Lessons From My Mother

January 12, 2012 by Emmaleigh Jo Chapin  
Published in Motherhood

My mother is an unusual person. Her and I have never gotten along as well as a mother and daughter should. This is a Narritive Essay I wrote about the lessons I have learned from her.

Now that I think back, I don’t know if I was mad or upset that she left us alone on those nights. The sleepless nights holding my eyelids open with my fingertips as to not fall asleep. I would focus on that little blue spot on the ceiling, anything to make me stay awake until I heard that old wood door creek open, and her heels hit that grubby tile floor.

From the time I was a small child to now, my mother has gone through many a boyfriend… My Father, Jeremy, skipped out pretty soon after I was born. There was a Bobby, a Dusty, a Daniel, another Jeremy, and a few others… I never realized until recently that my mother thinks that she needs a man to be happy. Growing up she tried to teach me to be strong, and independent. I’ve always gotten myself up for school, and made myself breakfast, made sure my hair was brushed and teeth were shiny… But I guess she thought that that wasn’t enough, that she needed someone to tell her that her hair looked nice, and the breakfast was tasty.

First what would happen in the cycle, was the “I’ll be home late tonight” speech. She’d tuck me in bed, my sister Elizabeth too, and then she’d say with her Lip-sticked lips, “Bye Sweethearts. Sleep well. I’ll be home late. Don’t wait up.” And then she’d leave. Sometimes my grandma would stay with us on those nights. Sometimes it was my Aunt. And sometimes, it would just be us. Liz would climb up the latter to the higher bunk, and curl up next to me, and eventually fall asleep. Me? I’d lay there for hours, waiting to hear the front door creek open, and my mother’s giggles fill the rooms of our house. She’d be all smiley, and walk a little crooked, she’d talk kind of funny, and then tell the guy, “Good Night”. When the door shut, and I heard her taking off her heels in the bedroom next to ours, my eyelids would finally close, and I’d drift off to sleep, knowing that my mother was home safe.

Next, the guy would stay over. First once a week, then twice a week, and eventually move in. I’d always, always ask, “Mom… Why is he always here?”

“Sweetheart, insert-name-of-guy-here, Lives with us now…” I never understood when I was little, but my rock solid mother was broken inside, In more ways than one.

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