Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Michelle, My Belle

This is Michelle, my 1st born, when I was the age she is now. She was the best baby and was an easy toddler. I had always dreamed of this little girl. She started to change after the divorce, became more defiant. When I had to sit her down and explain her mommy's illness, I crushed her world.

Instead of going into a total withdrawal state, like her younger sibling, she stepped up and became my rock at 10. I spent four years thinking I had MS and played it down to the kids and my boss because she was only 6. At 10 she was told I had ALS and we became a team. She learned to, pump gas, write a check, use the ATM, cook and do laundry. We did it together, but she was slowly losing her childhood. I had a fixed income and no child support so she was exposed to budgeting and worry. In the grocery store she would always say "that's not on our list mom." Eventually at 13 she would have me wait in the car so we would stick to the budget and I would not get too tired. We had a guy to do the yard, someone to fix the van, help with some meals, housekeeper and a flaky ex-husband into drugs and alcohol. She would see me fall and cry as she saw I was ok. She learned to give shots and death became an obsession. Not what I would call great, but we had fun despite it all!

Then the crap hit the fan as puberty began! She hung in there in the beginning, but I watched the anger rising. She had youth group and God, but counciling she fought. One day in Kmart, early morning, Michelle and I needed a few things. As we searched the isles, I had lost my bowels. I had sweats on with elastic on the ankles, so it was not going I was at first horrified, but thought Michelle would be mortified. Most kids don't even want to be seen hanging out with mom. I turned to her and said " I just crapped myself " and she was concerned for me, never embarrassed. We giggled and then she said "you stink, we gotta get you home." She sent me to the car, filled the list, paid and she was just 12 years old. She helped me into the shower, put my pants in a bag, lovingly rinsed me off and got me clean clothes. She kissed me and said "all better." She was awesome!

She wanted her father's love desperately, even though he verbally abused me and let her down at every turn. His passion was wrestling, so she became a wrestler. She was 4'11, 115 lbs, 36D and wrestled mainly boys. I hated it! They would bite her and sneak in illegal moves to avoid losing to a girl. She was so good that in high school she took 3rd in the women's state championship. She became aggressive, angry and talked like a sailor. Her dad coached her with anger, aggression and a foul mouth. Gee, huge mystery there! She was so filled with anger, Jess and I became afraid of her. She still was my soft hearted angel, that was slowly disappearing behind growing walls of pain. I had to ask her to leave, for my health and Jessy's anxieties. We remained bonded in a way that no fits of rage could take away.

She lives 3hrs away, but we talk often. We share the superficial and the deep. She says everything good about her came from me and she still holds my face in her hands to kiss every spot on my face :) She has a hard time accepting Dave, she felt replaced. I don't try and bring them together, because it is not needed. She likes Dave and is happy for us, but her and I have a relationship rich with history we keep for ourselves. I still won't let her visit if she is PMSing, she can't use the "F" word at my house, she must not just call about her life and she can't just use me to vent (drama at a minimum). LOL

My First Love

I shall never forget the first time I held
you close. You had a certain smell that
filled my senses and never left my soul.
I felt a fierce power to keep you safe, yet
vulnerable with an overwhelming love.

I saw everything for the first time through
your beautiful eyes, as we taught each other
the wonders of all that life had to offer. We
were never apart, growing closer as the years
went by.

I broke the trust you had in me, breaking your
heart in two. I left you wounded and scared, like
a bird with a broken wing. You let me help you
learn to fly, but fear became a wall you could
not get by.

You grew strong in time, but your walls grew higher
and your anger turned on those you held dear. Your
loyalty stayed true, your love continued to grow.
I pushed you away knowing that bond would always be.
I taught you all I know so you could fly, as it was
always meant to be.

I will love you forever my precious child, even when
we are apart. You are a woman now out in the world
alone, I will never forget your heart so true. I will
cherish you forever, always remembering the joy
of my first love.


emmapeelDallas said...

Both of you are absolutely beautiful. What a terrific daughter she is...I can understand your being fiercely proud of her. I hope she gets some counseling, it's never too late (I speak from experience), and she'll be stronger for it. That's a beautiful poem you've written for her, and I hope you've sent it to her.



Gail in MN said...

Your daughter was more mature than most adults I know!
What a lovely testament to her courage and your love.

TJ said...

Speechless...I am so touched by your entry. Love TJ

Bedazzzled1 said...

Ohhhhhhh eyes are completely filled with tears.

This is an amazing story. I am so glad you wrote it...and the beautiful poem. It gave me more insight into your world and the happiness mixed with the heartache that is there.

::tight hug::

tara dawn said...

You and your girls have had a rough journey, but how strong you are. How strong Michelle is, and has been for so long. Your poem to her is beautiful, as is the picture. How blessed she is to have you, and you to have her.
Love and a big hug, TD
PS-Sent ridiculously long email to you this afternoon:)

Tabor said...

I was reading your Hawaii wedding post. I don't know if you went back to read one of the loooong blogs I wrote about my recent trip to Hawaii...but it was so deja vu in that I stumbled upon a similar ceremony and a visit by a turtle at that ceremony!!

ckays1967 said...


just wow....

Great poetry.

Globetrotter said...

I have tried leaving comments here before. I always feel so inadequate in the face of your incredible bravery.

This was such a beautiful, courageous entry that it has left me with tears running down my face. Tears for the human spirit, tears for the beauty that is a mother's/daughter's love.

I am so glad that the ex's influence did not do permanent damage to the relationship you have with Michelle.

I admire you tremendously and that poem is incredible.


betty said...

wow, Tammy; that's all I can say. What an amazing girl she was; I can understand your reasons to ask her to go, but I also understand you have a powerful bond with her few would begin to comprehend. Beautiful picture and poem.


V said...

Wow. I`m so happy you had [& have] Michelle in your life.

Tammy, you`ve taken to this poetry thing like it`s manna from heaven; filling you, enriching your readers.

This is what writing is all about!

As Christina would say.." Brava" !!


Chris said...

Great entry, Tammy. Soo sweet and heartbreaking at times.

4'11" and 36d? lord lord lord.....I don't know if I would let my daughter wrestle boys. Hell.....if I was a boy having to wrestle someone like that, I would be terrified of "getting excited" in that unitard. Not trying to be funny there. Dead serious. At 17 years old.....we guys still didn't have control of that. How horrifying would that be? Walking away from the match in front of the whole audience.......

My Blog