Monday, September 5, 2011


Early September 2011
Yesterday, I got my kids dressed and ready, and since Greg had come home to grab something for the office, we all walked across the parking lot to church together.  Later in the afternoon, we all went to do a little shopping, then I made homemade chicken noodle soup (with carrots that I picked from our garden) and buttermilk biscuits, and while Greg was off leading the youth group, Sophie and I dyed cake batter and made little mini rainbow cakes.

To an outside observer, that little snapshot might seem like a sappy-sweet slice of a life devoid of deep darkness.  This blog, now that I look at it from an outsider's perspective, could look like that, too, with all its talk about sweetness and babies and sleep training and pictures of pretty things.  So here's another, quite different, snapshot.

Early September 1996
During this week 15 years ago, when I was 15 years old, my summer came to an end when my mother and her boyfriend came to fetch me from the house where I was living with my friends: Hesper, a teen mom and recent convert to mainlining rather than snorting her meth; her friend Kenny, who was in his late 30s, had recently been released from prison, and who I had watched shoot Hesper up with meth three months before; and my boyfriend, Bill, who was twice my age.

The four of us had spent the summer in a little 2-bedroom house Kenny rented in Rolla, Missouri.  Kenny repaired electronics up and down I-44 to finance our rent and drug habits.  Hesper found a job at Burger King.  Oddly enough, I don't remember what Bill did; I don't think he did anything "on the books."  I spent my days cleaning the house and caring for River, Hesper's infant son.


I have no idea what possessed my mother to show up and collect me that day. It was one of those "hinge moments" that my pastor preached about last month, when we talked about Jesus' strange exchange with the Canaanite woman.  I can't remember talking to Mom all summer long; I vaguely remember her boyfriend saying things about needing to be near my mom and needing to be in school.  I took it to mean that she missed me and wanted me with her (but that move, ironically, signaled the advent of the very darkest days of my life). 

And I'm not sure what to do with it.  I don't have a nice little package to wrap this up in.  It just is, and sometimes these memories just build up until I write them out of my head, and this moment has been on my mind this week.

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