Posted by: canaryinacoalmine | July 23, 2006


At twenty-nine one should be self sufficient and not need anyone to watch after them….or so you’d think.

I was two years old when my grandfather gave me the nick name Red Tornado. At five I could climb the trees in our back yard faster than any of the boys on the street and walk the branches as though they were my very own balance beam. My mother signed me up for gymnastics at six, “You need to spend that energy in a useful way Child.” At seven, I began making fun of my brothers for not being able to out run me and win Red Light Green Light. By the time I was ten I counted the steps on my way home from the bus stop till I could tear off my Catholic school uniform, throw on dungarees and make mud pies to use as oiling agents during the neighborhood kickball game. My Mother gave me the nick name Pig Pen at twelve and at thirteen, I discovered boys.

7th and 8th grade brought new beginnings of Friday night dances in the gym. We listened to Teen Spirit and Curt Kobaine whine about the misery of being a rock star. We danced thrashing our heads making fun of one another during a couples skate at the roller rink. I changed clothes in the car dawning items my parents would never let me out of the house wearing, “I don’t know who you think you’re working for tonight but you’re not going out dressed like that.” This command was easily over come by leaving a bag under a bush and changing in the car when a friend’s parent picked me up. After all, they were “The Cool” Parents.” How wrong I was.

“The Cool Parents” were the one’s who didn’t care, the one’s who were more self-centered and waded through motions of laying ground rules then allowed their teenage daughters to leave the house dressed like they were on the way to a photo shoot for Barely Legal Magazine.

At sixteen, I craved my parent’s friendship and misconstrued their tough love concept as over bearing and a clipping of my wings. I tested the temperature of our relations and never let the opportunity pass. If Trouble was to be had, I found it, flipped it around, and made a side show. At twenty – I came back to them. They spoke, I listened. At twenty-four I remembered my father as my basketball and soccer coach and my Mother giving me a perm for an Annie Look A Like Contest. She never argued with me when it was over about “changing out of this stupid dress.” At twenty-five my Father and I did a 180 mile bicycle ride from Houston to Austin together and at twenty-six I began confiding to my Mother about men.

At twenty-eight I realized they are my best friends.

And at twenty-nine I wonder why I continue to test them.

Perhaps…just perhaps having children is something like planting seeds in a garden. When you walk into a garden where daisys don’t grow, my favorite flower, one plants seeds hoping they will take root, orchrestrate good, take up enough space, light, walk in with enough beauty and simplicity that it keeps disappointment away.

Perhaps thats the love between a parent and child…even at twenty-nine or ninety-nine. No matter what the test, they seem to pass.

The real test lies in the spaces between where nothing is said and love is a constant.


  1. m

  2. My parents have passed on. As I matured, I learned how wonderful they were. When I accepted them as two people who did the best they could, I was able to enjoy their friendship as well as their love. I miss them.

  3. I think it will be quite interesting when you become a parent, Red Tornado. So get to it, already.

  4. My applause! I loved this post. It was beautifully written.

  5. loved this post.

  6. Yeah. Me too.

  7. Lovely

  8. the idea that (as a parent) you are trying to help create a being capable of making their own decisions while instilling your ideas of right wrong and honor..well, that has to breed some headbutting, some clashing. like it or not, confrontation and clashing is what makes us stronger, makes us able to withstand the pressures of the world.

  9. That is the best post I have read by you yet. That was fantastic and from the heart. Thanks!


  10. there could very well be an analogy between parental and gardening styles, although this would frighten me, i think. one of my favorite gardeners is fond of having entirely new plants year after year, and very quickly gives up on any seedlings that don’t seem to be going in the direction he wants. my neighbor plants a garden, but for some reason can’t bring herself to pull out the weeds, and the flowers and vegetables never reach their full potential. i talk to my flowers, but i don’t do a very good job protecting them from the slugs and aphids.

  11. tear to my eye

  12. ok

  13. What’s awesome is the fact that there is so much love behind each and every phase.

    I love hearing about other people loving their families.

  14. Being a parent I now know that part of the joy is having someone that does need you.

  15. family relations are infinitely complicated and always changing. like vines of ivy, perhaps. intertwined and entangled. and often you can’t tell where one ends and another begins.

  16. Beautifully written. It almost makes me wish I didn’t keep my parents on the coast.

    P.S. – Houston is glad you’ve decided to stay.

  17. I can’t name the song. I CAN’T NAME THE SONG!!!!! And it’s driving me batty!

  18. This is just a beautiful post. It makes me want to call my mom right now.

  19. Hey, I’m almost 38 and I need someone to take care of me. I don’t have anyone that’s willing, so I take care of myself as best I can, but, well, everyone needs their mommy once in a while, don’t they?

  20. You need to applaud me because I was able to regain my focus and finish reading your post AFTER I read this line…

    “I could tear off my Catholic school uniform”

  21. love means never having to say anything..but knowing.


%d bloggers like this: