Copyright © by Amber Geneva 2014
A Symes-Mobberly House eBook
Consider this a gentle word of caution. If you have closed your mind to learning new truths, even if they go against everything you’ve always believed to be fact, read no further. This book is not for you! This is my story. Though it may ruffle more than a few feathers, I am compelled to tell it. And tell it I must!
I married young, at the ripe age of seventeen, right after graduation. My dad was an apostolic minister, and my husband, Greg, was the youth leader with my dad’s church.
Mom once had aspirations of my attending a good college after school, doing something with my life other than becoming a minister’s wife, like she. Though she didn’t say it, I could see it in her eyes – she wasn’t happy. It wasn’t that she didn’t love my dad. I know she did, at first, anyway, but she felt deprived. She wanted more for me – Much more. Wanted me to be independent, if need be. She wanted me to consider the possibility that I might not want to be stuck as a stay-at-home wife and spend my younger years raising a family.
At the time, I promised her that I would consider college and a career. Only that was before Greg Townsend’s family moved to San Antonio, where we lived, and joined the church. Greg was thirteen then, and I think I fell in love with his gorgeous green eyes, dark auburn hair, and slightly crooked smile the instant I laid eyes on him.
Greg, on the other hand, didn’t seem to really notice me – other than the fact I was the preacher’s daughter – for about four years. Then bam! All of a sudden he laid eyes on me one evening during the youth meeting – already, he was teaching the classes under my father’s tutelage – I don’t know, maybe it was the pretty royal-blue dress Mom had made for me, and maybe not, but as his eyes fell on me when I entered the room a little late, he stopped in midsentence and just stared at me for the longest time, until someone cleared their throat and, embarrassed, he quickly returned to addressing the class. After that, I would catch him watching me when I’d happen to turn his way during church service and youth meetings. I couldn’t help but notice that he was definitely interested. To say I was thrilled would be an understatement. I was on the proverbial ‘cloud nine’.
Mom noticed too. I could see she was worried. Worried that I might follow in her footsteps and lose what she considered an opportunity to have a real life. She wasn’t against my marrying and having a family. She simply wanted me to obtain a college degree of my choosing and have the prospect to have much more.
I told her more than once that I saw no real reason why she couldn’t continue her education. She’d shake her head and say it was out of the question. Dad wouldn’t like it. He felt that a woman’s place was in the home, taking care of family. “But I’m old enough now, Mom,” I would argue. “Dad’s not an invalid. He can make himself a sandwich once in a while. Get a glass of iced tea.” “No,” she would reply, “Out of the question.” And she would dismiss it at that.
Not fully understanding, one evening I caught Dad at the coffee maker, and Mom was at the store buying groceries for a church dinner the next Sunday, I asked Dad if I could talk to him a minute. Something I rarely did. He always seemed so busy. He wasn’t a bad father. He just wasn’t a real good one, never seemed available for my minor problems. Not if they couldn’t be solved in less than ten minutes. If that was the case, then it was Mom’s duty to take care of whatever it was.
“What’s up, Kitten?”
“Oh! Is she ill?” he inquired, brow wrinkled slightly as he took a momentary seat at the kitchen table.
“No. Not ill. I think she … well …”
“What, Kitten?” He glanced at his watch. “I’m not finished preparing for tomorrow’s sermon. I need to get back on it.”
“I think she’d like to go to school.”
His sudden deeply furrowed frown was immediately followed by a look of incredulity. “No,” he said, “you’re wrong. Your mother’s place is here in the home. There’s no job or task more important in a woman’s life than taking care of her family; and that goes double for a preacher’s wife!” He stood, pretty much in dismissal of what I was trying to get across.
“But she’s unhappy!”
Just then, Mom walked in, arms loaded down with groceries. Dad did sit his cup down and ran over and took the sacks for her and placed them on the counter. Mom smiled at me, but her eyes darted back and forth between me and Dad, as she sensed something was going on. “I miss something?”
Dad snorted a laugh. “It’s nothing. Brenda has it in her silly head that you’re unhappy.” He inclined his head back a little. “You’re not unhappy, are you?” His mouth twisted around in kind of funny, inquiring quirk.
That was when I saw something I’d never seen before. Something I didn’t like. Something in my father’s eyes. Why had I never noticed it before?
My father considered himself the master of the house and his word was law! Until that moment – guess I’d been living in ignorant, youthful bliss – I’d believed them pretty much on equal basis. After all, both were my parents. It was kind of a shock to realize that maybe I had perceived it all wrong.
Mom quickly considered me, and I caught a glimpse of something I couldn’t recall ever seeing in her eyes before – fear. If it had been there before, I simply hadn’t been bright enough to recognize it. I am sure I frowned, not fully understanding, but I was beginning to. Why had I never realized any of this until now?
She was a prisoner! A prisoner of her marriage! A prisoner of her husband! A prisoner of what she had been raised to be proper for a woman!
“Oh my God!” It slipped out before I realized what I said.
Dad snapped his head around. “Excuse me? What did you say, young lady?”
I quickly jumped up and muttered, “Nothing. It’s nothing.” I turned to Mom. “I’m sorry.” And I ran off to my room. I think I shook for a good half hour. How could I have been so blind? How could I have not seen it before? Maybe I had just been too young to catch the little innuendos while I was growing up? Perhaps I had been too focused on my own life? My eyes had been opened at last. I was now beginning to understand why my mother was so bent on my attending college. She didn’t want me to suffer the same fate as she.
I definitely began to notice things after that. Promised myself that I would not end up like my mother, and when I had the opportunity I let her know that I now understood, for her not to worry about me. The light that came to her eyes then told me I had made her very happy. I didn’t want to disappoint her.