In the Magnificant I have for Lent there is a suggested penance for Mar 4. It says to prayerfully make a list of your deepest desires and present them to God.
I got to thinking about what my deepest desires really are - besides the joking ones about winning the lotto and never having to go to work again. I thought about how much I miss being able to go to daily Mass because of my new schedule and how I sometimes wish I had a good, kind, loving Catholic husband and how I wish I had never had those abortions and had raised my children as I should have done. But I realized that my deepest desire, right this minute, is that my family of origin was all Catholic again.
I miss seeing my brother at Mass, going to a First Communion celebration for my nephews and niece, Baptisms and Confirmations and Easter Sunrise Mass followed by a great big breakfast and an Easter egg hunt. I miss family Rosaries. I miss all that...and I wish, my deepest desire, would be to not be a stranger in my own family anymore.
Then I went to go to sleep and a horrible memory popped into my head. I had walked home from Christ the King School, I was maybe 8 years old and in my uniform, carrying my books. I was in the middle of Valley View Road where I used to live, at the bottom of the last little hill that would take me to my house when I saw my dad's car coming over the hill. I started to wave, because I was so happy to see him. He screeched to a halt, jumped out of the car and just started to scream at me.....he screamed that he had gone to pick me up and that he had driven the route I was supposed to walk home and I had not been on that route. He screamed and yelled, demanding to know where I had been. School let out at 3pm and it was 3:15 and I had not walked home any different way than I normally would have walked...but he wouldn't believe me... he screamed that I was a filthy liar, over and over again.....a neighbor poked her head out the door and when he saw her he ordered me into the car. We drove the last 50 feet to the house and he marched me inside...screaming at me over and over about what a filthy pig of a liar I was, that he was going to tell everyone in the family what a liar I was, that I had no values, that I was worthless and useless and who did I think I was.....
I finally got up and turned on the light. It's like I am that little girl again and I feel sick and helpless and I am shaking.
Why do adults do that kind of stuff to kids?
I have forgiven my father. I have even forgiven my mother, who had to work because he had walked out on us two years earlier and so she was not there to protect me. I have forgiven that little girl for not holding tough and not breaking down and not cowering at the sight of a screaming, beligerant 6ft4inch man throwing a tantrum about walking home....
but I don't think I have ever told anyone about that day.
I remember he slammed out of the house, to go back to the life he had left us for, leaving me a quivering, sobbing mess all alone in the house. I had to go to the neighbor's where my brother was.....he was only 2...and I pretended that I had fallen down and hurt myself. She knew I was lying because everyone in the neighborhood - everyone in the world - had heard him screaming at me. At the time I thought, "She believes me...Daddy is right... I am a liar...see, I lied and she believed me". Now I know that she felt helpless. It was 1963 and who knew about this kind of mania, this kind of child abuse? She was just helping out her neighbor for 15 bucks a week while she struggled to raise her 10 children....she gave me my dignity by pretending to bandage a non-existent boo-boo and gave me hot tea to drink.
I went down to the creek and just sat there until my mommy came home.
That night he called and yelled at my mom about what a lousy mother she was because I had 'snuck home and then lied about it'.
Now, of course, I know he was drunk and in a black out. But at 8years old....I remember my mother was so tired. However, she made dinner and went over homework and then held my brother on her lap and the three of us prayed the Rosary.....as a family...a little, fractured family.
My father came home to the Church 10 days before he died. I hope his confession was a thorough one...but if not, I know that God is merciful.
I think I can sleep now.