Mother's Daughter

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The summer when I was 24, my mother took me to the mountains to break my heart.

We found a fire pit with logs for chairs, lit a fire, and through it's smoke and sputters I listened to her tell a true story. It was a story you hear maybe once in a lifetime. It changed everything. It changed me.

At the conclusion of her campfire tale, my mom shared that she and my dad were getting divorced. We also listened to "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten.

After that day in the mountains I vowed to never listen to Fight Song again. I hated everything it represented for me. Of course, it happened to be one of the most popular songs of 2015. When it played on the radio I'd change the station. I plugged my ears if I heard it in the grocery store. I felt like it followed me everywhere, all the way through summer into autumn. I could not escape it anymore than I could run from the heartache of my parent's divorce.

A week before Christmas that year my sister and I gathered in the garage of my childhood home to prepare for a yard sale. The cold cement floor turned to sacred ground as we placed price tags on the washing machine that cleaned our clothes and the ornaments that once hung on the tree. We sorted through a lifetime of belongings with neon stickers in hand, left alone to wonder, "How much are memories worth?"

The yard sale ended. Christmas came and went. The year came to a close and thankfully Fight Song disappeared into the abyss of popularity. Life moved on. Babies were born and new celebrations came my way. The spontaneous stings of my parent's divorce eventually faded. I found myself still a part of a lovely, amiable family and I was happy. "No fight songs needed", I'd say, pleased with the peace that settled over my wounds.

Years later, just last week, I was shopping in my favorite thrift store. My kids were in the cart happily playing as I looked through racks of clothing. Suddenly, a tune played from the overhead radio.

"This is my fight song" the chorus began.

It was like hearing it for the first time. I felt a power rumbling in my wild heart. Some part of me wanted to scream "this is my mother's song!" but I gave that voice no heed. Instead I remembered my mother that day in the mountains. She spoke soft words with a sure voice behind them. I saw confidence and peace burning in her eyes - a look I have since seen mirrored in my own.

"I am my mother's daughter", I thought, remembering the fiery, defiant, brave blood in me was hers also.

 I did not wipe the tears that freely fell from my lashes. They came one, two, then a hundred at a time. They washed me, cleaned my eyes so I could see that there is room enough in me for joy and pain to reside together.

There, in a thrift store -
where forgotten and unwanted things go,
I found myself again.

*Story has been shared with permission*
© Channing B. Parker. Design by FCD.