When I went to bed, I wondered if the power would be on when I woke up in the morning? Maybe my mom will be here when I wake up. It would be so nice to have her help me pick out my clothes and to have someone to talk to. I was always positive even when I was left to fend for myself for several days. Hoping to see someone soon. I was four years old.
When I would wake up in the morning, I was always wondering if anyone was home. Is there any food? Is it still possible to catch the bus? I got myself ready for school everyday. Even if she was home, I knew I could never wake her up. I made it to school maybe half the time because if I missed the bus, I was home. No one was waking me, getting me ready, feeding me breakfast and taking me to school. And I think that’s why I have an extremely difficult time asking for help and accepting help even now with my illness.
I was sent to bed, she would go out for the night. I would be woken up in the middle of the night by a phone call from her. I could hear the loud noise of a bar in the background, as she told me she would be home tomorrow night. She told me not to worry when a man’s voice got on the phone and said “I’ve got this under control.” and the phone went dead. I look back and wonder why she even bothered to call and check at all?
One particular morning I woke up to find my mother passed out in the living room floor, and the front door was wide open. It literally looked like someone had thrown her inside and left. She was unresponsive and I honestly could not tell if she was breathing. She had thrown up and almost drowned in her own vomit. She had a bottle of clear liquor in one hand, and a bottle of dark liquor in the other. I pushed the chair up to the telephone and called 911. I was too small to reach the phone on the wall. I told them my mom won’t wake up and she is not breathing.
My grandparents lived next door. And though I didn’t understand why at the time, I see now exactly why they kept their distance. The parents of a substance abuser and in their 70’s, just do not have the capacity to deal with the eccentricities. So, when I had to call 911 because I thought my mother was dead, they wouldn’t answer the door. I knew they were home and I just wanted someone to hold me as the cherries arrived. But they ignored my cries that mom wouldn’t wake up and beating on the door, in order to avoid the mess that was their youngest daughter.
After I realized they really weren’t coming to the door, I went back home. The paramedics were giving her smelling salts and asking her questions to decipher whether she was coherent. They asked her to tell them what day it was and asked her who the president was. She answered correctly and they sat her up on the floor. She told them she was fine and they left. Yes. They left. The paramedics left a four-year-old child with a fall down drunk. (Remember, this was 1984 and waaaaay out in the country.) This only validated the events of my life even further, believing this was all normal. I knew no different other than seeing my friends lives and homes. I was so jealous of my best friend because she had parents who were there, and she had everything a kid could ask for. They took me in for a while and gave me a real family Christmas. They treated me like their own. So on some level I knew that other people had it better, but never thought I was worthy enough to have those things.
Being that I was left at home to fend for myself in a trailer out in the woods like Mc Dreamy…. I had grandparents next door and my aunt across the street but they never checked or came by. That is when I taught myself how to cook. The macaroni and cheese box has pictures in the directions. So I read the words I knew. And I used the pictures of the boiling pot of water, the measuring cup filled to 2/3 cup of milk, and the four pats of butter. I climbed onto the counter and made Mac and cheese by myself. Without the other ingredients because they weren’t in the fridge. I ate noodles and cheese packet for a couple of days before I saw anyone again. My survival instincts had definitely kicked in because I was hungry and lonely. I used to fall asleep on the floor in front of the TV all night. My favorite shows were Bob Ross and Lidia Bastianich. I used to pretend she was my aunt or grandma and watched her cook. I knew what time she came on and I would get all snuggled up on the floor.
This is just a small glimpse into my childhood and with this glimpse you can probably understand why my mother and I do not have a relationship. She told me that a drunk is who she is and if I don’t like I can… you can fill in those blanks. I tried to help her get jobs and stay afloat. But when I was pregnant with my second child, she was fired for simply not going to work. I got her that job and burned a lot of my bridges, as they were keeping her as an employee solely because of our business relationship. So when they told me how she was not showing up, they wanted to be sure I couldn’t help her get to work on time. But I couldn’t take on that responsibility because I was on bed rest for a blood clot in my leg. And that was exactly when a friend handed me the book Co-dependency No More. I realized she wasn’t my responsibility, and I was only hindering her by trying to help her.
When I told her I couldn’t give her any more money because I was not working due to bed rest, she went crazy. I had what I had, and I knew I was not going back to work until after the baby was born. I needed to save what money I had.
So, she went up to my bank with a copy of my birth certificate, and said her purse was stolen. She needed to close the account. Thank goodness they called me to make sure it was me. I said it wasn’t me and I explained her alcoholism to the woman who said she thought she smelled alcohol on her. She said it’s a felony to impersonate someone and asked if I wanted to press charges. I said no. And she wanted to call the police anyway, understandably. So I waited to hear back and basically the police took her home. The bank put a lock on my account for 30 days until I could prove I was me. I closed the account so she couldn’t do it again. After that, she broke into our house by breaking the garage door handle. My neighbor saw the entire thing, and called me. I told her I would deal with it but I just let her go through my house and take whatever she wanted, because she must think she needs it more than I do. Just so sad to break into your child’s home. But a person with an addictive personality doesn’t have any ethics or boundaries. Any.
Even now, I am wondering if she will come back and try to steal something else. She has stolen my identity and my husbands identity. She even opened a Lowe’s card in his name because my brother worked there. Shady on both their parts. But I truly believe in karma so they will get theirs 10 fold.
I feel that I will always be running from her. She is still using my birth certificate for anything she can. I check every 6 months and have it taken off my credit, but it’s a huge hassle. Why does she do this to me? Because I stopped picking up her pieces and floating her financially.
I have so many stories about the way my mother treated me, but I think you get the drift. I needed her poison out of my life.
Now, I am a fighter. This was just the start of all the hardships that would come later in life. Growing up by myself made me strong. Very strong. So please do not feel sorry for me because if I hadn’t had such a rough life, I wouldn’t be strong enough to fight for my life right now. I just wanted to tell my story to show everyone that you can get past all hurdles.
When they go low, we go high. -Michelle Obama
Thank you for reading and supporting my fight!