May 08, 2010

my moma

Mother's Day.....
Where do you start with a mother who just is?

When I was around five or six I fell off a 6 ft. fence at my Aunt Sandi's house.
Face first.
Onto a concrete sidewalk.
It hurt. Quite a bit.
I climbed it because I thought it would be fun to be up so high. And my cousin, Marty, was watching. Peer pressure is like a gun to the head. I had to do it, but once I got up there, I was horrified by the height. The only way down was to fall.
So I did.
Funny, my common sense hasn't improved much.
Anyway, Moma rushed me to the family doc. He had to pick each piece of concrete out of my forehead with a needle. It was a big needle and I was scared. I stopped breathing.
Doc looked down at me with his squinty Asian eyes, and told me to look at Moma.
So I did. And in her brown eyes I could see my next breath.
She said, "Just look at me and breath real deep."
I didn't notice the needle anymore.
Moma had me, and I was fine.

I was going on five when Abi was born. We lived in New Boston, PA. Our house was really tall and skinny, five stories.
I stayed home all day with Moma, Jackie, and Abi while the others went to school.
The ritual was that when the older guys got home from school, we would all have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich together.
What four yr. old doesn't look forward to that?
On this particular day though, I didn't get a pb&j.
Moma was taking a nap. Weird. She never did that, but Abi had only just been born like two days before so....
I heard Abi crying frantically upstairs, and wanted to help Moma out.
So I went up to her room, dragged her out of the crib, and took off down the stairs.
I met Mother coming up the stairs. She looked at me standing there, clinging to the railing with one hand and Abi hanging like a sack of flour under the other arm.
She slowly stalked up towards me, took the baby away, and grabbed the hair on the back of my head. Grabbed it hard.
"You will go to your room now. You will not have a snack with the rest of us. DO NOT. EVER. LET ME CATCH YOU BRINGING HER DOWN THE STAIRS ALONE AGAIN!!! Go."
I was stupid, but not dumb.
I went.
She had insanity in her eyes.

We were always broke when I was growing up.
I never knew it though. Moma didn't act like we had nothing. She made do.
One Christmas before I was born, Moma wanted to get a Christmas tree, but she couldn't.
Dad wanted the money for something else. Typical guy.
Moma was stubborn though.
She figured, well fine then......watch me.
She pulled out the old ironing board and decorated it.
Lights, colored balls, tinsel.
Wrapped up the presents and put them underneath.
I have no doubt my dad felt like a heel on Christmas morning, looking at that ironing board.
And I have no doubt Moma was giving him her stubborn look too. Lips thinned down, chin pushed forward a bit, and brown eyes scolding.
I wish I had been there.

When I was seven, Bro. Lutrick worked for my dad quite a bit.
He was over one time when I pushed my Moma too far.
I don't remember what I did, but she sent me to "The Room" to wait for her. Ever notice how when it's spanking time, they don't just say the room? It's The Room. Capital letters, and a deeper, slower voice. The Room suddenly goes from being the place were you cuddle up with Mom, to the place of darkness and evil purging.
I hated spankings. I didn't get them very often.
Moma came in, pulled the old ceder board out of the drawer, and told me to bend over.
I was mortified that she would spank me with Bro. Lutrick there.
I went to my knees, hands clasped together. Begging with all I had.
"Please, please, please, please, pleeeease don't spank me, Moma! I love you. I won't do it again. Want me to wash the dishes for you? Brush your hair maybe? Start doing my own laundry?"
The tears streamed down my face. Profusely. A torrent.
Moma plopped down on the bed and laughed. She laughed so hard. Just sitting there, laughing and holding that board.
I was so relieved, I was safe.
I sucked down my tears, stood up, and went closer to her.
Big one mistake.
Just as I started to say I love you again, she grabbed my arm.
Chucked me over the end of the bed and spanked me hard.
I was astonished.
She was still laughing.

Every morning for as long as I can remember, I would get up in the mornings and look for Moma first.
She would almost always be in the same place.
On the living room couch, curlers in her hair, cup of Folgers in her hand, wearing her red checkered robe.
Reading her Bible.
Every time I saw her, I felt safe.


Moma's always been the glue, the resting place, the one to comfort us.
She taught me to love the outdoors. To love plants and flowers.
She tried to teach me to cook and sew. She taught me what it meant to be a lady.
She taught me to be faithful to my church.
She showed me what true unselfishness is.
She taught me how to love.
I  heart you, Moma.
I'm glad you had me for your's.
I love you because you loved me first.