August 11, 1995 – Friday – 11:56 p.m.

Danny and Peter came over today.  They are the greatest!

Tonight was interesting however.  The only people home were Mom, Nate, and myself.  We cooked hamburgers on a grill on the porch.  And while eating, a wonderful conversation arose.  Mom told me of her high school days, a boyfriend, seeing my dad, and getting married at the age of 17.  My dad was 19.  I turn 19 in less than a week.

How stupid they were.

How could they have known?

She told me about them driving out to Arizona and being conned out of over $200 because when they stopped to get gas, a mechanic convinced them they had bad tires and needed to buy new ones immediately.  She later realized they were just trying to sell tires and make an easy buck.  This was in 1971.  Kevin was born in 1975.

They moved to Columbus, Ohio and I was born in August of 1976.  We moved to what was then West Germany in August of 1977.

She told me of a diary she kept during those days.  She ran upstairs to get them.  I read about days before and after I was born.  Her writing was beautiful.  She wrote of smells, sights, sounds.  It reminded me of one of my journal entries or even of one of Emily’s letters.  I was shocked!

On November 2, 1976 she wrote an entry.  This is a small part of that entry:

Jacob and I had our special time together today.  I love nursing him while he’s half asleep and he grins while on my nipple, so cute.

I couldn’t believe it.  This was my mom at 23 years of age.  She wrote about nursing me.  All these years, my mom was right next to me, guiding me, and I hardly noticed her.  And I’m sure that many times when she looked at me, she still saw that two month old bald-headed baby lying helplessly at her breast.

It seemed as if my mom gained so much wisdom tonight.  Or maybe it was me who gained the wisdom.  She has given me so much and through her diary, I could tell that Kevin and I kept her going through those years when my father didn’t know how to love her.

And now…although I am almost 19-years-old, I sometimes still feel like a helpless baby, needing my mother’s breast.  But it is not there.  I must be me, and I must rely on God.

My mom sees so many things I thought she did not.  I owe her so much.  I want to give her so much.

Thank you for showing me this God.

Goodnight everyone.

June 2, 1995 – Friday – 10:20 p.m.

The Bridges of Madison County opened in theaters today.  After my hard day at work, I decided to go see it this evening.  Mom wanted to go with me, so I let her.  She was excited; she finally got the chance to do something.

It was a wonderful picture.  My mom cried.

As the credits rolled, we went out the exit near the screen, but then we took a wrong door and ended up on the other side of the mall.  We had to walk around

And there, in an isolated and empty parking lot, I walked with my mom, a woman a little over 40, and I asked, “Mom, has Kevin or Nate or I ever stopped you from being who you wanted to be?”

She said, “No, but your father did.”

She began to cry.

Painful memories I suppose.  But it was then that I realized that at one point in my mother’s life, she actually loved my father.  That was so long ago.

I watched her as she pulled her keys out of her purse to unlock the car door and begin her journey towards our home and her world of detail and procedures.

June 2, 1994…if only I knew…

June 2, 1993…I difficult night, but now I don’t know why…

June 2, 1995…my first grade teacher recognized me today at McDonald’s.  It had been 12 years since she last saw me.  How could she have even recognized me?  But to her, she said I hadn’t changed much.

I always hear older people reflecting upon their youth and telling wonderful little stories.

I learned today that all of my youthful little stories have already been conjured up and written down.  The story of how I grew up cannot be re-written.

And now I will lay my down to sleep.  Only to wake up to another day of fast food procedure.

Perhaps there are bridges in Crestview.