In Others’ Words–In Which It’s a Very Belated Day Three of the Three Day Quotation Challenge

Dear Lily June,

I’ve got my fingers crossed that you didn’t notice this last day of the quote challenge took me five days to return to. In all fairness, it feels to me as if yesterday was five days long.

It’s been five days filled with a lot of tears, a lot of whining, a lot of needy gripping at my hems and collars. And that’s just from my co-workers. I come home to you from work each day, and you lean in as if to say, “Tell me about it, Ma.” And I do. I babble on about book orders that go unplaced and emails that go unread and courtesy that goes uncourtesied (curtsied?), and you put your tiny hand on my arm and say, “Giggy. Giggy squeak.” And it’s true, little one. Giggy giggy squeak.

You are an endless source of comfort and beauty in my life. And that means, this October, during a season dominated by fear and death, I have been contemplating my greatest fear: losing you. Not today, Lily, while you are under my watchful, albeit a bit sleep-deprived, eye. I have to imagine what might occur if I were to lose you–literally or figuratively–to an abusive relationship sometime in your future. Because, as I’ve mentioned in the past two posts, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, this is weighing heavily on my mind.

One of the most effective tactics of an abuser is to isolate the abused. He or she will sometimes subtly, sometimes explicitly, distance the abused from his or her family, friends, co-workers, colleagues, neighbors, acquaintances, etc. until the person is almost entirely reliant on the abuser–economically and emotionally. And then, if the abused goes to escape that crippling isolation, they’re often in the most danger of all–the danger of being hurt or even killed in retribution.

Your Grandma Raelyn had the strength to leave a relationship like this. Your Grandma Alison had the strength to leave a relationship like this. Your Aunt Loren had the strength to leave a relationship like this. And God willing, if you ever find yourself trapped in a situation like this, you’ll have the strength to escape, too. Some aren’t so lucky even after their escape. One such person was Leidy Bonanno, the daughter of poet Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno, who was found strangled to death with a phone cord by her ex-boyfriend in 2003.

Because I cannot, without permission from the publisher, excerpt Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno’s poetry about this loss here, I can give you this for a quotation: “Ladybugs.” Please, little Lily, read more, either on this link, or in her book Slamming Open the Door.

I do not know this woman. But this mother’s wringing, gut-wrenching grief as delivered in the poems excerpted above makes me imagine stepping into those shoes. There is nothing I wouldn’t do to aid your escape, Lily. There is nothing I wouldn’t do to prevent your isolation and abuse in the first place. But I can only point you to the door of life. It is your hand which will turn the knob; your legs which will walk through it.

I’m again, one last time, grateful to Patricia, author of O-pen-u-nated, for nominating me for the Three Day Quotation Challenge, and I apologize to her for my delay. She, too, is a working parent, so hopefully she understands how these things can happen.

***

One last time, I give out the Rules for Three-Day Quotation Challenge:

  • Thank the blogger, who nominated you. (Hi there, Patricia!)
  • Publish 3 quotes on 3 consecutive days in your blog. It can be your own, or from a book, movie or from anyone who inspires you.
  • Nominate 3 more bloggers to carry on this endeavor.

And here, one last time, are three new nominees:

  1. The author of IAmSomeonesMother–This teacher, and parent, has much to teach through her blog, about both teaching and parenting.
  2. Deb Allen of White Deer Girl–Another extraordinary photographer, Deb Allen posts life-altering quotations fairly regularly, so this should be right in her wheel house.
  3. The author of Smirk Pretty–I’ve rarely been as inspired reading blogs as I have been reading her 100 Things I Can project. Again, as she references texts regularly on her site, this should be more a yawn than a stretch for her.

I hope at least one of the nine nominees I’ve selected across the three posts will keep this going. And Lily June, I hope to hold you–if not in my arms, then in my heart–for the rest of my life. But let’s do the arms thing, which means you’re close and you’re safe, my unimaginably loved daughter dear.

***

Picture Credit:

Work Referenced:

  • Bonanno, Kathleen Sheeder. Slamming Open the Door. Farmington, ME: Alice James Books, 2009. Print.
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14 thoughts on “In Others’ Words–In Which It’s a Very Belated Day Three of the Three Day Quotation Challenge

  1. Patricia says:

    BTW actually I am deliciously free from the constraints of “the working mother”. From time to time, I am called to duty with my grandchildren but the further the distance between us the less I get the call. I don’t know how you do all that you do and have your writing so beautiful and complete. I can pretty much write whenever I want as I am retired. Yes, I am much older than I must seem because I do not feel or look my age. I am still shocked at how many years have passed in my life. A funny moment just for you: Danny and I went to our high school reunions a year or so ago and as we are leaving his, we looked at each other and said, “We look good.” 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. dearlilyjune says:

      Sorry; your youthful exuberance tricked me! I just know you’d written about being a stepmother, and you’d written about setting up Excel spreadsheets to track business finances. Apparently, I didn’t read closely enough, so I hang my head in shame.

      But you not only look good; you sound good! Strangely enough, I took college Polish, and the only thing I remember how to say is “What luck it is to be retired.” I hope you’re living it up, especially for those of us who will probably never be able to have it!
      Let me live vicariously through you, friend. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Patricia says:

        It’s not all that you think. Danny had 3 pharmacies so we set up a corporation for tax filing. Since I was keeping those books, I set up our home finances as well. I have done it all from home in my home office which I love. Things are changing because he is not doing pharmacy work right now since we are moving to Colorado. He thinks he might do some part-time work but we will see. I am enjoying having him at home though at first, it was annoying. He acted like I was his employee. lol We are setting our boundaries now because it will just be the two of us in Colorado. YEA! Never say never…Richard had no money left when we started our business and Danny was employed by University of Texas Medical Branch as a Poison Specialist for Poison Control when a guy talked him into starting some independent pharmacies after we were married. He retired from UTMB. I was working my ass off when I got laid off from a company I had been with for 7 years. We bought a new house so I had to do all the coordinating and everything that goes with building a new house so he said “collect unemployment for a while” and work for us. I did some bookkeeping for the pharmacies for a while from home and ran errands but eventually I didn’t have to do either any more. Danny let go of the pharmacies and worked for his partners in their other pharmacies. Then we decided to move to Colorado and both left our jobs. I was working for Crisis Intervention of Houston then as a telephone crisis counselor. I just fell into all of this. I was a workaholic working in Commercial Property Management which I loved because it was a lot of problem solving. Richard and I only worked 3 days a week (weekends) and Danny never really wanted me to work. He didn’t like me working for Crisis because I chose to work evenings and had to drive into Houston at night. I liked it though. I have been through more with Danny than you know. I will have to tell you some day. We have gotten through it and come out the other side. I am drawing my social security now and Danny will be next month. God, that feels strange to say because I just don’t feel my age though my body is starting to. My mom is 82 and just starting to wind down. I have been cursed in some ways and blessed in others. Right now we are struggling until we close on the house and Danny’s social security kicks in. We built an expensive lifestyle while Danny was in pharmacy and we have to maintain the debt until we can close. We have a 5 bedroom, 4 1/2 bath house for two people. We love it but we don’t need it. It is definitely time to downsize and I will be so glad. So, my friend, don’t envy me too much, you two are money-wise, we two are not. Yet, I have never been happier. I don’t let the debt get me down because I have everything I need and its only 6 more weeks before things will get better. I am still waiting to hear about your ANNIVERSARY!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. dearlilyjune says:

        It sounds to me like you’ve earned every second of your retirement! Sometimes I’m just bitter because my husband’s and my student loan debt–and medical debt–put us so far behind the curve in life that we’ll never catch up, at least financially.

        But we’re rich in love, so I’d rather have it go that way than vice versa! It sounds to me like you and Danny have the same thing going, and I hope like mad the two of you love your time together–just the two of you–in Colorado. It’s supposed to be beautiful out there. I’ve only been to Denver once, but it was an interesting trip! (Husband got sick so it’s hard to say “good” per se, but definitely interesting!)

        Like

      3. Patricia says:

        I can see his getting sick with the thin dry air and all. Been there myself. We are moving to Durango, a small tourist town that we fell in love with. Danny’s student loan is with Sallie Mae and we have been able to get a couple of deferments. That would give you time to pay off anything else you have going. Probably a dumb suggestion but, hey, that’s me.lol I can’t believe at our age we are still paying off a school loan. It’s within reach but it isn’t the only debt.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. dearlilyjune says:

        We’re already on income-based repayment for the one loan, and they’re so high, if we defer, we’ll end up drowning even further in interest debt. Sigh.

        At the end of the game, the king and the pawn go back into the same box, right? So I’m trying not to let money woes get me down for now. Not easy with Lily’s first Christmas approaching…

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Patricia says:

        I am having to just enjoy my life day by day. I fret and Danny tells me that we can’t operate from a position of fear. It always seems to work out for us. Like you said we have love. ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  2. BunKaryudo says:

    Your three-day challenge covered such a very important topic. The story you referred to on this day about Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno’s daughter was terrifying. My goodness, it’s important for Lily June when she’s older, and indeed anybody else, to find the courage to leave an abusive partner and report him before it’s too late. I know it’s not easy, but there really is no good alternative.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. originaltitle says:

    Something we all fear as mothers because a person can come into your life and seem totally normal only to destroy it later when the mask is off. I recently saw something a mother did with her daughter to help her be discerning in who she chooses to date (although, you never really can know if someone will victimize you in some way) that I think I might try and that was to substitute the name of the person they are interested in dating into First Corinthians (the love is patient, love is kind one). Even if you’re not a religious person, it’s a pretty good description of the kind of person you want to look for in a partner, friend, spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, and the kind of person you want to be yourself. I can’t stop something from happening if it’s going to happen, but at least I can try to build her up to being the best person she can be and believing that she deserves only the best treatment so hopefully (fingers double crossed) if someone even throws a shade of disrespect her way, she will walk away before she gets in too deep. But confident, well-loved people are victimized and abused too so of course there’s no fail safe. A great post in raising awareness and in sharing the worries we have for our children.

    Liked by 1 person

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