The villain of my childhood for “Not”
The villain of my childhood for “Not”
Not making me go to school
Not making me do homework
Not attending school performances
Not taking me shopping for clothes past age 15
Not keeping her ear off the phone or nose out of a book long enough to see what was going on with her children
Not making her not-working-not-going-to-school-not-helping-at-home asshole son (my brother) move out before he was 26
Not asking where I was when I would be gone overnight or for days
Not being worried when at 8 I spent the night at a new friend’s home (who had no phone and Mom didn't know where the friend lived) and didn't come back for 3 days.
Not making my ER visits for migraines a priority and making me go by myself
Not helping me before helping strangers
Not making me bathe
Not making me brush my teeth
Not raising me herself but leaving it, by default to my sister
Not leaving the abusive man she was married to, my father
Not keeping the house clean which embarrassed me when friends came over
Not protecting me from my verbally abusive brother
Not telling me no, when I started working at a job that I was suppose to be 21 and I was 15
Not protecting me from the abusive boyfriend after she knew
Not protecting me from dating grown men when I was a teenager
Not asking about report cards
Not giving me a curfew
Not making me, as her child, feel like I was more important than her causes
Not parenting me
Not protecting me from...
I no longer see my mother through just a child’s eyes, I have come to understand my mother with adult eyes and while all the above is true, I also now have come to know
My mother, my Hero "Who"...
Who suffered from depression
Who suffered from the hidden shame of being illegitimate
Who suffered in an abusive marriage
Who didn't have the resources in 1950-60’s to get out
Who raised her children alone after her husband left in 1965
Who had no car so all work, school, grocery store, doctor and library travels had to be done by bus or the mercy of people with cars.
Who always kept us out of the Social Service system
Who always kept us sheltered, fed and clothed one way or another
Who pulled strings to get us in subsidized housing without the long wait
Who was raised in privilege but ended up raising her children in poverty, and none of her children live in poverty now.
Who never, for almost 10 years never stopped looking for the father of her children to get the child support due to them
Who taught us by example that all humans are equal
Who taught us among those equal humans, some are assholes and there is nothing you can do about it
Who taught us to fight, not just support ….but FIGHT, for the equality of all
Who never made us wear dirty clothes like some of the other kids did
Who made sure we always had new shoes, not second hand
Who made sure we had a warm coats
Who taught us that words can make a change
Who taught us that reading is wonderful and
Who made sure we always had reading material including comic books if the money allowed.
Who swore like a sailor but was still a lady
Who had a wickedly funny sense of humor
Who put her pride on the line and lost friends asking for favors that kept us sheltered, fed and clothed
Who gave us a love of all types of music (except country)
Who showed me how to fight for ...
...what is right
My mother, the parent of my childhood who did her best, though it wasn't always enough. I no longer see myself a victim of my childhood needing protection, I only see my unique childhood that was the cornerstone of ...me
This post brought up a conversation with a friend who has a similar mother who continues in neglectful patterns. We shared a conversation via email that she found helpful, I am sharing my words of that conversation in case it would be helpful to you.
"I struggled in my relationship with my mother right through to her death. I believe in my heart that if she had the access to birth control we have, she would never have been a mother. The most painful and aha moment for me was how she basically ignored my daughter (her only grandchild). It was so painful to me that I really didn't speak to her. Then one day I realized that she had never been maternal to her own five kids why did I expect her to suddenly become a loving maternal person because I gave birth??
This realization freed my heart. It wasn't about me or my siblings, it was just who she was, as a person. She did her best to parent and while I still at times wish it was more, clearly it was enough. My siblings and I are fine, my daughter is wonderful, our childhood of poverty, abuse and neglect ended once we became adults.
I am finally able to appreciate my mom on equal adult footing without judgement. Wistfulness yes, but not judgement and the pain that brought me.
Full Disclosure: I am however still shocked at times with a "What the HELL was she THINKING!" when a new memory pops up. But overall, I am at peace with her. It took a long time, long, long to get through the shame to be honest with my head high, not downcast.
Well that is the rest of THAT story, I hope it helps. xoxo"