I have been thinking about the home I grew up in lately, something I have not done since we moved from there. I close my eyes and picture it in my head and at times I almost feel like I am back there again. I picture each piece of furniture, the decorations on the wall, how it felt and smelled. My home was very humble and everything we had was given to us. It was cold in the winter and extremely hot in the summer. There was no central air or heating because it was a garage. It had a cement floor, a tiny bathroom, a sink and...that's pretty much it. I was embarrassed to live there. I didn't want anyone to know and the worst day of my life, or so I thought, was when a kid from school found out and told everyone I lived in a garage. I remember coming home with tears in my eyes because one of my classmates asked me if I was poor.
When I think about it now it makes me laugh. Silly me, why did I make such a big deal about it? The worst part is how much I hurt my mother. I would ask her over and over again why we couldn't live somewhere else. I would cry to her, asking her to find a better place for us, without understanding that this was the best she could afford. Not only was I embarrassed over the fact that I lived in a garage, I was also embarrassed about not having a car. I hated going to the store with my mom because I didn't want anyone from school to see us walk home carrying groceries. There came a time when I refused to go with my mom because I was too embarrassed and instead of my mother getting upset at me or scolding me, she just said, “esta bien” (it's okay). She never gave me a hard time, but I knew my attitude hurt her.
One morning in Junior High I was outside with my P.E class. From the field you could see the street I lived on. My mother had gone to the store that day and was pushing a shopping cart full of groceries home, passing in front of the field where we were playing softball. Someone in my class yelled, “Hey! That's Lucy's mom!” I turned to see my mother with her shopping cart full of groceries. Someone made a comment about how she could get in trouble for taking a shopping cart from the store and I was humiliated. I wanted to disappear. I came home angry that day, wondering what my mother was thinking and how she could embarrass me like that. Not once did I ask myself how I could be such insolent child.
As an adult I can't help but feel shame and embarrassment when I think about how inconsiderate I was. I am so embarrassed over being a coward, a brat, and worst of all being ashamed of my life. I cry as I write this and I'm filled with the desire to go back in time and make it up to my mother. I've never truly apologized to my mother for my behavior and it's time I do. I know she has forgiven me and doesn't hold it against me, but I haven't forgiven myself; maybe after talking to her I will be able be to.
At the time, I didn't see the value in living in a home full of love and peace. I am so blessed that I didn't grow up in a broken home. Yes, I didn't have a father but my mother played both roles better than most parents I know. My home was humble but rich in love, peace and support and all who visited could sense it.
I think it's time to start visiting that home in my thoughts more often and reflect on why God put me there. Maybe it's time for all of us to close our eyes and visit our childhood home. For some of us this visit will cause pain and bring back memories we have been trying to forget; for others it may be bittersweet. The important thing is that we reflect upon it. Maybe then we will see how God has been with us every step of the way and realize what he has been trying to teach us all along.