It’s no secret. I’m probably the biggest Momma’s boy to ever draw a breath.
Momma did the best she could after my dad passed away in 1974. I was 8 at the time.
She dealt with his terminal illness, packed us into a school bus yellow Volvo 164 station wagon, and moved us the 14 hour drive back to Mississippi so he could die at home with the relatives on Linden Street.
Momma had to work during the day. There were arrangements for my supervision after the school day was over. I cried a lot during those afternoon hours until Momma picked me up. I’m sure people thought the worst of me – that I was a spoiled, unmanageable little turd, broken beyond repair.
I was absolutely scared out of my mind that I might lose my Momma, too. It was my mortal horror – the monster in my closet that I wrestled with every day our lives were in flux. I calmed down and the monster moved on when she plunked down money on the barrel head and bought the little flat rancher on the big corner lot. It quickly began to feel like we weren’t going anywhere anytime soon. It felt like home.
She sacrificed pretty much everything for my sister and I. It’s what responsible parents do. They create family. A sense of family separates us in part from our club-wielding ancestors. Family allows us to venture out and test the boundaries of the world. It’s what makes us strong.
We’ve had our moments, my mother and I – mostly due to my bad decision-making – and even though I haven’t atoned for all my shortcomings, I believe she knows now that her sacrifice was a worthy cause.
I pick up the phone and call her at least two or three times a week, and it’s always for nothing important because, sometimes?… you just need to hear your mother’s voice.