I can remember the day that I realized that my dad was not nice. We were having dinner at Longhorns. My sister and I were crossing our eyes at each other and my brother was hitting her on the back trying to make them stick that way. My mom was laughing at us and wanted to join in.
She looked at my dad, “Sparky am I doing it?”
“No, not at all,” he laughed. I was furious with him for saying that, but at first I was not quite sure why. Then, I realized that he was trying to hurt her feelings, probably to spite her for something she said to him earlier in the day. She was my mother, and she was trying to be included in our little game. I hated him for making her feel left out. This event seems so small but to a little girl who worships her mother, it meant everything.
After that day, I felt like I was finally seeing him for who he was. He was by no means a bad man, just a bad at being a human being. He didn’t know how to treat people. What I used to interpret as charm was really him manipulating people to get what he wanted. His humor was really putting people down to make himself feel better. Every little quirk and habit that I used to find endearing just annoyed and angered me. I was now in the same situation as my mother had been in for years: stuck in a house with a man I didn’t like.
I began to ask my mom why we didn’t just leave Daddy. She said that we couldn’t afford, and until we could, we were just going to have to stay with him.
“Until we could,” those words meant everything to me. If we can just find enough money to hire a lawyer, things will be better. If she can just get a job, things will be better.
I believe in the hope that things will get better. I have to. Hope is the only thing that got my mother out of that house, and hope is the only thing that keeps us out of that house. Sure, life is a little harder now. Money is tighter. We have more responsibilities. My mom may not be able to make it to every soccer game, but I have hope that one day things will be better. One day, she will be happy and I will be happy because of it.
I understand that this will by no means be my last or greatest struggle. I will have more problems, more tough decisions and more sacrifices to be made, but every time life gets harder I will remember this hope I feel now. I will remember how it saved my mother, and it will save me once again.
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