Second Hand Shoes

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You filled empty shoes their biological father threw out like garbage. You slipped your feet in, one after another, tied them tight and declared them yours from then on. 

Like a super hero…You were to them.

Girls have fairy god mother’s, boys have plain old dads. They have no need for magic, just truth. The truth that they are safe and loved, and believed in by their very own Dad.

Eighteen years later that’s what you are to them, and have been for all these years.

Still. As we pack our son’s bag again. A son that has chosen a road we never meant for him, as the minutes pass, driving us closer to goodbyes…I can’t help but wonder, if it was you who seeded him, would you let him go so easily…
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My Mother, My Cross

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You have not loved until you have loved the unlovable, the ugly, the undeserving,
like a mother strung out on drugs and drunk all of the time.

Every ounce of her; you know, the part that held me at night, read to me, bathed and fed me, is absorbed in this addict that reeks of booze.

I know my mother is in there somewhere, because this addict calls me by name and expects me to love her like I love my mom.

This addict plays nice at first.
She laughs where my mother would’ve cried; she does where my mother would’ve slept.

But with every drink…and, taken in secret, a pill here and there, this addict loses her like-ability and fast.

She does not care about me or my children, or even the woman she overtook and is now portraying.

With hatred and selfishness, using my mother’s mouth and body…she destroys everything valuable my mother holds dear, with the words she spews out, the way she moves my mother to stumble and fall.

The daughters she bore, no longer responsive to her need for them, the son disgusted in the mother that allows this to happen.

My mother became just another woman to me. I learned to acknowledge the addict in her, and no longer the mother that gave birth to me, in order to lessen the pain.

If she didn’t care enough to stop, why should I care to be there for her, to respect her and love her?

It just became easier to accept the addict and forget the mother that’s hardly ever there anymore.

Until I grew in my faith, until my views were made to align to my makers, I knew love by what I got from it.

I loved my children. I loved my husband. I loved friends and family. I loved books and music. I loved afternoon naps. I loved them because they gave me something in return.

Until God opened my eyes to my sins and showed me how He loved me in spite of them, I would have gone on in my ignorance.

I thought love was supposed to be easy, but love is hard. Love is dying on the cross…

I have since learned each of us have our own cross to bear, and mine so happens to be to love my mother through her addiction.

When she smells of booze…when she can’t stand…when she is sick from pancreatitis…when she is lonely…

I will allow her to hug me and I will focus only on her touch and not the smell.

I will hold her up and not allow her to fall, and if she falls I will help her up with no condemnation.

I will not run the other way; I will not ignore her and act like I don’t know her.

I will talk with her even though I can’t understand what she is saying.

And in my quest to carry my cross, I will have loved the way He first loved me.

I will have done it and not just spoken of it.

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Woman to Woman

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So many things are running through my mind and my throat has entirely swelled shut.
I’m sure, an allergic reaction to the words it will have to allow through.
I’ve prayed for this time for some time, not really expecting such a “time” to come.
Secretly hoping the prayer would be placed in God’s treasure chest of unanswered prayers,
Prayers people think they want answered but God, knowing best, saves them from.
She has been so distant for so long, nothing more than an empty vessel.
Empty vessels make the most noise, and she no different.
Every effort to reach her ricocheted within her, and I found myself cringing in preparation.
She had figured out how to exist within her own realm, and such a sad world she had created.
Then – I thought she wanted to be “there”.
It wasn’t until today I learned different.
“You remember when I dropped the coke in the car and I cried? I thought you’d make me tell you then. I thought you would make me talk to you …but you didn’t”?
My sweet girl was stuck in quick sand and with every effort to free herself she sunk deeper…
And I failed to save her, to fight for her.
Eliminating anger in all its excusing glory, she shared her most dark secrets.
Excuses were no good to her.
She had become thirsty for change and was tired of the bitter drink of defeat.
She had altered her thoughts and allowed God to align them to His will.
Alone. Without me.
She told me she didn’t want secrets anymore, between her and I.
She needed her best friend back…me.
She ended her letter with “Mom, I’m sorry I’m not your perfect little girl.”
And she wasn’t anymore. At that moment I was forced to come to terms with that fact.
It had tried to creep up like ivy on a wall, her woman curves, mature demeanor.
But I wouldn’t let it, I couldn’t.
I needed her to stay little. She’d need me still.
Though not little anymore, but still perfect, always perfect.
She was my young lady, in all her beauty and demand to be seen.
And today I would have to tell her my secret in respect of this new found relationship,
A secret that would prove I wasn’t so perfect either.
She sat in front of me.
Her brown eyes puzzled by my struggle to speak, and tears, oh so many tears.
Once, the cozy coffee shop we had been sitting in, had now become consequently confining.
I asked to move outside, as if that would make the words easier to say
… “After I had you, I had an abortion.”
There. I. Had. Said. It.
I feared she had distain for me in her once-loving eyes, and I dare not look up.
I spoke of that mistake, that sin, not to excuse it or explain it, but to keep her quiet.
Her questions scared me too much to give her the opportunity to ask them,
And when I had said all there was to say, and the unknowing had become greater than the fear,
I looked into her eyes and I said, “I am sorry”…
But there was no disdain, no surprise.
With a mixture of sympathy and love, my beautiful grown young lady answered,
“I’ve known…I read it in your poem book years ago.”
We left the same people we had always been, but truer to the love for one another,
For we had taken off the ill-fitting “Mother” and “Daughter” costumes we had made.
The costumes that hid our “unlovable” mistakes and imperfections,
Dwarfing us into something lovable, all along never really feeling loved.
We had removed our mask and garment as if Halloween had finally ended…
Still we saw love in each other’s eyes.
Now when we hear the other say “I Love you”,
There will be no voice that follows saying…
“She wouldn’t if she knew”,
Because she does,
And still she loves.

My Happy for Your Happy

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He left without asking for much.

Crazy but I didn’t fear him leaving, I feared what he’d look like next time I saw him.

The sins of “fun” ages us faster than suns’ rays ever could, and I knew he had a craving for that kind of “fun”.

Sunday.

The day I have always set aside for thanking my heavenly Father…now an anniversary of when my prodigal son left home.

One week. Two weeks. Three weeks. Four weeks. All seemed to drag on. Then, in between taking a breath and blinking an eye, one month turned into eight.

I’d talked to him. Once or twice…each time ending in an argument. I asked him why he hadn’t called, a question I knew he could handle. Not like the underlining question which was too direct, “Why didn’t he love me…us?” His answer, he was happy and I would just ruin that for him.

As a child he expected fairness. I wanted to cry to him, just like he had to me. I wanted to tell him he ruined my happy and I expected fairness.

And I would’ve, had it not been for the dial tone.

Love Me or Not…I’m Still Mom

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Why does loving you have to be so hard?

It is as if you think, since I am a parent I lose the ability to hurt. I have stood in your line of fire for longer than I have wanted, in hopes you would either tire or notice the gaping hole in my heart and seize fire.

…hasn’t happened yet.

I watch you as you share your day with me. You tell me about the fun you’ve had with friends. I struggle to hear through the noise jealously creates. As you continue with your story, I scroll through memories on a projector that has spontaneously formed in my mind, memories of when you spent time with us, your family. You know the ones that love you, believe in you, and need you. I look for the smile I see on your face, the excitement I hear in your voice, but there is only sarcasm, frustration, and boredom. I feel my heart heavy with anger as you continue with your story.

We haven’t been what you have wanted for a long time now.

I still love you even though you aren’t what I want. My dream for you was not one of drugs and a fast food job, nor of a heart that is unwilling to love the God that made you. You are my son, and although I have three other children, you are my only “you”. You are a permanent fixture in my life I need there. Some things you can’t trade in or throw away at will. Some things are deserving of a place in your life simply because of what they are.

Kinda like me, you know, your Mom, the one that birthed you, protected you, loved and cared for you.

I listen and muster up as much interest as I can to hide the disgust and pain I feel. I know that to explain how much it hurts that you want nothing to do with us, or how all we want is for you to love us and want to be a part of us, will only push you further away. At least you are sharing something with me, and so I shake my head, smile, chuckle, throw in a couple of “wows” and try my hardest to see this as a special moment between you and me.

Maturity and experiences have a way of putting things into perspective, and so I dig in and wait, much like a soldier would to prepare for battle. He knows what he’s fighting for. He accepts the inevitable for the sole purpose of winning the battle.

Bring all you got son, I’m not going anywhere.

I’ll be Different

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I’ve failed you once.

I forced my views and when you didn’t conform, I piled on judgement in my need for you to be okay.

Most times, I was too busy keeping score to know when you needed help. I felt you spinning out of control and I wanted to protect you from your niave adolescent self. My expectations came before your hurt and pain, before your desires and interests. I leashed you with my domineering, mothering way, like you leash a dog to keep it from running away, and called that love.

But this time will be different.

Even though I can barely suppress my what ifs, locking them down tight, to keep them from feeding the fears of failing you again, still,  I know this time will be better. I know what it feels like to see you go. I know what it feels like to not know where you are, if you’re eating, if you’re warm, if you’re safe. 

It’s been almost a year since I’ve seen you, held you in my arms, kissed you until you were grossed out, smelled you, I know how much you hated that and secretly loved it at the same time. 

This time, I want so badly to love you with a love that leaves room for you. I want to be as quiet as a feather falling from a birds wing, so that your voice is heard loud and clear, no longer altered or muffled. I want to be as strong as Samson, so that you can make mistakes and not feel like the whole world will come down on you.

And I will, be different for you. This time, I’ll accept you without needing you to be anything more than who you are, ’cause that’s always been enough.

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