Not Even a Sad Smile
“I said ‘Go!’ damn it!” Daddy said with a hard shove to Mommy’s back. She stumbled forward a few steps and stood still on the porch. Daddy repeated his words with more expletives.
Mommy cried quietly without fighting back and seemed to have no control over her body. She could barely stand, let alone walk. Daddy continued prodding until she was down the front steps and standing next to our car.
My three sisters and I sat on a worn blanket in our front yard that early spring morning crying as we watched them fight.
“Why do you have a suitcase, Daddy?” I asked. “Where’re you going?”
“I’m taking your mother to the airport. Say goodbye.”
“Say goodbye to Mommy? No!” we all cried.
No hugs or kisses. Not even a sad smile. Daddy threw the suitcase in the backseat and shoved Mommy in the front seat of our little white Corvair. They drove away.
Mommy and Daddy had fights all the time but they’d never left us. We stayed on the blanket until Daddy came home three hours later. He was alone.
“Girls, your mother has moved to California.”
Life went on as if Mommy had never been there. We were four lost little waifs who needed their faces washed and their hair brushed in a little town called Meredosia in Illinois.
No one seemed surprised. No one but us, her children.
This scene took place in April 1968.
As my sisters and I grew into adulthood, we each attempted to reconnect with our mother. We all found an empty shell of a woman we didn’t know. Beaten down and broken, Momma barely existed.
I know now that God had a better plan for the home than what my parents showed us. By God’s grace, I accepted that plan and intend to pass it on to others, including to my own daughter.
“Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged” (Colossians 3:18-21 NIV).
“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to blot out their name from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:15-18 NIV).
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