my Mother, My Friend

Monday, September 6, 2010

Beauty from brokeness

    i was a newborn when Onyx Rose found herself a single parent of seven in a house far removed from her former friends and the "old neighborhood." The one consolation was that her parents were about a mile away..close enough to care and be available for support through the next years trials she would find herself in.
    The one she had chosen to marry had found someone else who was more "needy" of his time & efforts than the eight of us. The story of this other persons "Hole in her heart" would dog us for the rest of our lives. Through numerous encounters with this woman we soon understood that the hole was not In her heart but that the hole was  her heart.
i was a result of my mothers attempt to reconcile with my father. To his credit he did remain in the home til i was born, but the other woman had boldly called my mother to tell her that She was more in need of him than a mother of a newborn and her children; She was "die-ing".  One of many untruths to be dumped upon the lives of the innocent.
   After his exit from our home, My father took up the role of Santa Clause... the Easter bunny and sometimes Dracula on Halloween... the Good time Guy who took us out to Farrel's ice-cream parlor, Aunt Emma's pancake house and Bobs Big-boy. i know Mom was grateful for this attention to his children but it set up some tension within her  growing brood who needed their father more than he understood,  More than they knew how to express... but Mom did... and was met with excuses and reasons why his chosen path prohibited more engagement with his children. We heard it all the time... there was So much work to be done, money made in "The business", then we would All be together more and life would be grand; til then "Daddy's gotta run!". These sporadic indulgences and dream spinning helped set up that classic of all classics ...Good parent, Bad parent syndrome where no matter How hard my mother worked to support and care for her groaning tribe, she was the one left to discipline the kids, while Dad played Daddy Warbucks and built up our appetites for the good things Mom could not afford as a columnist for the city paper. Mom could not afford the many little things her kids wanted but supplied our needs at great expense nonetheless. We lived on Commodities...Corn meal mush, powdered milk, mystery meat..."Dog food" one Sister calls it. But Onyx made the best of it. One time she concocted a recipe for Mashed Potato Ice cream!O Yeah! it was something?? i think she asked Dad to take us to Farrel's ice-cream parlor after that.
   Any way it was hard on Onyx because our father enjoyed being the 'good parent', party guy, taking his tribe out in his 'Stinkin Lincoln', His favorite car the Lincoln Continental. i don't believe he meant any harm but it could have been easy to grow up with unrealistic expectations, thinking the world out there was one big Pinocchio was drawn into. Some of us children had the funland experience growing up... it gets hairy out there sometimes...donkey ears & all.
  How did Onyx-Rose cope? Sometimes she raged, over the pain of what was... dealing with 7 busy kids and absent partner/father, was mind blowing. Sometimes she withdrew and cried.. i remember the closed door as she sought solace from the storms.
    She picked herself up... became a teachers aid in a preschool and went back to school at night getting her degree in Early Childhood Education and half a Masters. 
    Hard as times were, she did not deprive her children of good things. She took us camping to the desert, the mountains, the beach with bonfires. We attended plays downtown at the Children's festival in Balboa park. Visited the museums, Art galleries and arboretums, the Zoo, Old town San Diego, shopped across the border in Tijuana Mexico. She provided a roof over our heads in a wondrous home with fruit trees, veggies, room to stretch out away from the hustle of the world, dirt to walk barefoot, a pool to cool ourselves, Sun to grow beneath. Music to educate our minds: Herb Alpert and the Tijuana brass, John Gary, Roger Miller, Rachmaninoff, Strauss, Stevie Wonder, The Coasters, Judy Collins, Jose Feliciano, Pete Seeger, The Clancy brothers and Johnny Makem, Johnny Cash and more...she tried to expose us to all kinds of Cultures, and herself was always researching and learning right along with us.

Though her heart was broken in many pieces she did her best to hold her family together under her wings of Love.