Whatever, the old girl deserves her rest.
It's been a very leisurely morning around here. It poured rain for awhile and we slept until nine which is unusual even for me, and unheard of for my husband but as I told him, "It never got light," and that is true. Not really. Last night I made biscuits and had no buttermilk and so used milk with lemon juice in it and I swear- they were the highest-rising biscuits I may have ever made. This morning I fried some of the leftovers, split in half, in butter for my husband and he was so happy.
It is still this morning. So very, very still. I am thinking about what happened after my mother and C. got married. This event had finally happened and looking back, I am still not quite sure why. Mother claimed she got pregnant on her honeymoon and this may be so but perhaps she got pregnant right before they were married and that event pushed C.'s reluctant hand into marriage. Somehow I knew he wasn't really too sure about getting married and the day of the tiny wedding, he was late as he could be and I remember my mother's anxiety that he would show up at all.
But he did.
I was either nine or on the trembling cusp of ten. This I know because it was the summer before fifth grade when they got married. They went on a long car-trip honeymoon out west and my grandparents stayed with my brother and me as they had done the summers before when Mother was down in Gainesville, working on her degree.
When they got back, I was so thrilled. I finally and at last, had a daddy. A real, true daddy. I was, despite any issues or misgivings I may have had, over the moon with happiness.
And then, almost immediately, the abuse began.
I am not going to go into details. They do not matter. But I will say the abuse occurred in my mother and C.'s bed and in my own bed. Mostly.
I remember well the first time it happened, I believe.
My brother and I had always jumped into Mother's bed on Sunday mornings. This was our ritual and when C. and Mother got back from their honeymoon, we did the same as always and there was laughing and giggling and all was well until Mother got up to make breakfast before we all went to church.
And thus a new routine was born. And I was as confused as I could be.
This was my new daddy who loved me. This was my new daddy who made my mother so happy. This was my new daddy who was making our family complete and whole, finally and at last.
This was my new daddy who was so big and so...
I had no idea that what he was doing was not what daddies did. But. In some part of me, I knew that it was not. I mean, kids just know. And yet, they do not have the voice to say "Stop it, what are you doing?" They do not have the power to say, "You may not do this." They do not have the conviction that this is a wrongness to say, "I will tell."
Instead, they only know that there is a new way for this person whom they love to show attention and affection for them, as wrong as it may feel.
This is hard, you know, to write. Just talking about it brings back all of the weirdness, the shame, the confusion, the anger, the fear of discovery, the desire for discovery, the feelings of weakness and yet, at the same time, a sort of power. The feeling of utter betrayal.
All of this leads to the beginnings of sex and relationships and trust and love and family all becoming so very complex. A lifetime's worth of complexity and pain and damage and reaction instead of action and misunderstanding and, and, and...
The never-ending layers of that onion.
And there was no where to hide.
My mother at first was just so thrilled that her new husband was showing such love and affection for her daughter that he wanted to tuck her in every night. And then, as her pregnancy continued and then, when it ended so suddenly and tragically around five or six months with a cord accident, she descended into depression and sorrow once again and became unaware of anything going on around her due to that which was going on inside of her.
My mother had wanted that baby with all of her heart. She loved babies. And before she had me, her eldest, she had lost two others. One a miscarriage, one a stillbirth. So this loss, I am sure, was not only tragic in itself, but brought back the other losses and although she kept on living after this baby's death inside of her and the induction of labor in order to rid her body of the poor fetus, it was a sort of life which disallowed for anything except doing that and only that which she absolutely had to attend to.
And although C. may have grieved the death of his child, too, he was somehow still able to continue to tuck me in at night, to do what it was he did.
And it seems to me, looking back, that everything went dark in my life for quite awhile.
Well, shake it off now, old gal. This is not that time. This is so many years later and it is a quiet day but later on those little boys will be coming over to spend the night and there will be food for the steak monsters and I will cook them edamame beans in the pod and salt them well and for dessert there will be purple cows and there will be stories and there will be light and Gibson will probably make us all hold hands before we eat and he will chant one of his mysterious chants and make us repeat it and we will laugh and if Owen can stay awake long enough, he will beg for the Mr. Peep story before he falls asleep which is a routine we began when he was such a young cub, which he still loves, and hopefully always remembers and will feel the love and safety he felt falling asleep as a little boy when his grandmother soothed him into sleep with a story about a very, very old turkey who played and played all day.
Amen and so forth.