I guess I didn’t know it all.

•May 10, 2017 • Leave a Comment

This will come as no surprise, but as a teenager I thought I knew it all.  And in my thirties, I have learned I didn’t.  I didn’t know any of it.

Sometimes I can remember things from my childhood like they happened yesterday.  I can remember the taste of food, the smell, the weather and my exact feelings at the moment.

When my mom turned thirty, I woke up very early and decorated her car.  Signs like Oh, no 3-0 and cans on the tailpipe and everything.  I remember it was kind of cool outside. It was wet.  My mom was surprised when she came outside before work.

It made me think about what my moms life was like in her thirties compared to mine.  My mom had two kids – one of them a know it all teenager.  She had a drunk ex-husband, a sick mother, and always at least one job.  We didn’t have everything, but we had everything we needed.

The life that I think is so difficult, is in comparison so much easier.  Sometimes when I come home from work, I am tired.  I only have to deal with me and my dog and I am tired.   Sometimes I don’t eat dinner and sometimes I have wine for dinner. And when  I really feel like splurging, I drink good wine.  I don’t have to worry about school clothes or projects or groceries.  I worry about having the money to get my nails done.  I don’t worry about taking care of my sick mother or my whiny spoiled teenager.  I am not concerned with softball games or chorus concerts.  And even today, when my back is against the wall the first person I call is my mother.

For all my ups and downs over the years with my mom, she was amazing.  She was always present.  She always made it happen.  I was so difficult, and she never gave up on me.

I only regret it took me many years to tell her I didn’t know everything.

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Fathers and Forgiveness

•August 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Decades later I still know the last words I ever said to my dad.  Sadly, they were not nice ones.

“I wasted all these years on you, and you still just lie.  Just leave me alone.”

And then I hung up on him.

He killed himself six days later.

It was one of the few sporadic phone calls we had over the years.  I had no reason to believe there wouldn’t be another one a few months down the road.  I would tell him about school, he would promise to visit.  This would never happen.

I am a mostly logical adult.  I do not believe that my dad shot himself over the angry rant of a teenager.   I know all the other factors: unemployment, a marriage ending and an alcohol problem.

All these years later… It still stings a little. I still wish I had not said what I said.  Part of me still thinks maybe something would have changed.  You can’t take back words – so I have tried not to say hurtful ones in the years since.

I am so bi-polar this time of year.  I get moody because it the anniversary of hurtful things.  It is also my birthday so I am very happy.

I was all caught up in it yesterday.  The hurt, the anger (still), the sadness, feelings of inadequacy.

I did things that make me happy:  I cuddled with my pup, I got some sun, I went to visit my momma and my sister, I cried a little and got some exercise.

Last night I was thinking of all the things I know about my dad:  I have his skin color.  He was the father of three daughters.  He was the oldest of ten children.  He was in the Army.  He was a brick mason.  He was very smart.   He always wore his black hair a little longer. He had a pet alligator when I was 8.  It was a baby and lived in a cooler.  He named me after my aunt Michelle. I can remember being a toddler standing in the front seat of his car and laughing and laughing.

I have spent so much of my life mad at him.  Mad that he wasn’t a dad to me, mad that he didn’t do what he said,  mad that he was mean to my mom, mad that he couldn’t get it together, mad he killed himself, mad that he didn’t love us enough.

So today I decided, I would give myself the best birthday present.  I am going to forgive him.  I am going to let go of the anger and when I think of him I am going to think of the good things I know about him.

 Gary (I cant ever remember calling you Dad),

I wish we had both done better.  I forgive you.  I am not mad anymore.  I hope you are genuinely resting in peace.

Love, Lisa

I guess I didn’t know it all.

•July 9, 2015 • 1 Comment

This will come as no surprise, but as a teenager I thought I knew it all.  And in my thirties, I have learned I didn’t.  I didn’t know any of it.

Sometimes I can remember things from my childhood like they happened yesterday.  I can remember the taste of food, the smell, the weather and my exact feelings at the moment.

When my mom turned thirty, I woke up very early and decorated her car.  Signs like Oh, no 3-0 and cans on the tailpipe and everything.  I remember it was kind of cool outside. It was wet.  My mom was surprised when she came outside before work.

It made me think about what my moms life was like in her thirties compared to mine.  My mom had two kids – one of them a know it all teenager.  She had a drunk ex-husband, a sick mother, and always at least one job.  We didn’t have everything, but we had everything we needed.

The life that I think is so difficult, is in comparison so much easier.  Sometimes when I come home from work, I am tired.  I only have to deal with me and my dog and I am tired.   Sometimes I don’t eat dinner and sometimes I have wine for dinner. And when  I really feel like splurging, I drink good wine.  I don’t have to worry about school clothes or projects or groceries.  I worry about having the money to get my nails done.  I don’t worry about taking care of my sick mother or my whiny spoiled teenager.  I am not concerned with softball games or chorus concerts.  And even today, when my back is against the wall the first person I call is my mother.

For all my ups and downs over the years with my mom, she was amazing.  She was always present.  She always made it happen.  I was so difficult, and she never gave up on me.

I only regret it took me many years to tell her I didn’t know everything.

June 21, 2015

•June 22, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Its odd. After the roughest emotional day I have had in years, I find myself here.  It’s the place I take all my hurt.  So I am here eating pumpkin pie, spilling my guts.

My granny would have been 98 today.  Statistically not many people live to be 98, but I thought she would live forever.  She was such a dominant part of my first 15 years.  My granny was funny and mean.  She took no bullshit, she never held her tongue.  She loved hard and taught me that if you can do something for someone you should.  I carry that with me to this day.  My granny raised 9 kids, but by the time us grandkids came around she was soft.  I am not a funny person, my but granny thought I was.  I would prank her all the time.  I would bring her ice in her eyeglasses instead of a glass. She had the softest hair and I will never forget the smell of getting ready for church on Sunday morning.  I miss her everyday.

I was raised my Mom and my Granny, with the help of my aunt and cousin. It is because of these women, that I am the woman I am today.

Today is Father’s Day and my Granny’s Birthday.  It’s like a double whammy in terms of emotional blows.  I lost my Granny and my father within six months of each other.  This is the defining point in my life.  Their deaths, along with some other things that began that year, marked a place where life changed for me.

My dad took his life.  A life plagued with alcohol problems. I don’t remember having any kind of real relationship with him after he and my mom split when I was four.  There were conversations, broken promises to call, a few brief visits over the 12 years before he died.  My mom worked a lot when I was little, I was close to my dad.  I spent a lot of years being unjustly mad at her for him going.  I missed my dad, my whole life – even today I miss him.  I don’t even know the kind of person he was.  My mom has told me everything she knows about him. Unlike my grandma, I don’t remember how my dad smelled or what his voice sounded like.  I was so little and it was so long ago.  Sadly, at his funeral I wouldn’t have recognized him.  I hadn’t seen him in five years – and in my head even today – he looks like the picture I have of him and me and my mom.

I do have some things I would like to say to him though.  I am sorry for the things I said to you before you died.  I was an angry teenager and I wanted your attention.  I wanted you to be my dad.  I wanted you to do something you said.  I hate that those were the last words I ever said to you, and that you killed yourself so shortly after.   Even today, I rarely loose my temper and say anything mean because you never know if it is the last thing you will say to someone.

I am also sorry that from a very young age that you taught me to chase you, that I wasn’t enough just by being your daughter.   Your only job was to love me and you didn’t do it.  They say daughters look for their father’s in their partners – and I am no exception.  Our relationship taught me how to be in relationships. I often find myself exhausted and just hoping he wants me the way I want him.

I am sorry that we never got a chance to fix things.   I am sorry that you were so sad.

I went to my Granny’s grave yesterday. I talked about all these things with her, like she was just going to give me answers.  If there was anything she ever taught me though – it was to love harder, and give it to God.

•January 24, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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