Looks Like We Made It: Looking For Home 1.2

Please note that while we are sharing our memoir it is a work in progress.  The title “Looks Like We Made It” is a working title.  The words in the chapters are are also a work in progress.  This is not a final copy, but rather a chance to share our story.

Looking For Home

Looks Like We Made It

Chapter 1.2

Norah

I stared out the window on a crisp Colorado fall morning, the leaves changed in color and all had almost fallen to the ground, waiting for the wind to blow them away. Some leaves remained on branches, but very few. I often wondered how they hung on. I loved fall, it was always my favorite season. The sun shining through the almost naked trees and the beauty in the colors calms me. With the cold weather approaching some leaves would freeze and be held to the ground. I too had changed in color, but I was still attached to the tree by a small branch prepared for the wind to take me to a beautiful place not aware that winter would soon come and I would be frozen to the cold ground. I was headed in a different direction and speed I was not expecting.

That morning I thought I had the flu.  My mom went to work leaving me home alone even though I was throwing up. The morning air was cold and, I wiped the frost off my bedroom window in order to watch her drive away. I quickly got right back in my bed half mad that she left me alone and half glad that I was all alone. Even though at times I wished she was what I considered to be a normal parent I was safer spending less time with her. I couldn’t have a single conversation that did not include how tired she was and how I could be doing so much more to help her out. The more I did, the more resentful I became, especially when what I did was never up to her standards and she never thanked me. I quickly reminded myself she was now a single parent and could not afford to miss a day’s worth of pay.

This structure that once held laughter, good food and salsa music, this place that often smelled of pine sol and simmering sofrito was quiet, dim, and fragrance free. The year prior the place I called home became infested with sobs, angry outburst and bitterness. Salsa music no longer played unless my mother played it to pretend she was whole and happy. She was good at pretending. I no longer smelled the scents of my father’s favorite things in life, a clean home and his favorite Puerto Rican foods cooking. My mom’s way of showing love was through acts of service and she served my father in hopes to keep him happy and lacking for anything. He was her pride a joy, a service man. Growing up her eyes twinkled when he dressed in his class “A” army uniform. It had been a year since I had seen her look at him in this way. This house had changed not only in name but mostly in feelings. A year prior our home changed into a house when my father packed his personal belongs, when he was asked to leave. My mother could no longer live with a man that she could not trust.

When I sat in my bed, I was all alone. I felt out of place in this unfamiliar environment. All of the possessions inside looked familiar and even inviting but I was quickly reminded that the things inside are all for show. Being at our house made me feel desperate to exit.  Each one of my family members pulled in separate directions in search for a place to live, a place to call home. Our family house was a place that we each resided in, a roof over our head not a place we lived. A place where you live would imply that life was happening and it wasn’t.  We slept on occasion under this shared roof but we did not share the same family connection we had when our father was here.

I had to get out of bed before I threw up again, I walked passed my mother’s room on the way to the bathroom.  This once was my parents room, once a shared space. Now it felt like a dark cave. I avoided going in this room unless my mother would call me in there. Growing up my parents bedroom was where I would most often find my father under the blankets on weekend mornings. Being in the army we moved a lot, but my parents bedroom still held the same meaning to me, even if it wasn’t physically the same room. My dad loved to sleep in after a long weeks worth of work. It was known by all of us that as soon as dad got up we would be doing something fun as a family. It was a Saturday tradition to go shopping, to a movie and out to eat. Some mornings I would hear my parents talking through our bedroom walls, this is how I knew family fun time was approaching. I would jump in the bed with them both, if their conversation wasn’t over they would start to speak in spanish. They knew that I could understand most of what they were saying so they invented their own code language of spanish to discourage me from trying to figure out what they were saying. It was their own secret language. When my dad wasn’t moving fast enough for my liking I would start to push him with my legs. He was so much bigger than me so I would squeeze my body between my parents position both my legs, one his mid back the other on his butt and rock him back and forth acting as if I was going to push him out of the bed. I would continue this as I begged him to get out of bed, “come on daddy get up please, let’s go now, you take forever to get ready.” In time he would give in to my begging and sit up and off I would run to my room to get dressed. But there was no longer any signs of my father in that bedroom, nothing to show that an Army soldier once slept next to my mother.

I was hunched over the toilet wishing my dad was there. I wanted someone to take care of me. But my dad became the parent I saw every other weekend. Some of our weekend visits felt long and drawn out, we were growing apart as father and daughter.  I dreaded hearing his car pull up and tried to prepare myself to act as if I were excited. My parents separation and divorce came right at a time that I believed most girls grew attached to their fathers, at thirteen years our relationship suffered. It was uncomfortable being alone with him. Our time together felt unnatural and forced. Our conversations lacked closeness. I grew up watching sitcoms like The Cosby’s and Growing Pains and I would often dream of my family sharing that kind of closeness. Why couldn’t we sit around a dinner table and share conversations that were relevant to a pre teen girl. These television families would always find a solution to whatever disagreement they had. My family’s lack in good comunication forced me to close myself in, I couldn’t share what was really going on in my life, I couldn’t be the real me, instead I pretended to be his innocent baby girl. A obedient child that always did what she was told.

My mom became distracted and disconnected in her newfound freedom. She wanted to prove to my father how she didn’t need him any longer. She was working full time and started to make friends. Most of our conversations were based on whether or not I had done my chores. She did not react well in an untidy home. So to her a clean house was priority even over homework. This became a task that was mostly mine. Deep down in her Puerto Rican upbringing it was the woman’s “job” to do the household chores not the men’s. We had a big house at the time my parents separated. They bought this house to make a permanent home for our family. Growing up we had lived in several army bases, I could only recall one other time we lived in an actual house. It was a house my parents built from the grown up in North Carolina. We did not live there long, I often wonder why. So this being the family home my parents chose after building a home, was very spacious. It had three stories and we each had our own bedrooms. I loved this house, I especially loved the stairs, one lead to my bedroom and the other to the family room. I loved the stairs mainly because prior to this home stairs only lead to basements. Basements for mostly storge, nothing fun. These stairs lead to rooms that reflected each occupant’s personality, rooms that once were filled with the laughter.   

I would pass my brothers in the hallway that separated our rooms as we headed out to school, or at least they were pretending they were going to school for my mom’s sake. When school was over they were always out with their friends and girlfriends. The saturday mornings in our pjs eating Captain Crunch watching Tom and Jerry were long gone. Waking up I would pass by empty bedrooms. Not only was my dad missing from his bed but if my brothers had come home in the evening they would be long gone before I had much of a chance to interact with them. I had no idea where they went and they never included me in whatever they did. Being the youngest of us and a 13 year old girl I required the most guidance. The kind of guidance that would prepare me for life, love and relationship. I was not prepared for any of the above and I set out to find a place where I could feel connected to someone where I could share who I was, I wanted to belong. I did not want to feel alone in the world, unloved, or uncared for.

As the distance in my family grew wider and wider. I continued to search for the attention I desperately needed. I found every reason to not be at home because inside those walls resided only people and not a family. There was a huge void in my life that my boyfriend instantly filled the day I met him.  He became my entire world, he became my home.

Norah

Norah

A wife to a man in wheels. Sharing my life with all of the struggles in hopes to open up the highways of understanding, compassion, love, and hope.  Follow me as I tread through.

Keep Rolling On With Us On Social Media

Today marks 22 years of marriage and to many more! #keeprollingon

A photo posted by @thewheelsofgrace on

We share our stories not so you know what we've been through, but so you're not afraid to share your own. Tell us, what's your story?

Posted by The Wheels of Grace on Monday, February 22, 2016

The Loss of My Legs

Sergio reflects back in his life to the loss of his legs.  
Read More

Merry Christmas from The Wheels of Grace!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours. May your hearts be filled with peace knowing that no matter where you are His Grace finds you. Our hope is that you are making beautiful memories and that when you wake on Christmas you smile at the thought of our...
Read More

Thankful

    Psalms 107:1 Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever. Lord,  I want to take this time to thank for for all that you have done for me and my family.  Thank you for all the ways you take care of our needs.  I thank you for...
Read More

365 Days of Love

I have spent many, many Valentine’s Days with Sergio.  In the summer of 1990 we fell in love and this fall we celebrated our 21st anniversary.   I can’t think of a Valentine’s Day that sticks out from all the rest, or one that I would rank as...
Read More

My Strength is in Him

  What do people see when they see you ? What do they see when they see me? It’s a question I often ask myself.  Not that my self worth relies in how people see me but in how they see Him in me.  I leave work, meetings, church, or social events hoping I...
Read More

Writing Hurts

Read More

Looks Like We Made It: Let’s Go Home 1.1

Let's Go Home

Looks Like We Made It

Chapter 1.1

Sergio

Please note that while we are sharing our memoir it is a work in progress.  The title “Looks Like We Made It” is a working title.  The words in the chapters are are also a work in progress.  This is not a final copy, but rather a chance to share our story.

I laid in my cell and stared out the square window from my bed. There was nothing to really stare at but the light posts illuminating the black asphalt. I watched as the wind blew an empty Big Gulp cup across the lot, until it slipped out of sight and into the unknown darkness. I was about to become that empty Big Gulp cup, I was to be flown far away from home, to land in a place that I had never seen before, empty. I wrapped myself tighter in the blanket as if maybe this would prevent me from being blown away. I didn’t want leave home, I didn’t want to make new friends. Why didn’t I tell the judge that I didn’t want to move?  Everyone was telling me that this was going to be good for me, that I needed a change, bull crap, they just didn’t want to have to deal with me anymore. This was as much for them as it was for me.

Why didn’t I run a different direction instead of trying to run through the parking lot of the mall. The cops were onto to me and knew the car I was driving was stolen. I thought if I could ditch the car I could out run them. I turned down a road so my friend and I could jump out and run. The car slammed into a big metal trash can and as I jumped out a loud voice told me get out with your hands up, my instinct was to get as far away as possible. I was close to my uncle’s house, if I could get there I could hide out. But I would have to cross the mall’s parking lot, it was too risky to try and go around. With my heart rate raising and my lungs trying to keep up with my running I stopped and hid under a tree until I could see the cops pass by, then I could make a break for the other side. I saw the lights turn to go around the side of the building and I darted out into the lot and ran as fast as I could go, behind me I could see a set of headlights turn my way and start to speed up in my direction. I was in the middle of the parking lot with nowhere to hide. In an instant I was surrounded by red and blue sirens. Busted. Get on the ground, get on your knees and put your hands in the air. At that moment I wondered how long my sentence to juvenile detention was going to be. It was my last night I would be able to walk around in Colorado Springs. I wouldn’t get a chance to tell anyone goodbye.

I had pushed the limits of the law and a long-term sentence was coming for me. I had been slapped on the wrist several times, but that was over. I was out of chances. I thought I would be sentenced to a juvenile detention center for at least a year. But my fate was different than I expected. I didn’t get another slap on the wrist but I didn’t get locked up either. Instead I was banished. My probation officer must have been on my side or he felt bad for me. He did everything in his power to allow me to move out of the state of Colorado and never to return. My parents took this plea and arranged for me to move to California with my oldest sister Angelica.

I was detained in Zebulon Pike before I could leave to California. I called my girlfriend to tell her I was leaving and didn’t think I was ever coming back. She had news of her own. I’m pregnant, the only words I remember her saying. The phone went cold against my ear and the chill spread throughout my body. I was in a situation I had no idea how to handle. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t help her. I was struggling to take care of myself. I was being sent away and there was nothing either of us could do. After the chill I began to warm up and I calmed, instantly heading into denial. The baby wasn’t mine, she had been with other guys, was she actually pregnant? I couldn’t care for her, or the baby even if it was mine. I never thought I was hurting anyone but myself. I thought I could handle the situations I put myself in and they only affected me. I was very wrong. I was leaving behind a trail of broken hearts and broken promises.

The only light in my cell came from the window facing the parking lot and underneath my door. When my cell became slightly darker I knew it was because the guard was standing in front of my door. I heard the metal key being inserted into the lock of the door as it was being turned. It was an odd time for the guard to be letting me out. He was brief with his words and they should have sounded like freedom

“Mr Sanchez get your stuff, it’s time.” He said, but it wasn’t quite freedom, it was the start to an unknown life.   

It was so late at night I felt like he was sneaking me out, but it was so there wasn’t a big ruckus from the other youth. I was guided to the staff work station to get my personal belongings but before I was given my clothes I had to sign a form stating that all my stuff was there. One black muscle shirt, one grey hoodie sweater, one black pair of jeans, and one set of white shoes. Sign here and get dressed your mom is waiting to take you. As soon as I was ready the guard lead me to the front door where I could see my mom on the other side waiting, BUZZ as soon as I heard the door unlock I pushed it and walked through letting the door slamm behind me. My mom greeted me with a half smile and together we walked down the long hallway to the last door that had to be buzzed to open. As soon as my face touched the cool air of the night I felt an unusual chill come over me.

I could see my mom’s car, a fire engine red Ford Taurus sitting in the parking lot. I knew my dad had to be in the car by the exhaust coming out of the back tail pipes. I got in the back seat and no one said much except for my mom telling me my flight plans. You will fly to Los Angeles and your aunt will pick you up and take you to the bus station to Santa Barbara where your sister will be waiting for you. I stared out the window the rest of the drive to the airport. I was trying to grab one last image of the town, the place that I called home. The drive was normally thirty to forty minutes long but this night it seemed like it was more of a five to ten minute drive. I read the road sign exit to I-25 next right and when I heard the blinker come on I felt a pressure coming from deep inside my chest. I could hear my heart pumping every time the blinker sounded, if I wanted to stay this was my last chance to open my mouth and say something.  I needed to convince my mom that I could change my bad ways and start listening, I would have to convince her that I would stay away from my friends. But nothing would come out of my mouth. There wasn’t anything I could think of that I hadn’t said before and failed at. Mom please don’t make me go! I looked out the window trying to figure out what to say, the sign that read Airport 2 miles hit me in the face, come on Sergio think of something to say. I had to change my mom’s mind, that’s the only way this car would turn toward home. My mom was the leader of our family, she carried the weight of making sure we had food, clothes and shelter. Even if it meant that she had to work two jobs and that she went without. Her past had conditioned her to work hard and provide. She taught her kids there wasn’t any room for wishing or hoping, if you wanted to make something happen in your life you made it happen with hard work and sacrifice. There was no room for showing love by hugs and kisses she showed it by providing. But in that moment I didn’t want a strong mother, I wanted my mom to stop the car, pull me out of it and give me a hug and kiss and tell me let’s go home.

 

 

 

Sergio

Sergio

The guy in the chair, who lost his ability to walk, but found his mobility through a change in his heart. A change when his mind was awakened by the gift of Purpose.
“And your life will be brighter than the noonday.
Its darkness will be like the morning.” Job11:17

Looks Like We Made It: Looking For Home 1.2

Read More

Writing Hurts

Read More

Writing Our Book Part 4

Read More

Take Care of You in 2017

Read More

Merry Christmas Prayers

Read More

Writing Our Book Part 3

Read More

Hands That Are Thankful

Read More

We Are Meant to Change

Read More

Writing Our Book

Read More

Ain’t Too Proud To Beg

Read More

Pin It on Pinterest

Untitled presentation

We use our story to motivate others to

Keep Rolling On!

Sign up to get our book What's Your Story to find out how your story matters.

 

You have Successfully Subscribed!