Fly Away Home
A memoir about the ups and downs in life and the back and forth travels of a multicultural family.

JErSEY MAMMA

This is a preview to the chapter JErSEY MAMMA from the book Fly Away Home by Maggie Myklebust.
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Sixteen months later I was back in the delivery room, and on 11 January 1979, Michael was born. He came into the world on a Thursday afternoon at 2.55 pm, weighing six pounds, fourteen ounces, and was 19 inches long. Tony finally had the boy he always wanted and I felt like I’d something right for a change. Except for a little less pushing, the birth was pretty much an encore of the first. The pregnancy was a different story, with Michele I felt happy and healthy, this time I was plagued by nine months of nausea. In the end it was worth it, Michael was a sweet baby with light blond hair and blue eyes like me, whereas Michele had darker, golden locks and brown eyes like her father. From the outside we looked like the perfect family, but on the inside it was a different story.

Before Michele turned one and my suspicions of being pregnant with Michael were confirmed, Tony’s mother was hospitalized. She was diabetic, and after Tony and I moved out she stopped making dinner for herself and ate mostly junk food.

It was easier to grab a handful of cookies than cook dinner for one. We held a family meeting, decided to take turns having her for dinner, and to keep a better eye on her. One night we visited her in the hospital and she seemed to be doing much better, there was even talk of her going home in a few days. Later that night, as we were getting ready for bed, the hospital called with bad news, Tony’s mother had had a heart attack and passed away. Tony was twenty and with both of his parents gone, he was devastated.

“I hope you know, this is all your fault, it’s you who killed my mother. This would have never happened if we were still living with her, but oh no, that wasn’t good enough for you! Instead we’re living in this little shit hole and my mother is dead!” he cried.

The contempt I saw in his eyes made me cringe and I wasn’t sure if it was grief, anger, or hatred talking. I only knew he was right. I had plotted to move out, but I never wanted his mother to die.
A few weeks later my guilt was pushed aside as nausea took over my life. I managed to keep working until I was seven months pregnant, then, with my uniform bursting at the seams, Burger King decided to add hotdogs to their menu and the smell was more than I could take. I quit and became a full time housewife. Tony was also having trouble at work; he had quit his job at the gas station and taken a position as a mechanic in new car dealership, which he hated. He was still selling cars privately, which proved more lucrative than his real job.

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