|One hot summer afternoon|
A few days ago, on Thursday, my daughter Tabitha came over to my apartment to pick up my camera; it was Award Ceremony day at Bynum School, and her son Garrett was due to get an award. Plus, unbeknown to school officials, he had plans to moonwalk across the stage. When she showed up, we talked some about Paul and the plans we were tossing around about him making a trip to visit me here in Texas. We have been talking alot about it in fact, and in truth; about the possibilities of me moving back to Florida. I hadn't said anything to either of my daughters or my son in Virgina, and I hadn't mentioned it to Tabitha that day. While standing at the landing; Tabitha spoke the purest words of wisdom to me, and it hit home... struck a cord deep inside of me, and brought me back in time.
"When are you moving back to Florida? Mom, it's time. We are all grown, you have given enough of yourself, put your life on hold for us kids. It is more then time for YOU to be happy."
I thought about her words. More then I would have ever admitted to anyone. Took a look back into my life and realized something. She was right. Parents always put their children first, well I do, in everything. There were times I remembered, buying new shoes for the girls and wearing their old ones; never buying any for myself. While Tabitha was in high school, we wore the same size clothing, so I would buy for her and borrow when I needed something special to wear. I always seen the need to spend on them, my children, rather then take the time and spend a penny on myself. Ashley pretty much got what ever she asked for, she was my sickly child and because of the medical outcome the doctors gave her.. she never longed for anything. James, well he is my son.. my only son. No matter what he wanted, he got it. Pets, collectibles, game systems and games.
Getting married was something, neither of us were ready for. Two young kids, and a baby on the way. Marriage in 1983, went right along with pregnant. I sit here now and can remember my step father Bob saying to me; "Marriage? You kids don't even know what love is yet." the day before, he asked my step father for my hand in marriage. I had no idea. As children try to branch out and find their place in life, we take on the role as "Know it All", "I can do it better then you", "You're not my boss" and any other thing we can think of to say. Little did I know at the time, my mother and step father were right .. Marriage isn't for the young. I knew nothing of love, but more importantly .. I wasn't ready to share it, not with whom I was marrying and not like this.
|January 29, 1983|
Everything that once was, was no longer. The more things stay the same, the more they change. Boy did he change, a smooth talker while dating .. a charmer in front of friends .. a gentleman around strangers. It was like the times as a child, when the room isn't scary during the day time, but let dark set in.. and the room transforms. The things that made me who I was, were no longer allowed. My make up was to much, he no longer liked my tan skin, or the color nail polish I wore. Family is very important to me, but my family was not allowed .. only his. Crying was a sign of weakness, and was not allowed at anytime. Neither were friends. I was his property, and was treated as such. Speak only when spoken to, never look into the eyes of who you spoke to, and if a compliment was made to me .. he smiled and said thank you for me .. but I knew trouble lingered for later, when the front door closed; and the world was behind me.
A few years down the road, my eldest daughter was a little older and my son was just a baby, when an old classmate asked me "Are you happy?". It was in the truth of my answer, that I went in search for an attorney. One week after our divorce, he was married to someone else .. seems they had been "dating" each other for two of the four years we were married. I thought I was free, but you never really are.
That was the turning point in my life. Everything became clear for me, no longer was I going to be treated in a manner that was unbecoming a lady, and my children were not going to learn the values and morals of some one who thought, treating a women like property was acceptable. Allowing that type of treatment for the years I had, was no fault of my own, I had given power of myself to someone else. Though I never searched for comfort in the arms of another, and never would, my children became even a bigger drive in my life. There were dates, and other short term relationships, but I never let anyone in my heart. My search for the one that got away began, and regardless of what I was doing or who I might have been with; thoughts always returned to him. Where might he have gone? What might have become of him? Does he think of me?
I sit daily and talk to the one whom my heart longed for. The distance suddenly lessened by a bridge, a common contact, and something happened to me inside. Thus so far in my life time, there has always been an interest for me to understand how older couples are able to extend their relationships further then couples of modern times. Upon talking to a few of the lucky one I have had the pleasure to come in contact with, the men would chuckle and offer the same advice "She is always right, and you learn to say 'Yes Dear' quite often", while one women responded with something that I yearned for and seemed to make perfect sense to me, "You just know. Something inside of you tells you, and it appears as if you have eaten a hearty meal. You feel full, complete. Like you've come home, only to a place where you had never been"
I only felt the feeling of what that one women spoke, one other time. When I was just a young girl, and he was merely a young boy. The paths in our life took us on twist and turns, to this day neither of us will ever completely comprehend, except to say 'We weren't mature enough yet to see what was right in front of either us' and this just might very well be true. Life has a funny way of evolving. Bringing people and things together. Maybe I had to endure all that was thrown my way, to prove myself worthy of such a great gift. Just maybe it was I who was the gift in past relationships, opening the eyes and hearts of the men I encountered. I have no great answers or secrets as to why life took so long, but today everything inside me echos the same words one women spoke to me long ago.
I sat there looking at wedding photos, the path life gave me long ago, and my thoughts returned from the years past to present time. I couldn't help but smile at her, the younger me frozen forever in 1983, and tell her that we have done a great job with the path traveled. It was time to fulfill the calling in her heart. Live the dream we were meant too. It was time, WE were happy ...
The wisest words ever spoken; were that of my daughter Tabitha one Thursday morning.