That Soak Into Your Soul
Carrie Scarborough Kinnard
Copyright 2018 by Carrie
Words that soak into your
soul, are whispered�not yelled.
Ever wanted to feel not
Ever hoped to live with
someone who thinks they know more than you ever will?
Ever had the desire to
sense you�re just really not that smart?
Ever wanted to pray so
much you were certain God was beginning to tune you out like a
staticky radio station?
Then, if you�re
single, I suggest you go out and find yourself a man with a teenage
And then you marry him.
"Right this way,
Ladies, right this way! Don't be afraid to step right up! Get
your very own
teenager right here! Get'em while they last! Ladies, the
is about to begin!"
When you marry a man who
already has a teenage girl in his life, you�re looking for a
fight. Whether you realize it or not. Doesn�t
matter how nice you try to be or how fair you try to play.
You�re head down and butt up looking for a fight. For a
fight you aren�t even sure how to fight. A fight you�re
uncomfortable dealing with. A fight you really are too old
for. No matter what your age is.
dad hates the
way you cook.�
�Why do you wear
your hair like that? And why so much makeup?�
telling me I
make you proud. I do what I do for me, not you.�
for him, not me. I don�t need you.�
You tell me you
love me too much.�
And the best part?
All of this has been said more than once in a calm, controlled
manner. As if it just came naturally. By someone
goal in life is the perfect selfie.
I�m not sure if
dealing with a jealous ex-girlfriend wouldn�t be easier.
Make your choice wisely.
I�ve always felt I
was pretty darn good at letting crap and mean stuff people say just
bounce right off of me. But there�s one thing I�ve
into your soul, are whispered�not yelled.�
You can yell and scream at
me all day long and that garbage is gonna bounce right off.
Sticks and stones, darling�sticks and stones. But simply
say the words with a peaceful tone? That is gonna stick like
butter to my biscuit.
And I don�t think
for one minute that you mommas out there don�t already hear
this kind of stuff from your own teen-aged daughters. Go
laugh. I would if I were you. But let me tell
pretty hard to stomach words like this coming from a child you didn�t
carry for nine months or a toddler you didn�t cradle in your
arms at the most god-awful hour of the night because they couldn�t
sleep. Or a pre-schooler you didn�t strap a little pink
helmet on and teach how to ride a bicycle. Or a kindergartner
you haven�t kissed the skinned knee of. Because they were
crying and calling for you:
No, this brand new mom of
a teenager stuff should come in a bottle. A medicine bottle
with a label. With all the side effects listed:
*May cause nausea,
*Inability to breathe at
*Occasional burning eyes
*Excessive eye rolling
*Regular gritting of teeth
Let me start from, what I
know as, her beginning.
In his mid-twenties, my
husband was married to a woman for about ten years. During
marriage, she became addicted to prescription drugs. Which
eventually led to much harder stuff, as well as infidelity.
usually the case is. He became a police officer during that
marriage, and much to his surprise, he�d get to proudly wear
that uniform while bailing his wife out of jail. More than
And taking her to rehab.
More than four times.
And don�t think
you�re going to ask anything I didn�t? �How
did you, as a cop, not know what she was doing right there in your
own house?� �Did you not suspect anything?�
�Oh, my Lord�weren�t you so embarrassed? I
mean, when you wallow with pigs, you gotta know you�re gonna
He�s answered those
questions and many more from me. As I�m sure you can
imagine. And it seems like when unsavory things are happening
right under your nose, you either don�t see it�or you
choose to not see it.
And I guess I can
understand that. I mean, in my first marriage I kinda knew my
husband was not being as faithful as Mother Teresa. Oh, who
I kidding? The neighbors cat I threw rocks at was more
than him. But if I acknowledged it then I�d have a fight
on my hands. And who has time for that? And what if
wrong? But what if I�m right? And where will I
What will I do? What will my family think? Maybe if
just do nothing, it�ll all go away.
Anyway, just as he was
contemplating divorced, she became pregnant.
A brown-eyed, 5 pounds 13
ounces, 17 inches long, curly-haired baby girl.
He was certain this was
the answer to steer his wife straight and turn their marriage
around. To get her on the right path. To take her
attention off the drugs. And for the most part, in the very
beginning, he said he felt that was exactly what was
But when he came home that one evening, and the baby was in the same
clothes she slept in the night before, an unchanged diaper, and her
mother was passed out on the sofa, he knew it was time to go.
That was the last straw. She could hurt him and cause him
but he could not allow her to hurt this baby.
Cayla was 18 months old.
He filed for divorce.
After a year of back and
forth with attorneys and custody disagreements and such, she walked
away. She asked him for $1,500 and the title to his boat,
handed the baby over, then simply walked away. Forever.
So, now he has no boat,
but he does have his baby girl. And all that baby girl has,
Rejected by her mother.
My parents have been
married for over fifty years, so I have no idea what it�s like
to not know one of them. Though I will admit, during my
of age years, I would have sold my soul to have not known my
And not have to hear her ridiculous questions of where was I going
and who would I be with and when would I be back and did I unload the
dishwasher? And what about that pile of clothes on my
And the bathroom�did I clean the bathroom? You know, all
that �caring� stuff mom�s throw out there.
So, that was her
Now, here is my beginning.
My first marriage happened
when I was 23. I had it all together. My humor and
outlook on life was bright. This guy may not have been
what I was dreaming of in a man, but he�s kinda nice to others,
makes a good living, and wants children. And well, he may not
always show it but he does tell me he loves me. So surely
means something, right?
If I had any kind of real
smarts, I would have immediately noticed he treated me nothing like
my daddy treated my momma. Or my granddad treated my
grandmother. Or how Desi treated Lucy. And nothing
all that real love stuff you see in the movies that really isn�t
real love but it�s a movie, so come on.
But I knew best. So,
down the aisle I went.
A few years after getting
all settled into young married life, the days started to feel a bit
hum-drum and the desire to hear little feet running through the house
was growing strong. One year of trying to conceive turned
three years. The word �infertile� was being
mentioned more times than I care to count at doctor visits.
The bottom line? I
can not have children.
Rejected by God.
So, after hearing that,
and then enduring a year or three of his infidelity, I called it
quits. It was all just too much.
So, surely all these yeas
later, my finding Keith who has a daughter with no mother, must be
God�s way of giving me another chance at this motherhood stuff,
right?? And His way of giving Cayla a chance at having a
Really? Now that�s
funnier than a one-legged cat burying a turd on a frozen pond.
For this has been the
hardest job I�ve ever endured. I�m not sure I�ve
ever prayed as much. Or shaken my fist at God so
questioned Him so much. Or doubted Him.
I refuse to believe I
wanted more than most other women in the world, when it came to
children. To simply be a good mother. To have a
that loves her, cries for her, laughs with her, hides from the world
in her. A child she can teach, nurture, instill values and
morals, raise up to love God and others. Why was this plea so
difficult for God to understand?
So, when I met Keith�I
just knew not only was he an answered prayer, but so was
She was like a big, giant bonus. I would have the family I
dreamed of and prayed for�but would I be good enough?
Once Keith and I married,
the first year or so of family life was heaven. We were living in
high cotton. We all three just fit. We
were good together. It felt like it was always meant to be.
I looked forward to
sitting in dark school auditoriums clapping for her choir
I excitedly cheered for her while she ran the bases at her softball
games. I eagerly offered to drop her off with a hug at
Cayla and I were a great
little team. Lots of weekend lunches out while her dad
We did movies, plenty of shopping, pedicuring and manicuring, just
tons of girl stuff. We bought bras. We bought
We bought time together. She was beginning to feel like the
daughter I never birthed. It was like she was always in my
heart, just not in my life. It just took me a little while to
find her. That �something is missing I�m just not
sure what� hole in my life was being filled. It was
And then like that great
pair of heels you just can�t live without? The newness
began to wear off. Blisters were starting to form.
life was beginning to get, well? Hard.
Cayla was a full-fledged,
thriving teenage girl now. Which means doors were being
slammed. Sarcastic comments flowed daily. Her
reeked of feet and dirty hair. And her bathroom?
I wouldn�t bathe a filthy sow in there. Chores constantly
forgotten or purposely left undone. Lots and lots of
eye-rolling and even more loud sighs. From me.
was ever good enough. Not even supper.
I couldn�t figure
out what happened. It�s like one minute life was grand and the
next minute I sucked. No more lunches out, movies started
dwindling away, and my life had become one big fog. It was
beginning to feel as if I had out-stayed my welcome. And here
in the south, we always say, �After a while fish and house
guest start to smell.�
I pleaded for kindness.
No more huffing and puffing. No more tolerating
just wanted to have a peaceful living arrangement. I wanted
to work together. After over an hour commute home from
in a cubicle for 8 hours then standing in line at the grocery store,
the absolute last thing I wanted to come home to was an attitude and
a dirty kitchen to clean before I could even start
Then there was the day I
was informed, �we� don�t use the dishwasher.
It�s a waste of energy. �Dad and I always wash the
dishes by hand.� �We?� Who is this �we�
you speak of? Am I not part of this �we�?
I�ve never met �we� but if �we� washes
the dishes, �we� is my new best friend. Well, it
seemed �we� was nowhere to be found because on most days,
there were always dishes in the sink. I looked and looked for
�we� but never was able to locate �we�.
I was willing to pay �we� top dollar just so I could come
home to an empty sink. But to no avail, I had no such
Cereal bowls, dirty spoons, and glasses with month old rings in them
from being left in her room for so long, lovingly stretched out their
arms to me from that sink most every evening. So, I put my
down and explained that I may be a lot of things, but a maid I am
not. And the dishwasher was then used. Heavily.
It seems my feelings were
always being beat up on. I was beginning to get tired of
feeling not good enough and I didn�t want to �toughen up�
as Keith suggested I do. And Keith, God love him, he tried to
explain to me it�s just the way teenagers are. They can
seem spiteful and mean, but it�s just their way of pushing
through life and he was certain whatever she said, she didn�t
mean it intentionally. I didn�t care though.
There�s no good reason for feelings to ever be hurt and well,
when a person tells you you hurt them, you don�t get to decide
OK, maybe in hindsight, I
�was� becoming a mom. I mean, nothing I did was
good enough or right enough or anything enough. She found
with the way I cooked, the way I cleaned, the way I breathed.
was infringing on her time. Her way of doing
household rules. She was there before me, and figured she�d
be there long after me. It was becoming a struggle as to who
was the �Queen�. And I�ve always told Keith,
�The day she contributes more than a smelly room and a pissy
attitude to this family, then and only then can she make any
But as long as my time, money, and energy was being used up to make
her life royalty�I was the �Queen.� Besides,
I don�t know of any queens who rule a successful land and sleep
till noon in a room with clothes piled knee-high.
I did my best to referee
the two of them when their sparks started to fly. And boy did
their sparks fly. Keith has the patience of Job. Or
like four Job�s. But when he reached his limit, the
sparks would fly. And his meeting place? The
I always knew when he looked at her with that �look� and
pointed to the garage door�they would be having a �Come
to Jesus� meeting. But in the garage, of all
I always felt Jesus deserved better.
I also did my best to keep
the peace and support Keith the best I could. �Please
lower your voice and do not speak to your dad in that tone.�
I also did my best to reward her for doing her chores or keeping her
area of the house in order. �If you clean your room and
get the clothes off the floor, we�ll go get pedicures.�
Because you catch more
flies with honey than vinegar, right?
In other words, I did my
best to be the best mom I could be. Or at least what I
a �best mom� was. If nothing else, just good
enough. However, that was about as appreciated as tits on a
In hindsight, I should
have done what every other good, God-fearing southern woman does with
her family: Scream and curse.
mouth and quit being ugly! Get your ass in your room and get
that dump cleaned up or you�ll regret your next breath!
And if you don�t believe me, you�re gonna have hell to
I mean, it worked with my
mom. We all turned out OK. None of us are in a
chain gang or making license plates, now are we? Looking
my mom probably didn�t scream and curse enough at us kids.
And honestly, if it wasn�t for us kids, my mom probably
wouldn�t have screamed and cursed at all. Come to think
of it, she should thank us for the colorful language we taught her.
(And speaking of my mom.
I will never understand how or why she did it. I�m sure I
gave her much more grief than I ever received. Though not a
week passed I didn�t hear, �Look at me like that again
and I�ll slap you into next week� and �You better
stop that fussing or I�ll give you something to fuss about,
young lady!� I always knew her level of seriousness by
whether or not �young lady� was tacked on to her threat.
And it was tacked on quite a bit.)
Anyway, I�m no
saint. Not even close. For the love of all things
bright red, I�m a natural-born, pure bred redhead. So,
needless to say, there were more than a few times I lost my cool with
my little family and barked and yelled and probably threw a sailor or
two into cardiac arrest over the words coming out of my church going
mouth. But I do remind myself daily that the best sermons are
lived and not preached. I just don�t listen to myself
A daughter. The very
thing I prayed for, for so many years, was the very thing to cause me
such heartache. I can�t count how many times I would talk
to me and tell me �I can�t do this anymore� and
�This isn�t what it�s supposed to be like�
and �Why am I not good enough?�
And listen, if I�m
honest with you, as different as Cayla and I are, we�re very
I eventually realized
neither of us want to be hurt again. Or reminded of just how
don�t have the very thing we feel we should have.
A mom. And me? A daughter.
It would be so much easier
for me if she just wasn�t lovable. If she was ugly-acting
to me. If she was disrespectful. If she was a
heathen. But she�s not. She�s not any of
that. She�s been nothing more than a typical teenage
girl. Doing what they do best: Being a typical
For the most part, she�s
always been pretty awesome. Better than a lot of other kids I
know, for sure. She�s never been a problem at
Her grades continually skyrocket. Her choices are
Her compassion for others is bountiful. Her affection flows
freely. At her core, she is the definition of joy.
I�ve come to see she
doesn�t know how to accept the advantages of having a mother�s
love. And am I even good enough to be the one to fill that
anyway? No matter how painful it is for me who simply wanted
be good enough for her, there is no sin in that.
Now, let me tell you, I
didn�t barge into this family cracking a whip. I never
wanted to be the one to discipline. Or the one to set the
rules. Or the one to even enforce the rules. I�m a
rule breaker anyway. I simply wanted to feel
part of the family. Feel good enough. To be the one
was called upon when that best friend betrayed her. The one
have long talks with about boys. The one turned to when she
didn�t feel well. It was too late for painting toenails
and trimming bangs, but I would be more than fulfilled with the other
stuff. I don�t know how to be a mother any more than she
knows how to have a mother. I just assumed we�d learn
together. I assumed I�d be good enough. And I
assumed over time, it would all come naturally.
But you know what?
It didn�t. And for the most part, it still doesn�t.
There�s not a whole lot of �natural� to be found
when two people are playing roles they�re not quite sure how to
play. And life isn�t a dress rehearsal.
Over the years, there�s
been prom dresses bought. There�s been heels stumbled
in. There�s been lipstick smudged. I�ve gone
up against her daddy on her behalf to let her stay out past
Let her go to that party. Let her push the
Hoping this would make her like me, or heaven forbid, maybe even love
me. Or just be good enough.
Sometimes it worked, most
of the time it didn�t. Each day was a new day and I never
knew what to expect.
However, amongst all those
negative comments and harsh words I�ve had hurled at me, I�ve
had my hand held each Sunday in church for over 4 years.
I even received flowers for Mother�s Day. I�ve been
given an abundance of cards for birthdays. Christmas has
brought small plaques of love that read, �I love you to God and
back.� And when she didn�t know I was around, I
overheard the words, �She has more faith than anyone I know and
it�s because of her I�ve started doing a daily devotional
and reading my bible.�
Once she left for college,
I hoped we�d miss each other and somehow over the miles, grow
closer. Even if only by phone. Distance usually
family good. And well, muddy water is best cleared
leaving it alone, right? And I suppose in some ways, we have
grown a bit closer. There was that time I was invited to join
her for a �Moms Weekend� with her sorority. I�m
pretty sure she simply didn�t want to be the only daughter
there without a mom and have to explain. So, I was basically
the understudy. But that�s ok and it�s more than
enough for me. It was a great honor. However, it
very first time I heard the words, �This is my mom� when
introductions were made. I tried not to get sappy.
didn�t work. I sobbed alone in the restroom.
And then many months
later, there was that text. That text that came out of the
one quiet morning. Expected never in this lifetime.
from her to me, anyway. The one that made me question my
even harder. And it came the very day after I pitched a
hissy fit because I was feeling like a nobody who mattered to no one
in this family. Nobody cares about my opinion.
wants my advice. Nobody cares. Woe is me,
knickers were in a knot if they�ve ever been knotted.
This text that I
received? It thanked me for loving her father so
For being such a good wife to him. And to know I do not go
unnoticed and the gratefulness she has for such a role model as
And that she loves me.
And it is times like these
I am quite sure I am nothing more than three gallons of crazy in a
two- gallon bucket.
And it is also times like
these I know God must�ve been bored and figured He�d do
some good old fashioned knee slappin� at my expense.
Watching her flourish away
at college has brought me some proud moments. Sure, she�s
made the president�s list. Sure she�s held a job.
Sure she�s active in her church college group. But
whatever. It�s the way she keeps her room spotless.
Like she saw me do when she was at home. How she makes her
each morning. Like she saw me do when she was at
Seeing her car sparkling clean when she�s in for a visit.
Like she saw mine was when she was at home. That perfect
of lip gloss. Like mine. That flawless face of
Oh, and the heels�the cute and sassy heels she has. You
Growing up with a teenager
I didn�t raise from birth, is quite possibly the toughest path
I�ve ever walked. And I do believe I�m the one who
is doing the �growing up� here. I�m having to
learn to take what comes and either soak it in or let it bounce
And there�s never any hints or clues as to which is best at the
time. I will say for me, it�s not been all that
Half the time I don�t know if I should scratch my butt or wind
my watch, for heaven�s sake.
I do see though, every
path in life will always have a few puddles. Some puddles
deeper than others. But they will all be passable.
too deep to wade through. None to wide to go
there will be puddles. Those puddles will be the very thing
that makes you yearn for the fresh, dry land. And keep in
some of those puddles will ruin that great pair of heels,
So you have to determine which puddles to walk through and which
puddles to walk around.
So, for any of you who
want to be a momma but maybe can�t be a momma or aren�t
sure how to be a momma and are unsure you can even be a good enough
momma? Do it. Even if you don�t carry them for nine
months�do it. I�m not gonna lie though. It�s
hard. It�s a giant pain in the you-know-what-times-twenty
when you�re awake. It�s a never ending feeling of
not being good enough. But you know what? You
You are good enough. If no one else ever tells you, I
You are good enough. You�re actually better than good
Why? Because �Good
enough� is there because she wants to be. Not because she
has to be. �Good enough� doesn�t walk away.
When it�s the easier thing to do. �Good enough�
stands firm and pushes through. Even when curling up in a
corner seems like the better option. �Good enough�
sacrifices. Time, energy, money, tears, you name it, it�s
sacrificed. �Good enough� struggles. With
unanswered prayers, sanity, dirty dishes, feeling left out, and I
could go on and on. �Good enough� sits in the
shadows. While everyone else gets the credit and the
�Good enough� cries. A lot. And then a little
more. �Good enough� prays. Because for the
most part, that�s where any and every answer, if there is one,
can be found. �Good enough� is simply more than
taking-on-a-teenager-you-didn�t-birth can pull up past
resentments. It can cause lots of anger. It can
tremendous amount of heartache. It can make you feel less
bottom of the barrel.
But then, there are a lot
of things it teaches you. It teaches you how to be
How to be kind, and not envious. It shows you how you should
never boast or be proud. It shows you how to protect your
heart, trust in God, never give up hope, and to continuously forge
I do believe though I�ve
finally come to realize, my finding Keith who has a daughter with no
mother was God�s way of teaching me I am actually good
Even if I�m the only one who thinks so, at times. And I
also believe this is God�s way of keeping me close to Him.
And leaning on Him. And depending on Him. And
And His way of making me
see that my joy must be rooted in simplicity.
Simple words. Simple
expressions. Simple thoughts. Simple actions.
is my mom.�
Thank you for
loving my dad.�
She has more faith
than anyone I know.�
do not go
I love you.�
Because �Words that
soak into your soul, are whispered�not yelled.�
And that, my sweet
friend�is absolutely good enough.
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
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