-Journey of Forgiveness
Neither the hummingbird nor the flower wonders how beautiful it is
The average humming bird beats its wings 53 times per second. That’s so fast that it looks like it is like time is standing still just for them. I have always thought of them as the butterflies of birds. They are my favorite birds and my favorite part of spring. To this day I keep a humming bird feeder just so time can stand still, and I can marvel at their beauty.
I am so glad that time does not stand still for us because, there are plenty of moments from my childhood that I definitely don’t want to be stuck in. By the time I reached the 5thgrade I felt stuck in Spring and ready for a major change. It seemed impossible to find a way out but, I was determined to do so. I just had to weather the storm a little longer.
After living in Hawaii for about 1 ½ years, my Dad and Spring separated. We all moved back to Indiana but, for some odd reason they thought Margaret and I should live with Spring and her Grandmother. By this time, I had formed a love/hate relationship with Spring, and I was only in second grade. So, I had no choice but to be okay with it.
The best thing that happened was, the whooping’s stopped as soon as we touched Indiana soil (surprise, surprise). However, the punishment part did intensify just a bit. Now standing in the corner lasted hours (no exaggerations), sentence and essay writing started. Now I was fine with all of that but, something new started too and my young mind had a hard time understanding what was happening. Guilt trips. They would come so quick and fast like the humming birds wings, I never seen them coming.
Something about Spring always had this weird allure over me. Sometimes I’m not sure if it was my desire to feel a mother’s love and belong to someone or her intelligence. In my mind, Spring is a mad genius and master mind manipulator. Either way, she noticed her influence over me and used it to her advantage.
My favorite thing, even still to this day, about Spring is that she writes beautifully with passion and conviction. Even if she was lying you would surly believe her especially if she reads it to you. She brings the words to life with different tones and emotions behind her words. While we were living with her in Indiana, she wrote Margert and I, what I considered at the time to be, the most beautiful poem ever wrote. The poem is about a mother bird that found eggs outside of her nest and accepted them into her nest. The mother bird loved the eggs like her own and helped them learn to fly. Then she told us that it is okay to call her mom if we wanted to. A permanent place in my heart was carved out for her. I started calling her mom because in my young mind she was now my mother and she would love me like a mother loves her own child. Like she loved Amber….
We went on living with Spring and her Grandmother. I don’t recall much contact with anyone outside of Spring’s family for quite a while. Then one Sunday, Spring tells us that our Dad is going to come and visit. She said he had something important to talk to us about. I was so happy I drew my Dad a picture and could not wait to give it to him. When he came he was in a great mood. He said he wanted to talk to us one at time. Margert went first. While she was talking with Dad, Spring called me into a separate room.
She told me that my Dad was going to ask us if we wanted to live with him. She said that we do not have to say yes. Spring reminded me that she was my mother now and she was the one that has been there for me not my Dad. She told me she loved me and wanted me to stay. My Dad called me into the room. He told me how much he loved and missed us. Then he asked me if I wanted to live with him, I told him no. Then my second-grade self sat there and watched my Dad cry. I had never seen him cry before and since then have never seen those tears again. If ever I had to name one regret in life, it would have been that moment. After my Dad wiped his tears, Margert and I packed our bags and moved in with our Dad.
We lived with our Dad, his girlfriend and her kids for a while. We had not contact with Spring or Amber as she and Amber moved to California. That is until one night my Dad came home and told us to pack our things. “Get underwear, only summer clothes and 3 toys” he said.
Fuck the clothes, I packed all toys. Then he unpacked it and I was devasted. I was only in the third grade and was not interested in giving up ANY of my beloved toys. Of course, I wanted to cry and throw a fit but, the look that he gave me said I better not. Something serious was going on but, he never told us what. So again, I had no choice but, to be okay with it. In a matter of what seemed like minutes, Margert and I was packed and on a flight to California to live with Spring and Amber. Later I found out my father was called with the first set of Marines to fight in Dessert Storm. He didn’t want to burden his aging mother with us, didn’t trust girlfriend with us so Spring’s time came back around.
Last time I had seen Spring she was my loving mother so, of course that is what I expected upon arrival to California. Spring had a two-bedroom apartment. Amber had her own room with a day bed and so did Spring. Margert and I had a mattress on the floor in the Livingroom to share. We lived like this for quite a while. One day I came home from school and to our surprise my Dad was back from war and was moving in. Now, Amber had her own room with a day bed, Spring and Dad had their own room and bedroom set, Margert and I continued to share our mattress on the Livingroom floor….
Needless to say, Dad and Spring split up again. The best thing that came out of that was Margaret and I got a room to share with bunkbeds. Yep, we stayed with Spring, only this time there were no sweet poems or loving gestures. Oh, I was not ready for what Spring had in store. Whooping’s were back with a vengeance, punishments ramped up big time and almost all communication with Amber was cut off. The lack of communication with Amber definitely effected our relationship and it was starting to show.
From third grade to 5thgrade life for me got caught up in Spring’s physical and emotional storm. Amber began to become extremely disrespectful toward us. “She’s not even your real mom” or “That’s why your mom is dead!”, that is how Amber communicated with Margert and I. Right in front of Spring and she would never do anything about it. One time I even got a whooping because we were told to watch Amber but, don’t play with her. Amber was lonely and wanted a playmate. I wanted to play with my sister so, I went in her room to play in her and her enormous doll house. We had a blast and as soon as Spring got home Amber told on me and I got a whooping.
The guilt trips stayed around too. One time, Margret and I decided to write to Spring and tell her how we felt. The guilt trip came heavy that day and lima beans were dinner. She was always telling us how much we need to appreciate her because people don’t like to take in someone else’s kids. She would tell us that our Dad did not care about us and she is the only one willing to take us. She made it seem like we had nobody else in the world but, her.
The worst part of all were the whooping’s. Like I said before, they came back with a vengeance but, only for me. Margert started to fight back so…. Yeah, Spring couldn’t handle her. But she got my mind early, so I was submissive. I just wanted to be wanted…. This left me wide open to Spring’s manipulation. It was like she was just waiting on me to breathe too loud, so she could beat me.
One time I was requested to babysit her sister’s kids. The little girl took a block and drew what appeared to be a perfect N on the patio window. When asked about it, I told the truth, the little girl did it. That was not good enough. Spring went and measured the height of the N to the floor and determined it was up too high for her to do it. I tried to hold my ground but, she made me sit at the dinning room table, with a desk light shinning in my face. She kept asking me the same thing again, and again and again. I broke, lied and said I did it. Then I followed suit and stripped naked, held the back of the chair, held in my sobs and tears while she counted off the lashes. Then I stood in the corner until bedtime.
This was life for me. I was just a humming bird stuck in Spring storms. By the time I reached 5thgrade, my young soul was worn out. Then the day came that these whooping’s almost took my young life…. And just like when the seasons change, Spring just stopped.