Friday, July 17, 2009

Sara Dawson: Life Without a Mother

Editor’s Note: I’ve been looking for some ways to do more with this blog than just talk about writing, publishing and websites. To that purpose, I have sought out a few guest bloggers. I know some people don’t like guest bloggers, but I’m hoping you’ll like these. It took some serious arm twisting, but today’s guest is the beautiful, tough as nails, restaurant owner in training, Sara Dawson.

When Timothy asked me to write a post for his blog, I said, “I thought you would never ask!” Its funny how much it sounded like, “Uh, no.” But as you can see, he talked me into it. I told him that I don’t have anything interesting to say. If I bore you to tears, it’s his fault. He told me I should write about growing up without a mother. So, here goes.

I don’t know if anyone ever told me I didn’t have a mother. I don’t have many memories from when I was very young. It was just Dad and me back then. Of course there was also Grandma and Aunt Stephanie. I usually stayed with one of them when Dad was working. I remember an awful woman at this daycare place, but that was before I went to kindergarten.

Dad never talked about my mother—not back then. It was just the two of us at home and I didn’t know anyone was missing. I liked it best when he didn’t have to work. He would tuck me in at night and read me a story. When he had to work, there were some days that I didn’t go home at all. He would come to Grandma’s or Aunt Stephanie’s for a while and then he would say he was going to work. But on the days he was off, I would get up in the morning and he would fix breakfast. Some days we would play or I would try to help him in the yard. I used to have this little purple water pistol that someone gave me. When Dad would clean one of his pistols, I would sit down at the table with him and pretend to clean mine too. I knew how to reassemble a pistol by the time I was six.

I must have noticed that other kids had mothers at church, but I didn’t pay much attention until kindergarten. The teacher passed out construction paper and we were supposed to make a card to give to our mothers. We were supposed to draw a picture we thought our mothers would like and write “To Momma” at the top. On the inside it was supposed to say, “Love Sara.” While all the other kids were putting hearts and flowers on theirs, I was drawing a picture of Dad holding a pistol with two bad guys with their hands in the air. The kid sitting next to me pointed at my picture and said, “You aren’t doing it right.”

“What’s wrong with it?”

“Momma’s don’t like guns.”

“Mine does.” I didn’t want to tell him that I didn’t have a mother and I intended to give the card to Dad. He started waving his hand back and forth in the air. The teacher came over and asked what he needed.

“She isn’t doing it right.” He pointed to my paper.

The teacher looked at it. “Maybe it would be better if you drew a different picture.”

“But that’s what Daddy does for his job.”

She gave me another piece of paper and took the time to tell me how to write, “To Daddy” at the top. I drew a picture of Dad and me fishing.

“I told you,” the kid next to me said.

I took a black crayon and drew a gun pointing at one of the flowers on his paper. It made him cry. Looking back, it’s a wonder that I ever made any friends.

The teacher gave him another piece of paper and scolded me for what I did. She made me tell him that I was sorry. That should have been the end of it.

The next day, the kid and two of his friends met me on the playground. The steps going into the school hid us from the playground monitor. It was just me, three boys intent on giving me what they thought I deserved and a few other kids who wanted to see what was going to happen. I didn’t hurt them much, but they all had tears making mud tracks on their faces by the time the bell rang for us to go inside.

I’m not sure if that’s quite what you wanted me to write, but that’s pretty much what my life was like, until I did something about it.

Sara is the protagonist of Searching for Mom and has a supporting role in each of the other books in the series.