Tracy McMillan’s I Love You and I’m Leaving You Anyway

A fan of the memoir, I discovered this latest read, I Love You and I’m Leaving You Anyway, while perusing the shelves at Horizontal Books in Cleveland, Ohio.  Tracy McMillan writes with honesty as she details her childhood dysfunction and its lasting effects which reach into her adulthood especially in her relations with men.

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What drew me in as a reader were her thought processes from the perspective of her childhood self as well as her adult self intermingled with one another within a single chapter.  The weight of what McMillan had to endure as a little girl resulted in my taking numerous breathers from the reading.  Born to a father who was a pimp/drug dealer and a mother who worked as a prostitute, McMillan finally found some normalcy at the hands of Gene and June Ericson, her foster parents, for four and a half years.  Then, she was uprooted from this home only to live with her father and his girlfriend until his return to prison.  Her parenting then fell into the hands of her father’s girlfriend turned wife, Yvonne.

As an adult and reflecting on her current relationship with her stepmother which is pretty much nonexistent, McMillan writes:

I feel a twinge of sadness, not because I wish that we were going to be a part of each other’s lives- I don’t see a life of merry Christmases and summer vacations with Yvonne- but there’s a part of me that loves a happy ending, and as endings go, this one isn’t happy.  It’s just okay. . . . on second thought, an okay ending will do just fine.  (312)

This is just one of many sympathetic introspections the author engages in throughout the memoir resulting in a resolution of profound thought.

Furthermore, in dealing with her son who questions McMillan as to why she divorced her third husband, McMillan takes full ownership of her role as parent, “I know my choices have affected you, honey.  I’m so, so sorry. . . .We can make it count for something”  (333), and responsibility to stop the cycles of dysfunction.

If reading I Love You and I’m Leaving You Anyway for book club, perhaps a trip to Paris (where McMillan and her son commenced a fresh start) for discussion will fit into everyone’s schedule.  If not in the budget, then perhaps coffee to mirror how McMillan not only starts her day, but how this beverage makes an appearance during many of McMillan’s life-changing events.

 

Five Minute Friday: Fill

Fill.  When I think of fill, I think of how many little hearts I would like to fill with love.  Coming from a less than ideal childhood where I felt as if I was on the back burner most of the time, where my parents didn’t seem to consider the consequences of their actions in regards to their children, where two siblings lived in separate households an hour and a half drive from each other during their formative years, where my mother’s immediate exit from my father resulted in a marriage to another man became the new norm for an eight-year-old.

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Now having an eight-year-old of my own, I see this as God giving me the opportunity to fill this little girl’s heart with as much love as possible, and this is what I strive to do day after day.  The Hub and I tried desperately to have this little girl for close to four years. . .  and I mean desperately.  Thus, she is a gift from God we do not take for granted, but cherish.  She is wanted, and we shower her with our love on a daily basis.

Hearing or reading about a child’s heart who is not being filled or has not been filled is difficult.  For, I truly believe, every child is an opportunity for a heart to be filled.

Write for five minutes, and share your idea of FILL  here.