One of These Days You are Going to Hear Your Story

I love the fact that I can have a perfectly good idea (or several) planned for my next blog, that I wait an entire week to write, with anticipation, and then exactly ten minutes before my date is scheduled, the tea kettle is whistling, and the bananabreadslice is being cut for my late night snack, MY MIND GETS CHANGED.  I have learned many, many things, though, over my 37, almost 38 years on this planet.  One of those is things is the very probable ideal that what I plan to do is not what ends up happening.  In addition I’ve learned: it’s okay.  IT’S OKAY.  The blogging portal is not going to close up and leave my computer blank, sad, and alone if what I had on my mind Monday night is not what I choose to actually record for posterity’s sake Tuesday night.  It isn’t!  My computer is still on.  It’s running (albeit slowly), I’m writing, and I’m still enjoying a cup of green tea and bananabread. Whew.  Thank goodness!

So, you see, tonight I was reading Paula Danziger’s Amber Brown Wants Extra Credit to Maycee before bed.  Every night (pretty much) for her entire little life thus far we have read her Bible Book religiously-no pun….agh, you know…We also used to read a second bedtime story every night, as well, one carefully chosen from Goodnight Moon to Skippy John Jones.  No matter where we are (just about), be it this house, our old house, another house, the ghetto apartment, a motel room, Grandma’s, we read before bed.  The Amber Brown book was one I bought early in the school year last year, and it is a chapter book with very few pictures.  I did not realize that Maycee would be reading this level of book by the end of First Grade.  I bought it because it came in a three-pack, and one of the other books was about dogs.  BELOVED DOGS.  Maycee’s favorite subject.  Knowing what I know now about Maycee’s reading ability, I decided it was time to get the reading juices flowing again as we near the end of her summer.  But, really, little else could I foretell…

We first opened the cover last Saturday night, all snuggled up in the “big bed” of the master bedroom, and I began reading with excitement.  As the pages turned and the story developed, I found myself squirming as the words came out of my mouth and spread into the air around us.  Squirming because the dialogue seemed just a tad familiar. 

“My mother and I are in the car, not saying much of anything.   What she did say is that she is ‘really not happy with the way I’ve been acting.’  Well, I’m really not happy with the way she’s been acting.  I keep staring straight ahead.  Then I look over at my mother.  There are tears rolling down her face.  She hardly ever cries.”

Maycee looked at me, smirking a bit, but as we looked into each other’s eyes, I knew she felt the same as me.  We were reading about “us”.  Single mom, divorced the dad,  mom wants to begin dating but the daughter doesn’t want her to, she wants mom and dad back together, little girl gives the mom a hard time because she can, mom eventually breaks down and the tears just come, no way to stop them, but the little girl wants them to stop.  No, not all of the details of this book are identical to Maycee and me and our situation, but I suuuuuure could relate to the mom’s inability to keep her emotions at bay any longer, and I knoooooow Maycee could relate to the antics this young main character, Amber, was already up to, thus pushing her mom’s buttons.  And, the dating game, well, we’ve been there, and at this point Maycee has been promised not to worry about me trying that again for a long, long, LONG time. (grin)  We smiled at each other before continuing on with the story…and the same exact feelings came tonight as we read and laughed and read.

I’ve been in recovery from alcoholism for twelve and half years now, faithfully.  Yes, I’m one of THOSE people…those creepy sober people who know exactly when and where their last drink was and the historical drunkalog to go along with it; the beginning of the end.  Ha!  When I was getting sober and learning about what that meant, how it was done, why I needed to surrender to what could’ve killed me, I heard lots of slogans, some nicer than others. But, hey, if you want it (sobriety) bad enough, it doesn’t matter: keep coming back, shut up stupid, if you want to keep drinking we’ll gladly refund your misery, let go and let God, don’t leave five minutes before the miracle happens, and this,

One of these days you are going to hear your story.  Look for the similarities, not the differences.

I remember hearing my story-that story-for the first time.  In a small room on the side of a bank in an affluent part of town, I sat in the front row and heard a woman share what her life had been like under the grips of alcohol.  I wasn’t expecting it, really, even though I had been told it would happen.  I had already been in recovery for months and was sold on the deal.  Nobody had to hold me down to stay dry.  I wanted it.  But, from out of no where, her words spoke to me, and then without a shadow of a doubt, I knew I belonged.  I knew.  She wasn’t 25 years old like me, she was in her 50’s.  We didn’t come from the same area of the country, work in the same business, have the same upbringing…but I listened and related to the similarities, not the differences, and more of the similar there was than at first glance would reveal.

Now, over a decade later, I’ve heard it again and again.  The trick is: listening.  Every time I’ve felt alone, like a failure, less than, you’re not like me, you don’t know, and onandonandonandon, eventually I’ve shut up stupid and listened.  In the midst of these moments then I’ve been able to hear my story, maybe in part fragmented, but there nonetheless.  Sometimes it’s been from my own mom.  Others have come from people passing through my life for what seems like seconds.  Articles in magazines, books, television, even the WWW.  But interestingly enough, those stories have arrived at just the perfect moment to remind me of my own eternal lack of uniqueness.  I’m me, of course, but I’m you, too. 

I really needed Amber Brown this week: her story and her mom’s.  Certain periods are smoother than others as a single parent-as any parent.  Right?  Do I hear an AMEN!?  Before pulling this book out of the cubby I was in a state of mind contemplating my seeming inability to discipline my seven-year-old effectively, without using the vocal blowhorn, already projecting her teenage years of defiance coupled with my future nervous breakdown-and surmising ‘I bet if there was a man in this house using that you better get in your room tone that Maycee would listen to him!’  There I was, in my head, focused on the impossible, yet again.  Amber Brown joined the family in the knick of time, beautifully orchestrated, illustrating to my daughter through the author’s words (not mine, this is very important) that one little person’s behavior and deeds can sometimes be too much for good ol’ mommy.  I’ve cetainly said this a hundred thousand times to Maycee, and I’ve gotten to that tearful point right in front of her before, as well.  But, now, in black and off-white, written in this book for kids, she was hearing her story, too.

Life is interesting.  I’m grateful for the tools of recovery under my belt and the years of sobriety that have slowly allowed me to work on myself, witness my own faults, admit my wrongs, learn, and push forward.  Maycee doesn’t know what this is all about yet; I hope she gets to skip, no, catapult, over all of the hard places I’ve willfully entered.  However, I also wish for her sake that the many difficult lessons her mommy has waded through will have not been in vane, but for her benefit, and others.  Even as I continue this blog and think about why I write it…well, have you heard anything yet?

If not, one of these days…

Have a “feel good” rest of the week, Readers.  May peace, love, joy, and most of all, laughter be in your days–and don’t forget to give a chuckle!


Author: singleworkingmomswm

I love to write, and I love raising my daughter. The two combined have prompted me to create a blog about being a single working mom. Life's a trip, and I tend to take the windy roads.

2 thoughts on “One of These Days You are Going to Hear Your Story”

  1. I don’t think it’s creepy that you know you long you’ve been sober! I’d call it a reminder of your strength.

    The opening of this entry was one I could totally relate to. I get so crazy about blogging these days, but really? The blogosphere is going to be pretty much the same in the morning as it was at night, and I’m 99.9% certain to wake up being virtually identical to the person I was when I went to bed. Of all the things to stress about, this should not be one of them.

    I wish you the same things you’ve wished me/us!

    1. Ha, thanks, Deb.Yes, I put that "creepy" comment in as a joke, really, because my boyfriend (of late)said he thought the people who attended "those meetings" (meetings for recovery) were "creepy"-even though I'm one of them!Ha, ha…it just made me laugh.

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