The Dream Quest One Writing Contest First Prize
of North Tazewell, Virginia
I AM MOM
Do you remember
me as a little girl who loved her mother with all of her heart? I think I do.
trying to figure out what happened to change everything.
I remember me asking you why
you didn’t drive.
You told me it wasn’t necessary because dad did all the
driving. I wasn’t going to permit that to happen to me when I grew older. I was going to learn to drive so I wouldn’t
have to wait for someone to take me somewhere or listen to the guff when they didn’t want to drive me.
Do you remember telling me “you have to ask you dad” every time I asked to go anywhere
or do anything? I couldn’t understand why you couldn’t or wouldn’t make the decision. I didn’t always
want to ask dad because I knew he would say no. You, on the other hand, would be more likely to understand my request because
you were my mother and a female.
Do you remember my asking why we never went anywhere or
had any friends? You were a happy go-lucky mom that liked people. You wanted friends but every time you developed any kind
of relationship with someone other than with dad, you had to end it. Did you want to end that friendship? Or — did
you stop being a friend at dad’s command. Dad was a loner, thus we all had to be loners, like it or not.
Going to stay all night with relatives wasn’t going anywhere fun. We never,
ever went to an amusement park or to a zoo or a movie with you and dad. Why was that, Mom? Why couldn’t you ever convince
dad that it was the right thing to do? Why couldn’t you tell him that we were kids and we liked to do kid things?
Of course, my dad was much older than the dads of my classmates. Dad was forty years old when I was born. He was only interested
in keeping us fed, clothes, and housed. Fun was not part of his daily duties.
If I wanted
to have a friend to come to the house to play, I was told “No”. Why did that always happen? Again, dad was a
loner but I wasn’t, not then. Not then changed over the years because of the so-called friend I accumulated that tended
to steal everything that I had that was not nailed down. I learned to be a loner except for the companionship of my husband.
We lived in our own little world and when he died I was all-alone again, like it or not.
I wanted to play my records, why was I never allowed to do so until you both weren’t in the house? One or both of you
were at home most times; therefore my music listening time was very limited. I loved to sing with the beautiful show tunes
and dream I was a famous songstress. My voice would echo all through the house and I was so happy when I could sing.
Why did you blame dad for every disappointment? Didn’t you have to agree with dad? Didn’t
he discuss the major decision making with you? I think he did but you didn’t want to tell me no.
- I know why my feelings toward you changed.
I GREW UP.
I swore with
all of my heart that I would never be like you.
I married and gave birth to two beautiful sons who loved
me with every ounce of strength that they had in their tiny bodies.
I did learn to drive but I hate to do so. I always felt I was behind the wheel of
a lethal weapon. To me, a car was much more dangerous than a gun.
My boys weren’t
directed to ask their father every time they had to go anywhere or do anything. They didn’t have a father around the
house all the time that could take the blame for any disappointments because we were divorced. I was the one making the
decisions and drawing the hatred.
Because I hated to go stay with relatives, my boys and I
did very little traveling. They didn’t get to do very much fun-wise because I couldn’t afford the cost of the
pleasures of amusement parks or zoos or movies. Being a single mom was hard.
have time for the friends of my sons. I didn’t have time to make a bunch of little boys happy because I worked all
of the time. When I arrived home each evening I had to begin the second shift, which consisted to preparing dinner, washing
clothes, and tidying up the house.
I wasn’t a stay at home mom like you. I had to work
and make a living to support my two sons and myself even while I was married. I dreamed of having that opportunity of staying
at home and watch each of my sons take his first step and say his first word.
I play my music
anytime I feel like it, which isn’t very often because I tend to listen to the words of the music and be reminded of
sadder times. The sad memories brought on by the music push me further into a depression that I struggle to stay out of
at all times. I would associate a certain song with a particular person or feeling and every time I heard that song I would
be reminded of a lost love or a dream ended.
I didn’t have a husband to blame for all the disappointments
and mistakes I made with my sons. That was a good thing because I’m sure I would have blamed every thing that wasn’t
perfect in our lives on him.
Mom, I think I have finally grown
up and I am proud to day that:
I AM MOM.
Will you forgive
With all my love,
who finally understands
# # #
Linda Hudson Hoagland of Tazewell, Virginia, a graduate of Southwest Virginia Community College,
has won acclaim for her series of novels including An Awfully Lonely Place, The Backwards House, Death by Computer, Checking
on the House and Snooping Can Be Dangerous. She has also written biographies and has had her short stories,
essays, and poems published in anthologies including Cup of Comfort. Her other books include The Little Old
Lady Next Door, Watch Out for Eddy, Just a Country Boy: Don Dunford, Living Life for Others, Quilted Memories, 90 Years and
Still Going Strong, and a selection of short writings entitled A Collection of Winners.