30 Days Of Truth: Day Four

20 Oct

Day 04- Something you have to forgive someone for.

My mom said it was cold that day. A typical day for the brutal Midwestern winter climate. As he shut the door, my little sister began to cry. She was only a few months old at the time. At the ripe old age of two, I became the man of the house. With my defenses already up, I knew I had a job to do. My mother and my sister needed me now. It was time to be a man.

I know what you are thinking, “How can a two-year old be a man?” I don’t recall much before the age of  five, but my mother tells the story well. There are pictures to prove it. The old weathered photographs tell the story with an unapologetic bluntness. It’s 3:00am, my pure blond  hair disheveled by hours of resting on my Sesame Street pillowcase. I sit on the couch trying my damnedest to assist my mother with the nightly chore of raising an infant on her own. As she passes my sister to me to rest on my lap, a huge smile breaks through the darkness of the night. My mother, with her heart filled with a wicked balance of hurt, sadness, and unwavering love, brings a tiny camera to her eye. I could hear her count down and direct me to say “cheese!” In an instant, that memory was captured forever. My cheesy grin, my sister on my lap, the happiness I felt inside, all permanently displayed on a 4×6 piece of Kodak paper.

The tiny two bedroom apartment in Davenport, Iowa was more than just a place to rest our heads. In all actuality, it was the beginning of us. The whitewashed walls and  brown shag carpeting had no clue what type of force had just been born. From that point on it was just the three of us. No time to look back at what just happened as he shut the door on us. No time to dwell on things we couldn’t change.

As I got older, I started to ask questions. “Where is he?”, I would sheepishly ask my mother. Her response was always the same. Always lighthearted and straight to the point. “He’s gone. It’s just us now, TJ.” Oddly, this was super comforting to me. I knew that I was in the best hands possible. I knew that no matter what, everything was going to be just fine.

The years passed by and as quickly as he left, my memory of him faded. From time to time I would stumble upon an old box of photos. The smiles were strikingly familiar, a person frozen in time for me to have some basis of my biological history.

By the time I was a teenager, I became more and more forgetful that having a father around wasn’t the social norm. My mother fit the bill quite nicely. She had already taught me how to throw a ball, how to shave, how to spit, how to treat women, and ultimately how to love. Caught up in the intricacies of life, I had already learned from my mother how to be a man. She was my best friend, the one person I could count on, and as I stood up to recite my vows in front of hundreds, she was also my best man.

When I started to write this, I intended to forgive him. Wash away many years of wonder, doubt, and hatred. But as I sit here, pounding on this keyboard, I realize that forgiving him would mean that I was missing something in the first place. Forgiving him would be anointing him a kind of power that he doesn’t deserve. I’ve been privy to heartache, divorce, and all kinds of emotional roller coasters. But I always had stability. No matter the circumstances I always had love. I had a mother and a sister that through thick and thin, would prop me up and idolize me in ways no other human beings could. My childhood was a happy one. I never needed anything else. I always had a roof over my head and a smile on my face. Wanting or craving anything more would just be plain greedy.

And to him, I don’t forgive you. Actually, I thank you. Leaving us was the best thing you could have ever done. Don’t believe me? Well, I have the pictures to prove it.


16 Responses to “30 Days Of Truth: Day Four”

  1. jodifur October 20, 2010 at 10:57 am #

    Wow. Amazing post.

  2. Miss Banshee October 20, 2010 at 11:00 am #

    Oooof. You got me right in the heart, TJ. Beautiful. And you don’t need to forgive him. Ever. None of us do. I wish I had the balls to call out my parents.

  3. badassonpaper October 20, 2010 at 11:06 am #

    Man I hope you sent this to mom and sis :) Amazing as always, cuts right to the heart. Having your mom up there with us on that hot day in Vegas was better than anything I can imagine. She made you the man that you are. Kudos to her. To Sis. To YOU. To Dad? Eh, not so much. Clearly you never needed him. You’re amazing.

  4. Mylittlebecky October 20, 2010 at 11:16 am #

    excellent post, loved it and i can see it all.

  5. Teresa Watson Ledgerwood October 20, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

    TJ, you paint such a beautiful, yet very accurate and detailed picture of a segment of our lives that transpired so many years and memories ago . I wish there was a way to post the photograph you talked about with you holding Amy on your lap in the middle of the night as she awaited a desperately needed feeding! Doing so would not only validate your story for your readers but also show them how well you are able to capture those moments and memories on paper. There’s no greater gift for me as a mother than to have validation from you and your sister regarding those painfully tough, yet defining years we endured together. I did my best, and you and Amy were always at the forefront of every decision I had to make. We stuck together and got through it all. Mom, TJ & Amy, The Three Muskateers. I love to read your writings. You were the man of the house at age 2 and are the man in my heart at age 30. Much love to you, son.

  6. TwoBusy October 20, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

    This is absolutely wonderful. Love this post.

  7. Sarah October 20, 2010 at 1:33 pm #


    Well said.

  8. Jett October 20, 2010 at 4:30 pm #

    This is gorgeous.

    Even though for my family there was intense pain, I too think my father did us a favor. My mother was incredible in her dual role.

    Thank you for blessing us with your story.

  9. Amy @ Bitchin' Wives Club October 20, 2010 at 4:52 pm #

    Damn, you are on a role with this truth stuff, TJ. Another amazing post about your childhood… I can’t imagine how proud you must make your mom. :)

  10. Jen O. October 20, 2010 at 7:03 pm #

    If the post itself wasn’t good enough (and it was – it was fantastic), but the comment from your mom had my lip quivering.

    You did a great job, TJ’s mom. He’s an immense talent, great guy and one of the very best friends I’ve ever had. You should be very proud. Of him and of yourself.

  11. flutter October 20, 2010 at 11:02 pm #

    you and your mom just made me bawl. What a beautiful family and an amazing love you guys share

  12. andygirl October 21, 2010 at 12:29 am #

    as always, I begin by telling you what an incredible writer you are. I love your stories. always get sucked in. I hope you’ll compile them into a book one day.

    and you’re absolutely right. I’m so happy your family unit was stable and happy exactly the way it was. family is what we make it. *hugs*

  13. Jules October 21, 2010 at 11:29 am #

    What an excellent post! Thank you for sharing!!!

  14. Rachael October 25, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

    Sometimes, perspective is amazing. Great post.

    • TJ October 26, 2010 at 11:02 am #

      Thank you so much! I am glad you liked it.


  1. 30 Days Of Truth: Day Four « TeeJay Writes - October 20, 2010

    […] You know you want more… […]

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