I’m on fire

[im awn fahyuh r]: This was the fourth of seven US Top 10 singles from the Born In The U.S.A. album.


I am sitting in my car waiting for my daughter to get finished with her birthday party. They invited me in, but I cannot handle the sound of ten seven-year-olds and the smell of cooked hot dogs in the kitchen. Everyone has their limits. Mine was to dump my daughter off at the door and run for dodge.

So I am on vacation now. Which is nice. I got to take a nap in the middle of the day which felt SO NICE. Tomorrow I finally get to sleep in until eight in the morning, and then in the evening, I will leave my daughter with my ex so she can celebrate Halloween.

This is my vacation…running all over Stockholm. But needless to say, my car is a lot more fun than The House That God Has Forgotten.

Do you ever have a song that reminds you of something, and it was about a dream you had of what you wanted to be like when you grew older? (does that make any sense?) Anyway, this song came on my phone just now and it reminds me of my mother’s house. I always dreamed of having a house like she did with friends in the backyard having a barbeque. It all seemed so perfect (never mind that her husband was an alcoholic that hit her). I wanted to be them, but I always wanted to be everything my mother was.

I guess you get like that when you do not have something (my mother) so you always want it.

I remember going to visit her and on Saturday we would go to the record store together. She would buy me some Garfield toy, or some candy I wanted to collect instead of eating (it was giant gummy rats in different flavours… I was probably the only child in the world that collected such things). We would always take the records home and she would play them one time while recording it onto a cassette tape.

“This is when it sounds the best” she would say to me.

So I started doing the same thing in my backwards little world. I would take my tape recorder and sit glued to the television watching MTV and recording all of the songs I like on there. Some of them I still remember when I hear them on the radio exact at the point where a door creaked in the background, or someone said something to mess up my song.

My mother without knowing it encouraged my fear of snails. My grandfather had a book, he meant well and wanted to teach me the different types of snails. Sadly enough I mixed the snails with the shells (snail), the ones without the shell (slug) and the ones that suck blood (leeches). I called the snails with the shells “sluggers” and when they stuck to the window I thought they were going to suck the blood out of the window. My mother never explained otherwise.

It made for trauma when I was having to take runs on an Army base on a tropical island in Japan. Snails everywhere and I could not go anywhere, but listen to them crunch under my feet.

Now when I see a snail my daughter tries to get me to pick one up to break my phobia. I refuse. I still look like a wimp even for my own daughter.

“They are nice mom; they will not hurt you.” She says while walking on a trail in the middle of the summer.

“Forget it. I am not touching that thing.”

My mother always forgot money in her jeans and it was an easy way to find cash if you needed it. She never had any idea how money works, but she is a bookkeeper. She is perhaps so tired of keeping up with everyone else’s money that it is too hard to keep track of her own.

I spend every other weekend and every other Wednesday with her until I was ten, then as I moved away it became less frequent.

You see in the seventies/early eighties there was a custody trial. My father wanted me, and my mother just was not ready to have kids yet. So in the end and all she gave me to my father and paid him seventy-five dollars a month in child support. Not because he needed the money, but more because he wanted to remind her that I existed.

I did exist, but my mother was not the most active parent. She never asked me about homework, or my grades in school. People felt sorry for me because I did not have a mother. A lot of it was:

“How can a grown man take care of a little girl all by himself?”

It takes a village. Close friends to my father, my grandparents, my aunt. There were a lot of people around, but none of them were my mother.

Which always in a way made me want her to love me more. I would try, I would do anything to get her to want to spend time with me.

I remember the few times she had been there. One of them was when she picked me up from school when I had scarlet fever to leave me at my grandparents (note the leaving me somewhere) and she bought me a chocolate milkshake from Burger King. Needless to say the milkshake wound up on the shag carpet of my grandparents living room, but I do remember the milkshake moment.

When she had my brothers (11 and 13 years younger) she was there at the same house as them, but still… she called french fries vegetables and gave them hot dogs from the local hot dog place for breakfast. Something along the lines of…

“She lets them run around like wild animals!” is something I heard once from someone I do not remember who it was.

I once tried to make them dinner. Steak, salad, potatoes…I got the comment;

“They are not used to having a piece of meat on the plate in from of them like that”

My mother cooked dinner for me once that was not from a box. It was enchiladas. They were actually really good. I never understood why she never made them again.

We used to watch TV shows together when it was Wednesday. One of them was called “real people” I think it was about people that did incredible things, but I do not remember. I just looked forward to it because it was our time together.

One of the things I did not think that were so fun was all of the drugs around me. The marijuana smell that filled my world. The “I have a picture of you in an Easter Dress with a basket in a pot greenhouse” are interesting stories about your life, but not so fun in reality.

One day as I got older, my mother said to me in a serious tone; “Maybe I just should not have had kids at all.”

It didn’t make me sad… it just made me reflect, and make me be scared to be someone’s mother. Mind you, my daughter is the best thing to ever happen to me. All of the trips to school across town to take her to school with her friends, the cold evenings watching football and track and field, and the smell of chlorine at the swimming pool when she has swim school.

The waiting in cars as she goes to birthday parties are all worth it because I know she will someday be able to write a blog post if she wants to and it will not be like the one I am writing about my mother.

I guess you learn things by what you have been through.

I had a period where I did not speak to my mother at all (years) and I learned that I had to accept her for who she is. She asks me how I am doing now, but not as often about my daughter as I would like her to. You have to take what you can get and do your best with it.

My Mother loves this song (or loved it) when I was a kid. I was never the biggest fan of it, but whenever I hear it I think of her. Recording it while playing the record, and looking at it with me on MTV.

Somethings stick to you like glue as a kid. Milkshakes, snails, Garfield toys while going to the record store and then recording it on to a tape. This is what I carry with me when I think of the good times with my mother.

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