Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Yesterday, I am clueless as to how my car ended up parked neatly in the garage or how The Duchess got a bath, got her hair braided neatly, and tucked into bed by 8:30 sharp. I think I slipped into a mini-coma and functioned merely out of habit and some built-in Mommy GPS.
I vaguely remember taking The Duchess to school while wearing camo pants, a sweatshirt that didn’t match, my eyeglasses and a clip in my unkempt hair. I may have had Monday night’s martinis oozing from my pores to boot.

My car must have driven me home from the school because I woke up in my bed three hours later feeling no better than I did three hours before. The dog had planted herself firmly next to my disgusting, un-showered corpse and shot me a look that said, “Really? Three hours? I’ve had to pee for the last two.”

My inner fat chick arm wrestled the part of me that wanted to climb back up the stairs and throw myself on the bed again, so I made a turkey sandwich, ate a giant handful of cheese balls and polished off a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich. Honestly, I have no idea what I did up until the time my cell phone rang and I answered only to hear Snotty on the other end begging for a ride home from school because she had cramps.

Somehow I managed to pick Snotty up, listen to the one hundred and ten exclamations of, “I’m gonna die…I know I’m gonna die,” retrieve The Duchess from school, return home and help with homework.

At some point I recall having the desire to eat but no desire whatsoever to actually conjure up food. It took about ten minutes of my inner fat girl yelling at my inner lazy ass before I grabbed the car keys and hit the drive-through lane at Kentucky Fried Chicken. If you haven’t had Kentucky Fried Chicken in awhile, just a word of advice: let your inner lazy ass talk your inner fat chick out of getting some.

The rest of the evening is a messy blur of baths, dogs, teeth brushing, etc. etc. Truthfully, I barely remember putting The Duchess to bed.

This morning when the alarm on my cell phone sounded, I had the overwhelming urge to throw it through the window and fake an illness so horrific that it would give me an excuse to not have to take The Duchess to school for the rest of the week. Mr. Right was out of state on business though, so I’d only be shooting myself in my own damn size 8 ½. Up and at ‘em, Warrior Mommy.

By sheer willpower and the strong desire to not let my sweet daughter see her mother once again taxi her to school looking like a B movie zombie, I dragged my bloated arse off the bed and actually managed to put on a little eye makeup and clothes that matched. Kind of.

I’ve spent the better part of the day trying with all my might to be productive and to, “snap out of it,” but Middle Sister’s phone call Monday night is still rattling around in my brain box and I’ve yet to be able to rid myself of the shrapnel caused by the explosion that reverberated through my skull when Sister said, “Dad is going back to jail.”

No child, no matter the age of that child, should ever have to hear those words once, much less twice. But, as they say, “shit happens.”

It took the thirteen years my father served in prison, plus another eight or nine for me to work through all of the shit-that-happened. I had to come up with truthful, yet not completely accurate answers to questions such as, “where does your dad live,” and, “what does your father do for a living?” Sure, I tried the truth a few times, but quickly learned that for some strange reason, having a father who’s in the clink for murdering his girlfriend isn’t the most acceptable fodder for small talk at cocktail parties. Who would have thought that people would judge ME for the sins of my father?! People are odd, no? 

After thirteen years of collect calls from prison and censored letters that my eyes only got to see second hand after a prison guard's…after thirteen years of declared repentance and promises of becoming the father he’d never been, he was returned to society and back to the Land of Stainless Steel Utensils. I braced myself for the impending tsunami of love and affection that was soon to wash upon the shores of my childish and broken heart.

The tsunami never arrived. Nor did a wave, a ripple or a droplet quench my thirsting heart. I reached out. I called, wrote letters and sent items for which he’d asked. Still…not even a speck of humidity.

When my Gram passed away, Mr. Right and I traveled to Illinois to attend her funeral. For the first time in twenty years, I was going to see my father. I have no idea what I expected, but whatever it was, I didn’t get it. As we left my Gram’s house two days later, I turned and watched the shape of my father growing smaller in the background. It was then that I knew that the father-sized shape in my heart would never be filled and that it was time to start letting go.

It’s a strange thing it is. I thought I’d done a pretty swell job of filling in that void in my heart. I’d accepted things as they were and moved forward. Nice and neat was the package I’d tied a string around and tucked far back into the corner of my ticker.

With one click of a button, with one uttered, “hello, Sister,” with one blink of an eye and one nervously delivered sentence, I shattered once again.

This time…oh, this time…he’s learned his lesson. THIS time, he’ll never touch a gun or a drink again. No one was hurt this time and it was all just a big silly ordeal, but for sure…he’s learned his lesson this time.

Today I’ve thought about what I would say to him if I saw him. I’ve come to the conclusion that I probably wouldn’t say anything. Not because I have nothing to say and not because there aren’t things I want him to hear, but because he wouldn’t hear them. He's incapable. My words wouldn’t change a thing.

Middle Sister keeps hanging on. She clings by the tips of her fingernails to the precipice of the deep empty canyon of Fatherly Love. She explained to me her yearning to be a better human being than my father and her feeling is that if she continues to hold on and remain a part of his life, she will have done better than he did with his father. She still desperately hopes that one day he will give her heart what it has so desperately needed since the beginning of her memory. I understand her need and her desire, really I do. It just hurts my heart to know her longing.

My path will be different from Middle Sister’s. I will choose, rightly or wrongly, to continue healing until nothing remains but a daddy shaped scar.

Scars have a certain beauty, I think. When I look in the mirror at the Frankenstein-ish scar left on my clavicle from the two surgeries after my car accident, I am vividly reminded of my own frailty. But, sometimes…when my shoulder is really hurting me, I reach up and run my fingers over the uneven scar tissue and smile, because it is proof positive that I also have the ability to heal and to overcome more pain than I thought I could bear.