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(Part 1 available here: http://hatefulatheist.tumblr.com/post/2304622651/personal-story-part-1)
The next few weeks would turn into a crazy period of time as we tried to adjust and restart a new life that seemed emptier. My mother was only 26 at the time, yes there was quite a disparity between my mother and father’s age, but thankfully she didn’t just give up and break down. My mother and I have had some rough times in our life but this is part of her that always amazed me. Being 27 now I can’t even imagine being in the same situation as her. I would want to close up, shut out the world, give up and just cry in a pool of my own self pity and emotions. Thankfully that isn’t what my mom did.
My grandmother was there for us and before we even left the hospital my mom knew we couldn’t stay in the trailer we had been living in. It was out in the middle of the nowhere and had a horrible driveway. It was not the kind of place for a single woman and two young kids on their own in the middle of winter. It was decided that we were going to move in with my grandmother. She had just moved into a small house in a tiny city not far from us after she finally moved off the family farm she had spent the majority of her life on. There wasn’t much room but we were going to be moving in with her until we could get things sorted out.
We went back first to our trailer to gather some things. We needed to pack some clothes and went back into the cold empty trailer to gather them. I remember sitting in my parent’s bedroom, bouncing just a bit on their old water bed, as my mother started to pack a few bags. She opened the closet and something caught my eye, “What is that?” I asked as I pushed around her to look closer. There was a stack of presents, all wrapped nicely in Christmas wrapping paper, piled up into the corner of the closet. I looked up at my mom confused. Our presents for each other were back under the tree, why were these here? My mother told me that Santa had to come bring our presents a bit early because he’s so busy on Christmas night. Even in her worst moments my mom was trying to let me be a kid.
I still was a kid of course, and the kid in me was a bit excited about the presents. I asked if I could open them and my mom said it was okay for me to open one. I grabbed what looked like the biggest and quickly unwrapped it. It was a kid’s electronic keyboard that was shaped like a red electric guitar. It had different sound effects and ended up being my favorite toy as a kid. Amazingly it still works and my son now plays with it, every time I hold it and look at it I’m brought back to the 6 year old kid sitting on that water bed. We finished packing up what we could into the station wagon and drove off to my grandmother’s house about half an hour away.
We arrived at the small two bedroom single story house, white with red painted trim. I looked around my new environment, still taking in all that was happening. It took a bit to set in that I’d have to go to a new school, that we weren’t going back home. Things were changing and it was starting to scare me but I didn’t know what I could do, I didn’t know what to think. My brother and I had to share a tiny bedroom again, my mother slept on the pull out couch in the basement, and we tried to settle in just a few days before Christmas. I don’t remember opening any of my other presents that year. I know I did, but none of them mattered to me.
Part 3 will be up tomorrow afternoon.