take to to my grave, thank you Precious, and I Love You so very much"
Today I confess....It took me 38 years, but I finally gave my Mother the Mother's Day present I think she truly appreciated. It also took 38 years for my Mother and I to say I LOVE YOU to each other. It took 38 years for me to realize that Cindy gave me the perfect Mother's Day gift of a life time, not just on Mother's Day, but every day.