Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dad's Journal

My dad kept a journal. I guess that must be where I get it from. His were "guy journals" and were before the days of blogging, though. Have you seen those 1 year calendars that you can buy at the drug store? They're fake leather and they're about the size of a Reader's Digest. They have one week per page and have just enough space for "the facts." Yesterday my husband and I cleaned the basement while on our 7th Anniversary "stay-cation." Yes, I know...very romantic. After 7 years married and 11 years together, cleaning the basement for our Anniversary extended weekend sounded heavenly. Trust me. Anyway, I ran across several years of my dad's journal. In his journals he detailed the things he ate, how he was feeling, his exercise regimen, movies he watched, alcohol consumption (bz), phones calls, visits with family and friends, etc. All in one tidy, little 3 inch square.

Just by happenstance I chose the 1993 calendar first and began reading through. That was the year I got married for the first time. I was 19 years old and definitely still Daddy's girl. It's fairly evident, too, because my dad's journal has a lot about me in it. We visited a lot and talked on the phone all the time. It made me smile to see that. It also made me recognize the huge hole in my life that is still there. So, there it was:

February 23, 1993 - Cold out. Up at 5:07AM. Did not fly. Helped Tom tow planes around. After lunch washed 580 till 3:00PM. Sat around till 4:30PM. Home around 5:30. Went to S's to fix toilet - she said I looked yellowish *worried. Stool very hard. Taco Bell. Bed at 11:00PM. No Bz. No Exercise. No Run.

And there it was plain as day. The day our lives turned upside down my dad had come to my apartment to fix my toilet. I vividly remember standing behind him in the bathroom. He stood up from the toilet tank and I caught our reflections side-by-side in the mirror. It was absolutely shocking to see. His skin was so yellow it was as if he had used one of those old, cheap self tanners and tried to wash it off. Remember that stuff? Compared to my skin, he looked positively odd. At the time, I didn't even really understand what jaundice was. I just knew that my dad looked weird and yellow. He brushed it off as though maybe he's had some bad food. According to his journal, the next morning at 8AM he made a doctor's appointment.

By March 2, 1993, the doctors had ruled out Hepatitis and a few other things. Here's his entry from that day:

No Work. Dr. Appt today. Up at 9:30AM. Rod's b-day (60) Not much sleep last night. S came over at lunch. Went to Dr. Appt 2:15 - does not look good. Some sort of scarring on most internal organs. TB, cancer? Not sure. Took blood & urine test. Stopped & got Wendy's hamburg (great) Was real tired. Watched TV. Bed at 11:00. Took pills. Slept good tonight. No Bz. Talked to Mom.

I do love that he took the time to describe his Wendy's burger as "Great" in the midst of all of that scary stuff. It made me sad to read through his journal yesterday. It kind of brought it all back. I remember feeling like I might have been semi-responsible because I'm the one who noticed that he was yellow. I've always been pretty observant. Sometimes I wish I didn't notice everything. And I know it's totally stupid to feel responsible for something like that just for noticing. It was a really confusing time. I was getting married at 19, which was not the right thing for me. My dad was sick and he might have cancer. It was a terrifying year. Dad did a good job of downplaying, but again my powers of observation were a little too strong. And my gift for asking lots of questions....well, it got me to the truth. There wasn't much Dad could hide after all. Can't fool me. He needed my help to get to some of his appointments, so I kind of needed to be in the know. This was just the beginning of the roller coaster ride of Dad's illness that lasted 6 years.

I still miss him every single day.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Last Day of Summer

Today is the last day of summer and I'm feeling ponderous about the past again. Remembering the fall as a kid when life went back to crazy after my brother and I spent nice, semi-normal summers with our grandparents. Fall was back-to-school. I always had butterflies in my stomach on the first day of school. I would have a hard time eating or sleeping. I'm still the same way when I have something important going on at work. For example, I have to travel on Wednesday this week and all I can think about is getting it over with. Thankfully I only have to travel about 10% of the time....which is 10% too much for me. It's just not my thing.

But I digress. About this time of year, there would be parent-teacher conferences at school. I lived with my mom until I was almost 8 years old. She was never really into conferences or, I guess, never really into me. One year, she did try to be semi-interested. She had to work at the bar so she sent her boyfriend, Ed, in her place. Weird enough to send your boyfriend, but the best part was the way that he acted. Ed got me and my brother in his pickup truck and set out down the street to the school. Fortunately the school was less than half a mile away. Back in those days, seatbelts were optional, so I'm quite sure we were not strapped in. In fact, I can remember crawling around the truck cab so I am absolutely sure that we were not wearing seatbelts.

We arrived at the parent-teacher conferences with a very jovial Ed. They also had some sort of table set up and activities for kids at the school, presumably for those children who showed up with their parents. To give you a picture of what Ed looked like, imagine a guy in his early 20's (mom's "younger man") and a very carefree attitude, longish 70's hair and a scruffy moustache. Ed was very handsome and not terribly responsible. Definitely the kind of guy with some Ted Nugent 8-tracks in his pickup. I thought Ed was wonderful. He was in a great mood and greeted our teachers with enthusiasm. Some of them looked at him funny, but I thought he was lots of fun.

The rest of the evening is a little foggy or possibly just insignificant. We woke up the next morning (a Saturday) and something was off. Ed was in the hallway patching a hole in the wall. My mom was nowhere to be found....pretty typical for any day, really. I went to the living room to watch cartoons and my brother filled me in. He would have been about 9 or so at the time. I was about 6 years old.

"What's going on? What's Ed doing?"

"Oh, he punched a hole in the wall last night. Didn't you hear that?"

"No. Why would he do that?"

"Mom was mad at him for taking us to conferences drunk. They got in a fight and he got mad and punched a hole in the wall," my brother said calmly.

"Oh," I responded.

"So, I think Mom broke up with him but she's making him fix the wall."

"Well, yeah, I guess he should fix it," I was thoughtful for a moment, "What's drunk?"

"It's when someone drinks a lot of beers and they act silly."

....and that was the last time I saw Ed.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mother of the Year

Ok, so after I got all hearts and flowers this morning about how I want to be this kick ass mom....well, I had one of those mornings. The kind where you lose it. Now I feel like hell. Bam-Bam is down for a nap and I feel like the worst mom in the entire world. You see, he's two years old, so he is seriously....and I can't think of a better way to put this....a little shit. Please don't misunderstand, he is a sweet little boy who loves to give kisses and hugs. He adores his kitty. He likes to hold my hand while he sits in the wagon. What a lovely little boy. And what a little shit. He is in super defiant, test-the-waters mode.

Daddy is working today. Mommy is fun mommy - we watch movies, we play, we sing, we dance. Everything is going great. Then I tell him it's almost nap time so he needs to take off his shoes. All hell breaks lose. He wants his damn Transformer shoes with the heels that light up. He does NOT want them off. So, I take them off and he blows a gasket. Like a two year old. Screaming. Kicking. Hitting. Good lord, kid. Are you serious with this crap? So, honestly, I yelled. I yelled LOUD! Put him in time out. Counted to 10...nope.....20....nope.....30....keep going. He was seriously pissing me off. I hate yelling. I think it's different to have a louder tone as opposed to yelling. I was insolent. I was angry. I just wanted him to shut the hell up. And I truly wanted to beat his little behind. I would never, but oh, sometimes.....the kid tests my resolve. Must everything be such a struggle?

So, we went round and round. I tried to go back to him in time out, he shouted "NO!!!!" at the top of his lungs. Over and over. On and on. And, people, I just could not take it anymore. I bitch slapped the wall. 3 times. 'Til my hand hurt. Funny thing was, Bam-Bam was so shocked that he completely shut up. Then I went over to the steps and collapsed in a heap and cried. Nice job, Mom. Jesus! What is wrong with me? Sometimes it is just so frustrating.

We finally made up and got his stuffed animals, read the story and got his little buns in bed for his nap. I told him Mommy was sorry for yelling at him and told him over and over how much I love him. Hope he's not scarred for life. I really want to be the perfect mom, but, well....it ain't happening.



Little shit.

Bad Mommy.

Oh well.

Life goes on.

Flash Forward to Fear

I've been talking so much about that past, and it's been therapy for me. Truly it has. Today, I want to talk about the present. The present is definitely not as interesting as the past, so I guess that's why I don't bother to bring it up much. I believe that the best way to move forward is to accept the past and charge ahead toward the future. This blog is helping me to do that.

Let me tell you a little about fears. I have them. Probably too many. Most completely irrational. Becoming a mother has introduced a bunch of other fears that I never knew I had. My biggest fear, however, is dying. I don't worry about what will become of my soul. I'm all set there. I don't worry about the dying process. That is scary and unknown, but I realize we all have to do it eventually. I worry about dying while my son is still young. I worry that he will have to have a hard life like I did. I want him to have a childhood. So, I feel like if I die, so does his childhood. I don't even know if I'm making sense. I just want for him all of the things I never had, including a mother who is there for him throughout his childhood. A mother who kisses boo-boo's and gives hugs and kisses. A mother who wants to know how his day was. A mother who pays more attention to him than the phone or her friends. A mother who's there.

What if I'm not? What if something happened to me? My husband is a great man but I'm afraid he would unravel. He's pretty dependent on me. I know, I know. I don't give him enough credit. But I worry. I know it's irrational, nonetheless I worry.

So, how do I let go of these fears? Is this normal? Will there always be some underlying fear?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Definition of Delegating

"Daddy," I said, "can you help me?"

"Sure, pussycat. What do you need?"

"Well, I want to draw a picture of you mowing the lawn but I'm not sure how to draw a lawnmower."

(chuckles) "I can try to do that for you. Let me see your crayons."

Daddy drew me a very nice, lawnmower....obviously drawn by an engineer.

"Thanks Daddy. It's SO good!"

I sat coloring quietly for a few minutes.

"Daddy. Um, I need your help again."

"Sure, pussycat. What do you need?"

"Well, now I want to draw a picture of a person pushing the lawnmower but I'm not good at drawing hands. And I don't know how to draw your face with your moustache from the side. Well, you did such a nice job with the lawnmower that I thought you could help me with that part, too."

Dad thinks for a minute.

"Pussycat, I thought you were drawing this for me. Don't you want to do it yourself?"

"Yes, Daddy. Just leave it blank so I can color it in. I will add the background, too. It will be a surprise. Trust me, you will love it!"

And you know what, he drew it. I colored it in. He LOVED it! Great sun and grass and birds in the background.

Mission accomplished.

And that is how I became the great delegator that I am today. Turns out it was instinct.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Good Babysitter

Carol was a lady in her late 20's with a brand new baby boy and 2 older boys. She was married to Bob, who for some reason always reminded me of Fred Flintstone. I guess that's because I was four years old. Carol was the total opposite of my mom. She had dark brown hair, freckles, glasses and she loved me. When we were at Bob & Carol's house it was like living in a real family. The boys were like my brothers and I was Carol's only girl. They had the most beautiful and perfect dog, a big Irish Setter with just the right temperament. We played hide & seek, we played Star Wars, Carol cooked nice meals like chili and spaghetti and macaroni and cheese. When I got a boo-boo, Carol would kiss it better. When I was upset, Carol would comfort me. At night, when everyone went to bed, sometimes I would come out and tell Carol that I couldn't sleep. She would pat the couch beside her and I'd lay down next to her. We'd watch The Love Boat and she would stroke my hair and tickle my back until I fell asleep. I would fall asleep feeling loved and secure. And, of course, I would be awakened at 3AM every morning to get in my mom's car after the bars closed and go back to my reality.

As with everyone else in my life, Carol only remained a short time. I'm not sure why we stopped going there but they were the best times of my young life, other than being with my grandma. I always wished Carol could be my real mom. Sometimes, I still do.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


I received this email today from my grandmother, E.B. Hope you enjoy....

I thought you might like this story of my personal nine/eleven:

......... 64 years ago. Bill and I had traveled by train from Memphis to the farm on Saturday. I was 8 months pregnant and the lady who had rented me a room while Bill was on Base was getting nervous that I might have the baby there . She had rented to me on the condition that I Daddy didn't have a car then and gas was rationed . Maybe Leland Henderson picked us up. Bill left on Sunday to hitch hike back to the Naval Base at Millington.I walked out to the mail box on Highway 307 with him and walked back after he had caught a ride.
On Monday, Mama was going to Mayfield to join her siblings in getting ready for the sale of Grandma Gillam's furniture . Mr. Gillam , Mama's stepfather, had been dragged and kicked to death by a horse he was beating . I decided to go with her and stop in town at the hospital with my government papers to make arrangements for my baby's birth at the Fuller- Gillam Hospital . Incidentally, Anita was the first baby in our family to be born in a hospital...
Leland drove us there before school started. He dropped me off at the hospital and took Mama out to the farm. Uncle Alton, Aunt Pauline, Uncle Curlin, Aunt Mildred, Aunt Myrtle were all there with grandma.
It was a long wait to see the doctor. He was just discharged from the service and the retired doctor who had been called back to the hospital during the War was on a well-earned vacation. Finally I got in for an examination. "Oops", he said, "you're in labor ." "I can't be ", I replied. "I'm not due until October." He said I was dilated, but I had no idea what that meant. I hadn't seen a doctor since I left Athens ,Georgia , 2 months ago . He let me go home to get my necessities for entering the hospital , but he didn't know that I would walk (in high heels) the mile out of town to Grandma's house (at noon on a hot September day ). Everybody was at lunch when I walked in with the announcement : " The doctor says I'm in labor !"
Chairs flew as people jumped up. It was decided that Uncle Alton would take Mama and me back to the farm. All the way,he kept saying, "Don't you have that baby in my car !"
Well , actually, it wasn't until the next day that Anita Ruth made her apperience into this world. She weighed in at 5 lbs, 9 oz . The doctor said he slept in his clothes next to the phone, expecting to be called during the night. I wouldn't let Mama call Bill until the birth had taken place because he was due to solo as a pilot that day ;and I was afraid he would be nervous. So she called him to tell him he had a daughter.. It wasn't the Marine's custom to give leaves for maternity during the War . They had a saying that they hadn't lost a father yet...but one of Bill's friends was on the desk when he got the call and wrote him a leave. He walked in about bedtime grinning from ear to ear. Yes, he had hitch hiked all the way from Memphis to Mayfield .

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


The other night I was changing my clothes and looked down at a little round scar that I have on my stomach from the chicken pox. When I look at that scar, it makes me think back to being 4 years old. My parents had been divorced for about 6 months at this point. My mom had been in a serious car accident on Christmas Eve (1977) and we'd spent a great deal of time with our grandparents. My mom had her nose split open, her wrist broken and her knee sprained when a drunk driver decided to head out on the roads one night after a few too many eggnogs. I thought she was Frankenstein the first time she came to visit and I wouldn't go near her until she left and I screamed and cried for her to come back. I think of that scene a lot because it's such a symbol of the way our relationship has always been.

Anyway, the chicken pox. My mom was healed and finally back to work when my brother and I contracted the chicken pox from the kids of the lady who watched us. Her name was Connie and she had 6 kids. 6 mean kids. And 1 mean lady. And 1 brow-beaten husband, as I recall. Oh, and a really unkempt but sweet dog. You may have memories of having the chicken pox and spending that time being comforted and taken care of by your mother. That is the way I imagined it for everyone else, anyway. For me, it was just another example of us getting in the way. All a kid wants when they're sick and feeling lousy is to be comforted. Connie took care of us while we had the chicken pox.

Let me tell you about Connie. She was a mean, nasty woman who required me to face the wall during my nap. If I turned around in my sleep, I would be manhandled back into the facing-the-wall position. Needless to say, I didn't really sleep when I was at Connie's house. I don't even remember what she looked like but I remember being so afraid of her. I never felt like she treated anyone else as bad as she treated me, and I imagine that I thought that because it was happening to me.

I slept on a cot in the living room of Connie's house. This made it easier for my mother to slip in after she was done working at the bar (Offshore 21 where she was a waitress). She would come in at 3AM and wake us up to get us in the car and then put us in our own beds about 15 minutes later when we got home. Sometimes I think that's why I've never been able to get a good night's sleep. I always seem to be waiting to be woken up.

Once I peed in the cot at Connie's house. I was way past potty training, but Connie didn't allow us to get up once we went to bed. We were expected to hold it. When she discovered that I had urinated in the cot, she humiliated me by waking everyone up in the house to show them what I'd done. Not only that, she encouraged her children to taunt me. They laughed and pointed at me. I felt so ashamed of myself. I felt so worthless. I was 4.

These are just a couple of examples of what happened at Connie's house. I won't keep going because, frankly, it's too painful. You can imagine how nurturing she was with me when I had to go through the pain and discomfort of chicken pox at her house. Dirty, corn starch bath water and "suck it up" were not my idea of being cared for. I believe this experience is the reason that I am acutely aware of who is watching my child at all times. I almost never go out and would not dream of leaving him with someone that I don't know and trust as much as I trust myself. I am terrified of my little boy ever feeling that way.

We didn't stay at Connie's house for long, but it's not because my mom decided to take us from her house. One day, Connie was standing on top of her old hi-fi stereo dusting off a plant. Her house was always a mess and the hi-fi had a bunch of records on top of it. She slipped and fell and broke her back, right there in front of me. I mean RIGHT in front of me. The ambulance came and took her away and my mother was told she would be laid up for quite a while. I always felt bad that I was happy, so happy, when it happened. I wondered if it had happened because I had willed it to happen so I could get away from her. I imagined that I made it happen because I was looking at her. I'll never know the answer to that and I'm quite sure I didn't make it happen....but just the same I always have this little feeling of guilt (and pleasure) when I think of that day.

So, it was back to the child care drawing board for my mom. Luckily, the next stop was a nice one. But that's for another story.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Possibly the Most Romantic Story Ever

To take a segue in the story, I want to talk about my grandmother, E.B. She's the one I referred to in my introduction as the person to whom I am most grateful for teaching me about perseverance. This is the story of how she and my grandfather met. Prepare yourself for most likely the most romantic story you've ever read. Hopefully I can do it justice and hopefully I get the details relatively accurate.

My grandmother grew up on a farm in a very small, rural town in Kentucky. She was the oldest and had one sister and 3 brothers. The daughter and granddaughter of sharecroppers, E.B. had big dreams. She planned to go to college. This was no small feat, considering that at 18 she was a poor farm girl and it was the early 40's. It was unheard of at the time. But somehow, she convinced her parents that it was the right thing. She was always a smart girl, so perhaps (and this I don't know for sure), they thought it would be a good outlet. I'll never know how she convinced her dad, old Willy the stubborn farmer, that she could do this. Nonetheless, her own stubbornness, inherited from him, had won out.

E.B. set off for Murray State with dreams of becoming a teacher. She devoured college like nothing she'd ever done. She was a straight A student and teacher's pet. She didn't go out, she didn't socialize, she just studied. That was it. She had her eyes on the prize. She was a pretty girl, not beautiful, but a pretty little bookworm notwithstanding.

On the other side of the states in California, a young man named Billy, the son of the first Liquor Control officer of San Francisco, was growing up with dreams of playing football and going to college, probably in that order. He was handsome, not just a little but "movie star" handsome. I heard he was a high school classmate of Lana Turner's. He was a young man who loved to fish. He had deep set, beautiful blue eyes that could cut right through a girl with one look. His dark brown hair and ruddy complexion, combined with the physique of a football player, made him one hell of a package. He set off for Murray State and was chosen for the football team. At the moment, I can't remember what position he played.

While young Billy spent his time playing football and socializing, E.B. was hitting the books. Their paths didn't seem likely to cross. Some time in the Winter or her freshman year, E.B. developed an acute case of appendicitis. Surgery was the only way for her to survive. She had no choice but to submit to the instructions of the college infirmary doctors. When she came to after the surgery, she was told that she would have to skip her exams and rest up. E.B. was livid! She hadn't come this far and worked this hard to miss her exams. She went all the way to the dean and insisted that there had to be some way to complete her studies for the semester. He thought about it, he knew this girl and he knew she was serious. He also knew that she never got out and socialized. He also knew a certain young football player with a strong back and with a way with the girls......

The Dean allowed my grandmother to complete her exams, but only if she would agree to be ushered about campus by a strong football player named Billy. His job was simple, carry her to her classes so she could complete her exams. He agreed and began his duties, perhaps thinking that it would be pretty interesting taking around this bookish girl. During that time, I like to imagine that she showed him a little bit about being more serious and he showed her a little bit about loosening up.

They had known each other for about 3 weeks and E.B. was beginning to heal as they continued their new "friendship". It was beginning to get cold in Kentucky, there was a chill in the air, so Billy invited E.B. to the local coffee shop for toasted cheese sandwiches and hot cocoa. She agreed. As they left the shop that day, on the eve of Christmas vacation, snowflakes slowly started to fall. Growing up in California, Billy had never seen snow before. He was amazed. And maybe it was something about the moment, with this pretty and smart girl that he's known a short time but had fallen in love with, he grabbed her and picked her up in his arms and asked her to marry him. With snowflakes catching in their eyelashes and love swelling in their hearts, E.B. said "Yes, Yes!!!"

Days later, on Christmas Eve, they were married in a small ceremony. My grandmother wore a navy suit and I'm not even sure what grandpa wore, but I bet he looked fantastic. I can only imagine with those piercing blue eyes and, oh, did I mention the deep cleft in his chin? My grandmother told me about their wedding night (without ALL the details - thank God!). They spent that night in her parents living room near the wood burning furnace on the pull-out sofa. My grandmother told me that in the morning when her father came to put more wood in the fire, she blushed under the covers with the knowledge of what she and my grandfather had done the night before. She also told me about her uncomfortable, bouncy horse and buggy ride to church the next morning, if you know what I mean. She thought everyone at church was staring at her and imagining what she'd done. I just love the purity and innocence in that.

This is by far my favorite story. I'd like to tell you that everything after that was happily ever after, and for a time everything was. I'll save the rest for later. I think this one will keep you smiling for a while.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

New Direction....How I Started

Earlier, I posted about work and I just deleted it. It was nice to get that off my chest but far too dangerous. I've decided to take a new direction with my blog and talk about what made me who I am today. I've led an interesting life in the past, which is why I lead a relatively boring (but happily boring) life now. I think it will be good therapy for me and maybe even for you, who knows? And along the way, I suppose some musings from daily life that may serve as comic relief.

I'll give you a small summary to begin with, which will kick off and set the tone for the new blog. How did I come to be a working mom of one and wife? It was quite a road. It started in a little hospital called Mount Clemens General Hospital in Mount Clemens, Michigan. It was 1973, slightly before disco and after hippies. My parents were a young, restless housewife and a mild-mannered, soft-spoken Air National Guardsman. My brother was 3 1/2 years old and not happy about my arrival. He was interested in getting a puppy. Imagine his surprise when he discovered it was me and not a golden retriever wrapped in that receiving blanket. My parents were happy to have a baby girl, though not necessarily happy with each other. I preserved their facade (well, at least my mom's facade) for about 3 1/2 years. My mother told me at some point after I reached adulthood that when they found out she was pregnant with me they had stopped trying for a baby because they were unhappy in their marriage and then....oops...there I was. I'm not sure how she imagined that would make me feel, but then again, my mom isn't so good with caring about how anyone feels but her. My arrival came some time in the middle of the night. My grandmother tells me the story of how she waited and waited for me, then came home from the hospital and collapsed with exhaustion only to awaken a few hours later prepared to go and teach 30 sixth graders whatever it is that you teach sixth graders. I guess nowadays someone in her position would have called in sick but not E.B. Nope, that's where I learned to persevere. She's the one who taught me how to make it in life, even through hard times. Without her, I have no idea where I would be now....but that's for another entry.

I don't really remember much before my mom and dad got divorced. The only part I remember about them being together was fighting. And I remember the day that they told us they were breaking up. I was 3 1/2 years old and my world would never be the same. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I think divorce will scar a child for life...if the parents do it maturely and properly. It's what happens after, with two people that are trying to find themselves while they forget that they created two lives, that's the part that fucks everything up. Anyway, I sat on my toy box when they told me, the one that my dad made for me in his work shop downstairs. Dad's workshop was off limits. To keep me away from the dangerous tools, I was told that the boogey man lived there. Probably not the best thing but it worked. I still look over my shoulder every time I go downstairs to do laundry.

When they told me I didn't really understand. And I didn't realize it at the time, but they had already been separated for some time and sleeping in separate beds. This was just when Daddy was moving out. You have to understand that I was a Daddy's girl. My dad could do no wrong. All I ever wanted was to be with him. To have him hold me. He's the only one who I remember showing me some measure of affection. My mom was always too busy to do that. So him leaving the house was devastating to me. I felt like there was something I'd done to cause it. Somehow if I had been a better girl, he wouldn't be leaving. It was a lot for a little kid to grasp. I wondered if my parents didn't love each other anymore, did that mean that they might stop loving me? It was 1977, before quality time and therapy and all that feelings crap. Nobody told me that they wouldn't stop loving me one day. If they had, years later it would have felt like a lie anyway.