As a child brought up by a single father, it is difficult for me to say that anyone could have possibly made a bigger impact on my life than he did. Yet, despite the guilt it may cause, if I am to write the truth I must say that it was not my father who made the largest impact on my life. No, it was not my father, the man who was there for me through everything, who made sure I had all the things I need growing up, and gave me his love and support through most, if not all, of my endeavors. Indeed, the person who impacted my life greatest was not the person it should have been. In fact, rather than being someone who was involved in my life actively, it was someone who was not involved in my life at all.
Since I was four years old, I have been forbidden to see or even talk to my mother. I remember the last day I saw her like one would remember a dream from the night before. Parts of the event are as clear to me, as if I were watching it happen through a window, but other moments of that night are much harder for me to recall. Look at it this way; have you ever walked through your house at night, and came across that one long hallway where you have to feel your way through the darkness just to get to the next room? That's what it is like; it is like wandering through a familiar house, where some of the rooms are lit up, and others are pitch black. I do remember myself, hiding in my little closet, clinging to my suitcase, and thinking that if my daddy could not find me then he could not take me away. What I remember most of all though, is the sound of my mother crying and yelling, and the feeling of her hands clasped tightly, painfully, around my forearm, as she begged my daddy not to take me from her. That was the last time I ever felt her touch.
It's baffling to me how something as small as a child's blurry memory can affect a person's decisions in life so incredibly, without them even realizing it. I kept the image of my mother's face that night locked away in my head; that was the only way I could remember what she looked like. Every time I thought of her, I could only think of her in despair, and soon I started blaming myself for her pain. I assume, to most people, that will sound weak, or even irrational, and perhaps it was. Perhaps I was only using my mother as a crutch, so that I could make bad decisions and feel like I had some sort of justification. Whether that is true or false doesn't change the fact that I shaped my future choices around punishing myself. In my mind, I was the one that was hurting her. I was the one that caused her face to twist with the agony I could see so plainly in my thoughts, so it only made sense to me that I should be the one to suffer for it.
I gave my father a rough time raising me from that point forward. At the time, I didn't take his feelings into account, and, looking back, I would change it all if I could. I did my absolute best, to be my absolute worst. I made few friends, and I assume the ones that I did have must have been going through situations similar to mine in order for them to act the way that we did. I remember that I used to bad things intentionally. For example, I'd skip classes, avoid doing work, and I'd shoplift with my 'friends' some of the times we went out. I think though, what made those actions so much worse was that I was purposefully indiscreet just so I would get caught and get to see the look of disappointment on my father's face. Don't get me wrong; I did not enjoy having my dad disappointed in me. In fact, it hurt me more than anything to know I had let him down, but that was the point after all. I was hurting myself like I deserved and that was all that mattered. It became apparent at the end that none of it actually mattered at all, because, like most people, I had a turning point that changed the direction my life was headed. What's odd though, is that both my spiral downwards and my turning point were caused by the same person; my mother.
I was a freshman in high school when I saw my mom for the first time in ten years. The bus to take me to campus hadn't arrived yet, so I was just waiting when she pulled up. She didn't have to say who she was when she rolled down her window, because I knew as soon as I saw her. She didn't even say much at all, in fact, she only uttered three things to me in that moment.
"I knew it was you"
"I miss you dearly"
"Know that I love you no matter what"
I did not say anything as she rolled up her window and drove away, and I did not get on the bus when it stopped beside me. I turned and I walked back home. I recall that I was not able to find my key when I got to my door, so I just sat down in the snow with my face buried in between my knees. If I had not been so shocked, I may have thought to check my pockets for the key, where I would end up finding it later on that day. I was not really able to think of anything other than the fact that my mother was smiling. I had a new image of her in my head and she was smiling. It was in that second that I had the realization I should have had many years earlier. My mother was happy. She was not the distraught woman I had trapped in my head, and I could finally see that. I had let her impact my life negatively since my father ripped her out of my world, and now, because of her, I could move on.
Nowadays I do things, not to be detrimental to my success, but rather to benefit myself. I make decisions so that I'll be happy, instead of hurt. I've made friends who love me, and I've improved the relationships I have within my family. It seems that both negatively and positively, my mother, the woman who was not able to be in my life, impacted it more than any person who had been a part of my world from the day I was born.