Tag Archives: car accident

More on memories..

It’s odd, you know? The things that our minds and hearts choose to remember. I read somewhere once – if you want to remember something – try to forget it. I think it also works te other way around.

Who wants to remember the arguments and fights we get into? I suppose one way of thinking, though, is that remembering is how we learn from them? I think I have learned that arguing is how NOT to settle things. What good really comes from arguing? No one listens to the other. You tune each other out, or try to talk over each other…

I bring this up because one of my earliest memories is my parents in an argument – not a talking over each other argument either – a knock down, drag out all but anything goes, argument. There were things broken everywhere. I was very little, as we were still living in New York. I have no idea what the argument was about..I wonder if mom remembers?

I think that shortly after is when mom took me and my baby sister home to Georgia. Daddy followed shortly afterwards. What did the argument solve? Nothing as far as I could see. We ended up in Georgia, living with relatives. We no longer had our own house to live in. Daddy missed out on spending the last few years of his father’s life with him. His mother had died while we were still living there. I remember that day, too. I remember the color of the dresses my sis and I wore. I don’t remember going to the funeral home or the funeral..or the wake. (A wake in the north is much different than those I have experienced in the south, at least, from what I have been told about them and seen on television) ..

As a teen, arguments didn’t happen quite as often – or my parents were better at hiding it – as they did when we were younger. Or maybe, they were just too busy working trying to keep a roof over our heads to have anything left to argue.

I argued, my sister argued. Teen stuff. We hadn’t learned to truley communicate yet. With each other, well… there was the time she stabbed me with a fork…and I threw her purse through the front window. ..With our parents..I guess the two worst that I can recall ..I knew exactly how far I could push until I got my way – and mom finally let me have my way. A car wreck, a year in and out of the hospital, three surgeries, the loss of two toes and having to learn to walk again ..I learned that sometimes, mom does know best.

My dad..the one that stands out..I guess bi-polar disorder was running my life at the time…I was totally out of control (even though I was probably the most responsible teen ever) ..I can’t remember what the arguement was about, but I threw a phone at my dad, knocked his glasses off his face and it bounced off his head. My dad never laid a hand on me. All I could think was – we have no money to get new glasses for him – what if I had broken them?

After that, I argued less, but still did. Eventually through the years of therapy, learning to live with bi-polar disorder, and of course, life itself, I have learned there are better ways to communicate. I know now that when you have a disagreement, you should talk about it – don’t hold it all pent up inside – because at some point, you are going to explode.

I think, somewhere in all of the dysfunction that my family has – and boy, there is a lot (keeping in mind of course, I also have a large family) – we somehow come full circle into a “functional” family. In our family, if we are mad at someone – we tell them. We tell them why – and it is done. Life is too short to hold on to so much anger. Every minute of anger is 60 seconds of happiness you never get back.


The person who lives upstairs…

I am trying these days, to remind myself, that she is not just a person who lives upstairs. She is not just someone who needs a taxi ride to 15+ doctor’s appts. every week as her health deteriorates. She isn’t just someone who shows up for meals and then leaves without helping to clean up, who spills her sugar and coffee in the early morning and leaves a trail of tissues throughout the house, as if she needs a trail to follow back to her bedroom.

She is all of these things, but she is also, most importantly, my mother. She gave birth to me, she worked hard to give us the things we needed. We didn’t always have much, but we were never cold or hungry.She took care of me during my stupid teenage years. The car accident, my broken hearts and big decisions  that she didn’t agree with, but stood by me anyway.

As both my sister and I had children as teens – obviously neither learning from the other – we never would have made it without the support of my mother and father, They took care of us so that we could take care of our children. and when my bi-polar basket case self wasn’t able to care for my son the way I should have been, she stepped up.

It is becoming more and more difficult these days. I admit there are days when I feel so much pressure and stress that I don’t think all the crazy meds in the world could help me.  There are days I look at the calendar and think “Just one week without a dr. appt would be nice”. There are times I think that this is more stressful than it was living apart from my husband with two very young children while trying to sell a house.

My mother has always said she thinks of me as cold or hard hearted. As my moods go through their daily roller coaster fueled by the bi-polar monster that lives in my brain, I tend to be even more stand offish and cold hearted has turned to ice. She always thinks I am angry, but really, I am just trying to shut it all down or the emotional side is going to get the better of me. I am afraid of how that will turn out..maybe in the corner of the closet sucking my thumb… a straw in a bottle of vodka… find someone to go Thelma and Louise with.

What I do know, though, is that the woman who lives upstairs is my mother – not just someoen who is here to make my life complicated. I know we don’t have much more time with her ..I hope my sons and the rest of our family realize this, too, before it is too late.

I love you mommy.

Did he REALLY think I would?

Let him drive my van with 5 of his friends to Universal Studios in Orlando? Yes, he did. He was wrong, and very disappointed.

You see, a little less than a year ago, I received a phone call from a friend in Washington State, from which we had recently moved. It happened that a group of Justin’s friends – none over 18 – were taking one last trip to the coast before they all went their separate ways to college. As they rounded a curve through the mountains, they met a truck head on. All but one of the 8 were killed. A terrible day for the town of Ridgefield, and one that a few are still dealing with. Mali will never completely be over it, as one of the boys in the SUV was like a brother to her. They had known each other their entire lives.

So, when I told Justin that I would drive him, and Reese and Goose would follow in the car, his mouth dropped.

“Why are you guys going? This is supposed to be our Senior Trip!”

“We are not going to keep up with you guys, we will go our separate ways once we get there, I certainly don’t want to stay all day by myself and I am sure you don’t want me tagging along with you guys..I mean, I know I am the cool mom, but still…”

“But MOM! There are 5 of us! We all have our licences! ”

“So did Aja..and the rest of the kids in SUV with her. Sorry. You know – I don’t like teens..but you know what I like less than teens – dead teens.  I want you guys alive and well to see graduation and college and Parris Island.. So, if your friends have a problem, either you can tell them about Aja and your friends, or you can have them call me and I will, but if you want to go, this is how it will be.”

As he mumbled “Fine” and left for school, I thought about all of the times me and my friends would pile in the car and just go. Six Flags with 6 of us in a 5 seater car. Remember Southway? Wow – there was the last day of school Junior year 6 of us riding in the back of Jeff’s truck. Atlanta, again, 5 or 6 in a 4 seater, usually on our way to a bar.  We  have been so lucky!  I can’t imagine letting my kids do these things!

I pulled the mom card a few months ago when Justin and a good friend of his stopped by for Justin to change clothes.  I went out to the truck to say hello to Matt and looked in the truck and he had 5 people in the cab – Justin making 6. I asked him to get out and told him that this really wasn’t safe. Did his parents know he was out with this many people in the car?  “No, ma’am, and I am not sure how it happened, but it won’t happen again..”  Justin came down and off they went. I went inside and thought “OMG – I just turned into my mother!” ..but really, I didn’t, did I? Because our parents – at least mine and my friends, really didn’t think twice about it.

I remember riding in Candy’s fiat convertible, with Jennifer and Bonnie, balls to the wall…not a care in the world…if only we had known then..would it have mattered?

As teens we think we are invincible – even after my car accident – once I got comfortable behind the wheel again, there was no stopping me. We just go and do, often without considering the long-term consequences.

Well, lucky for Justin, I am here to think of the long-term consequences for him. I have been there and done that. In fact, much more than the average parent. So, next weekend, we will all be at Universal Studios in Orlando – Justin and 5 of is friends, and me, Reese and Goose…bummer for him, but better safe than sorry. At least I am the cool mom.