Country Boys [site home page]
HOMEWATCH ONLINECHRIS'S STORYCODY'S STORYDISCUSSION

my mother

At my house, there is constant arguing. I decided to make a goal: I could quit smoking. My mother tried it for two days, she quit. But she went back to smoking because of the arguing. And basically I went back for the same reason, because you have to keep calm, keep yourself focused. I can't do that when you're getting yelled at constantly. You're on edge. You're constantly nervous.

I've always been this type of person; I have to protect someone. If I don't, I don't feel right. My mother, she works hard everyday, just so we can have somethin'. I wanna give that back. …

My mother should be moving [out] before long. She's had it in her head for a while. And I told her I agree with it. "If that's what you need, go for it." So I'm gonna help her with that. And if there's any other way I can help her, I will.

I mean, I'm a little saddened by it. But, who wouldn't be? I'm her son for crying out loud. I worry about her. Boy, that sounds corny. Sounds like me being the parent and her being the child movin' out for the first time. Now it's just vice versa.

Chris and his mother, Sheila Johnson

This isn't the first time she's moved out. The last time my mother moved out of the house and basically out of town was about two or three years ago. She decided to move to Cliffside. She lived there for about six months. I'd visit her from time to time. But, that was the longest I'd ever actually seen her move out. But I think this one may be on more of a permanent basis.

My mother's moving out has affected us all in some way or another. Memaw's [Chris' grandmother], she's become a lot more forward, if you'd call it that. She'll tell you what she doesn't like, what she likes. She makes out like it doesn't hurt her at all. But, it does. I know it.

Amy [Chris' sister] has her own way of dealing with basically the loss of her mother. She pretends it's like "mom's at work." I figure that's probably how Daniel [Chris' brother] does it, too. Amy, she basically acts like normal. She's almost normal when it comes to her emotions, but I know it hurts.

I remember when Mom moved to Cliffside. I couldn't go with her, because my check would cause the rent to raise, and Mom couldn't afford it, so I had to stay in Garrett.

I remember the emotions I went through. Sadness, in some cases anger, depression, you name it. You see, it wasn't just my mother going. It was the three people I was closest to. My brother, my sister and my mother. If there had been a way I coulda went, I would've. But, I couldn't. About the only thing I could do was visit for maybe an hour. Sometimes I could stay overnight, when I wasn't in school. That was it. That lasted for six to eight months. That was the longest she'd ever moved out.

I'm not angry at my mother at all. I mean, this is something that she had to do. She doesn't love us any less. It's just her and Randall can't get along together. They can't be a married couple. The six months she was gone, her and Randall got along great. I mean, they could talk to each other. They could actually show affection for one another.

Chris and his mom at a meeting with School Principal Mitzi Crisp

I guess, basically, when they're together, they're mortal enemies. That's just how it is. You watch any of these so-called soap operas, you'll see that. It's just a separation. I ain't gonna call it the end of the world. I mean, my mother's done nothing wrong. My father hasn't. It's just they don't want to live together. So, pfft, I see that.

I used to be very close to my mother... But I guess when she left, I let go. And when I let go, I let it all go. I realized that if I would've tried to keep this close bond with my mother when she was gone, then when she was here it would hurt me more inside, because I'm losing this big element in my life, which is my mother. So, I decided instead of making her the strongest bond, I weakened it, so that I wouldn't hurt as bad.

We have our mother-son quarrels at times. It could be over some of the dumbest of things, but we know that we love each other. That's all that matters.

The biggest subject we've argued about so far is school and the license. Once we stopped arguing about the license, it went to schooling: if I start doing bad in class, if I'm not doing what I'm supposed to do.

She wants to see great things about me. So she tries to get a lot out of me. She pushes me. You know how they push people to their limit? She tries to see if she can push me past that limit, so that way I succeed. If I fail at one thing, I'll succeed at another. She tries to keep herself optimistic about me.

home | introduction | watch online | chris's story | cody's story | special video | map
discussion guide | join the discussion | readings | dvds + tapes | press | credits | privacy policy
FRONTLINE home | itvs | wgbh | pbs

posted jan. 9, 2006

FRONTLINE is a registered trademark of wgbh educational foundation.
web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation

SUPPORT PROVIDED BY

FRONTLINE on

ShopPBS