Thursday, August 12, 2004

My Rear Guard

For you shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight; for the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard. (Isaiah 52:12, NKJV)
There isn't much worse than thinking you looking good only to realize that you got some flesh hanging out. In all the wrong places. Sometimes though, it can't be helped. You hurt too bad hold your gown closed. Your heart is too broken to pull your pants up. I've had days like that.
When they came to take my baby away, my mother and the lawyer looking relieved as my fourteen-year-old fingers jerked across the page, I felt like that. Naked. Raped. Betrayed. But what could I do? They'd made their points clear. I had nothing. Was nothing. And nobody was going to pick up my slack. If I had any notion of what love was (they obviously doubted it), I would do the right thing. Too bad Spike hadn't made the movie then.
So I laid there, bleeding in such a horror of pain. Pain that didn't seem possible. A head-to-toe ache from the Pitocin-Epidural war of my induction. It was my birthday. They brought me a cake with no candles and fake smiles. I stared right through them. It wasn't the gift I needed.
What I needed was down the hall, crying in the hands of strangers. And so I went, forcing one quaking leg in front of the other, gripping the walls with a crazed halo of jheri curl. "Look at that child. Her behind all hanging out," one of the cleaning ladies whispered to another. I could feel their heads nodding behind me, but I didn't stop to cover myself. There was no time. I would faint soon.
I made it to the glass. There she was, so small, so sweet. Like an old woman she looked up at me, through me like I had those silly birthday people. "I'll be all right," her eyes seemed to say. "You won't." I swallowed before I hit the ground, knowing she was right.
Now, seven children and twenty years later, the hole is still there, covered by a tarp of hope stretched tight. The whole that brought mind fire, the one that broke my head. I have neither time nor funds for nervous breakdowns. So I write books. Even then, my rear refuses to stay covered. Thankfully, He's sent friends to cover me.
"I would like to go there, but what will I say, what will I wear?" I say, empty, tired. "You can't go with your butt hanging out. Maybe next year, you know? The book isn't out, the garment ain't made," she says, no idea what she's really saying. I hang my head. "But He told me to go." There is a pause on the line. "All right. I'll cover you. Watch the mail." And so she does. And I'm thankful. Sometimes you need friends to hold up your hands, but there ain't nothing like the ones who cover your backside. I want to be that kind of friend when I grow up.
When she comes for me, with those wide, wise eyes, if she'll let me, I want to cover her too.
Needful Things
I pray for you each day, hoping that all they said in the brochure came true. That you don't reach for me like I claw for you.
Probably not.
And that's a good thing. Being too needy is trouble. That's how I got you. Needing some love, some attention, some understanding. The counselor never did get that. She just kept saying, "But you're a straight A student." Didn't she know that was need too?
Thing was, I didn't get any of that. Not the love, nor the attention and none of the understanding. Just a drafty gown in a cold hall and folks looking at me like I was crazy.
And I was.
I am.
Crazy about you.
The State of Ohio says that I can never be your mother. Though it pains me, I know it's true. You've got one of those. Instead, I will bend knees for you again today and be your warrior, praying creases into the rearview of your life.
Asking Him to fill the need you got from me. Begging him to be your Rear guard, your Needful Thing.
Copyright Marilynn Griffith 2004

7 comments:

Kirk said...

How very gracious and honest and loving this writing is. You are to be commended, my Sister.

Your life is quite the story. I will be honored to read more.

Jaime H. said...

I am speechless (and teary). Thank you for sharing this.

Jaime
www.achorshope.blogspot.com

ragamuffin diva said...

You broke a sistah all the way down. Had me snottin' and crying in the living room, and my family looking at me like I'm crazy.

And I am.

About you.

Blog it out. Blog it like it's no tommorrow. Blog it till you can't see your keyboard for the blood.

bobbie said...

i found you through your comment on claudia's blog. she had me at the heights of hysteria and i have now crashed deep into your pain.

thank you for sharing your story. i work with many 14 year old girls and this helps me understand them in a way i hadn't before. i can't wait to read more.

Ilona said...

You are a powerful writer, and you have things of depth to share. When something is really really of worth, it leaves us short of words. This is -therefore- all I have to say.

upwords said...

Thanks everybody for stopping by, for reading. (Kirk, are you here, too? LOL) I tried to make this all neat and professional, but oh well, looks like it's going to be bloody and crazy instead. Hopefully, there will be something normal here sometimes. :)
Mary

Anonymous said...

Having a baby at fourteen? I can see why your rear needs guarding then.