I remember watching her meticulously pack things away in cardboard boxes she had found abandoned next to the grocery store trash bins. It was almost as if she was playing Tetris with our belongings; making things fit as though they were puzzle pieces. She had done this many times before; the ease and diligence at which she did it proved this to be true. After somehow figuring out how to fit a square object into a round hole she would grab the sharpie from behind her ear and write words of what necessities or memories she had just packed up in that cardboard box she had found from behind the grocery store trash bin.
This happened many times in my life. My mother, a single mom for a good portion of my childhood, chose to leave my father the narcissist & subsequently had to move around a lot with me, for me. Although I was young when the moves first commenced, I do remember the last couple and I also recall making a deal with myself that someday when I was an adult I'd not end up in a position my dear mother had found herself in. I would find a home where my heart was, complete with the loving husband, kids, family pet, and possibly a picket fence; I was undecided on the picket fence.
I thought I had won the deal I made with myself when I married my husband a decade ago. I had the loving husband, a home I was pouring my heart into, a family pet, and all that was missing were the kids to make it whole (I had decided the picket fence didn't really matter). The kids came five or six years later and my world was complete.
For years I lived in denial and I lived in bliss. No matter what was being done to me, at least I wasn't on my own with a child moving to house number 4. The lies we will tell ourselves sometimes to feel better is quite the survival method.
However, tonight I am my mother. My children have watched me pack the last box full of memories like I was playing my own Tetris game. I grabbed the sharpie from behind my ear and as my hand shook, I wrote the items that the last cardboard box contained; items from a life built on lies and utter devastation.
Tonight, I tucked my children into their beds for the last time in the only house they've ever known while tears streamed down my cheeks and promises of better days escaped my lips. An adventure, I told them... we were going on an adventure.
As I closed their doors behind me a gentle sob let out and I sank to my knees, head in my hands. All around me, our life, in boxes. Toys from when they weren't old enough to even walk tossed aside after being found hiding in the couch cushions. My dreams, everything I believed in, reduced to nothing more than cardboard boxes with words written in sharpie.
Tonight, I weep for the life my children and I deserved. My mind, memories of the good and the bad are playing on a constant loop.
Tomorrow, the sun will rise and I will still have my soul. I will be stronger than ever before. My children will have unconditional love. We will go on the best adventure of our lives and I will keep moving forward with my head held high, making them and myself proud.
This chapter ends tonight but the book is not over. In fact, the story is just beginning.