THANKSGIVING – Excerpt from DADDY THROWS ME IN THE AIR

Mid-thirties… 

My entire family is seated around the table in the dining room. The table is filled with turkey and all the trimmings. Dad opened a special bottle of wine. It’s a joyful family celebration. Before we begin eating, we go around the table and each one of us states what we are thankful for.

Then we dig into our Thanksgiving feast. One of us girls makes the suggestion that we reveal the worst thing that we did and got away with when we were living at home with our parents. That our parents didn’t know about.  After all, we were all living in our own homes now, so what could Mom and Dad do – ground us?

I don’t recall which one suggested it or who went first or what anyone confessed to, but when it was my turn.

“When I was fifteen and had just gotten my driver’s permit, it was a Friday night and Mom and Dad went out for the evening. I had a friend over spending the night and we were babysitting my little sisters. We watched movies popped popcorn then got bored and were looking for some excitement and adventure. It was a cold wintery night and there was a bit of snow and ice on the streets but even so, my friend and I decided that it would be fun to take the car out for a drive.”

Mother gasps. “What? I don’t believe you would even think to do such a thing!” She glances across the table at my Father.

He says, “Go on finish the story.”

I continue. “Well believe it, mother. Because after we had done our usual Friday night fun, we were ready for some real adventure. So we talked about loading all the kids in the back seat of Dad’s car then driving around the neighborhood.” I glance at Mom and she shakes her head in disbelief.

I continue, “Really Mom!”

She replies. “I don’t believe you. You are making this up just to shock us.”

I continue, “No, I’m not. We talked about doing it. Changed our minds then we decided to go ahead and do it. The little girls jumped up and down and begged that we do. So we loaded all the kids wearing their pajamas into the backseat of Dad’s car. I got behind the wheel. My friend sat shot gun and off we went. We went driving around the hills of our neighborhood in the dark when there was a bit of ice and snow on the streets. We drove around for a while just fine and it was fun. Then, in an instant we hit an ice patch and the car slid a bit off the road. I’m scared but everyone else thought it was fun and were squealing with excitement and laughter. One of the car’s tires got stuck in some mud. I gunned the car and it didn’t move. I am freaking out inside, but try not to show it. Now everyone else is, too. The little girls are screaming that they want to go home and they are cold. So I gun it again and thankfully, am able pull the car back out onto the street. I drive the car down to the end of the hill, turn around and head back up to our house. I pulled in the driveway and was very careful to park Dad’s car in the exact place where it had been. Then we all get out with excitement and full of exhilaration at what we just did and run into the warm house with everyone exclaiming how much fun it was. Everyone promised not to tell you.” I look at Mom and Dad. “And I guess no one did.” I look into Mom’s face, “And you and Dad never knew or suspected that we did that?”

Mother exclaims, “No and I don’t believe that you did. You were too mindful and good. You were the most obedient child. You never would have done something like that and I don’t believe that you did. You are just making this up to shock us. You were too good and responsible. You never would have done something like that!”

My sisters chime in. “Well, we did it!” It happened!”

Dad says, “Well son of a bitch! No! We sure didn’t know!” He laughs, “You little devils! You are all grounded!”

And everyone laughed.

My awareness is that as a child, my mother always told me how bad I am and how I ruined everything. Now, when I confessed to something I did that was dangerous, irresponsible and bad, she didn’t believe me. Even said, I was making it up because I was too good and responsible. I was stunned, talk about confusing and conflicting messages.

Then I have awareness and understand how much both my parent’s relied on me and had confidence in me. And I fulfilled what they expected of me on most every occasion. Therefore, when I confessed to a time that I didn’t do as they expected, Mother didn’t believe it.

The truth is that I was most always overly good and responsible. And Mother never told me or thanked me when I was being so. She just expected it of me. Thinking back to this makes me angry until I understand that because of my Mother’s issues, I had to be just as I was, responsible and good. I was placed to be so.

But still it felt crazy and confusing and made me feel conflicted inside to hear my mother state that she did not believe it when I was confessing something bad that I did. It also made me realize just as I had thought that I was a kind, caring, good and an overly responsible child. I am proud that I was so, even though it wasn’t fair that I carry such burden and responsibility as a child. Only doing so taught me much and prepared me for life.

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4 thoughts on “THANKSGIVING – Excerpt from DADDY THROWS ME IN THE AIR”

  1. I never paid any attention to your book until today, when I saw the subtitle. I will be buying this very soon, and I only wish you had shared more about what it was about earlier. Thanks so much.

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