And on this day, a baby girl was born.

Yep.  My mother said it was a “breeze” compared to my older brother.  I was born in a hospital.  My mother smoked through her pregnancy with me and she did not breast feed me.  After a few short days, I was on my way to my first home, a small apartment.  Of course I don’t remember this time at all, but my mother said I was advanced for my age.

My first memory is of the moving that took place as we left Boston for Chicago.  I remember the shiny wood floor that my brother and I would play on.  In this room, my father was sorting through our toys and giving them away to neighbors.  I was upset.  There were toys that he gave away, in front of me, that I really liked.  I remember feeling anxiety, sadness, and a general feeling of insecurity about my future.

We were off to Chicago.  I don’t remember a whole lot.  I was enrolled in kindergarten and I was so proud to go to school.  My mom said I never waved goodbye when I got on the bus.  It was the 70’s, and our school had an “open classroom”.  Apparently I took it upon myself to leave my kindergarten group to go visit my brother Billy who was in first grade.  I distinctly remember when my parents were coming to the school to meet with my teachers.  I was excited for them to come.  I wanted them to be proud of me and how I could be a “big girl” while at school.  I saw them come in and I waited around my personal cubby draw in order to act like I was focused and doing really important work.

I also remember a particular morning when I did not want to go to school.  I was crying pretty hard.  Finally I decided that I would go and hide and maybe my mother wouldn’t find me and I could stay home.  I hid in my parent’s closet.  I waited and waited and waited for my mother to come and find me.  She never did.  I ended up leaving my hiding space because I thought she forgot about me.  My recollection is not clear, but I’m pretty sure she sent me to school.

I have few memories of the time in Chicago.  I remember my Auntie Elaine coming to visit with my cousin Mikey.  I remember her leaving me 2 Hershey’s kisses by my bed.

I remember trying to run away from home with Billy.  I remember waking up in the middle of the night and I went out to the living room and both of my parents were gone.  I started crying pretty hard.  After a while, my parents came back.  They were at a party a couple of doors down.  I remember my Mom saying my name.  And she picked me up.

The defining event of Chicago, however, was the time my father hit my mother.  At the time, I did not know why they were fighting.  But my mother said she was going to call my father’s mother, Grandma Carr.  My father got violent.  He ripped the phone cord out of the wall, went after my mother, and was screaming and yelling at her.  My little brother, who was only 2, hit his head on the corner of the coffee table.  He was screaming, but neither of my parents responded to his cry.  I tried to help Kevin, but I wasn’t strong enough to lift him.

It wasn’t long after this that my mother, my brother’s, and I were on a plane back to Boston.  I remember the pancakes on the plane.  I don’t remember much about what happened in Boston, but I remember my father having candies on the coffee table when we returned.  Soon after that, we were in a UHaul truck back to Boston.

The thing is, I had recurring dreams about this fight over and over for years.  I kept telling my mother I had “the dream” again.  I kept asking if it really happened, and she told me no.

Years later, I learned that my dream was in fact true.  I was very upset with my mother for not being honest with me.  It turns out that my father had an affair with some woman down there.  From the moment my mother caught him until the day he died, he claimed that he didn’t cheat on my mother.  I knew though, when I first heard that there was another woman, that my father was having a full blown affair with her.

I *knew* my father was a monster from at least 5 years old, probably before.

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