I have a Swiss cheese memory - it's full of holes. Sizable chunks of my childhood are just gone, never to be retrieved. Also my teen years, and some of my young adulthood. These gaps are partly the normal process of aging - not that I'm old or anything, mind - and partly because of drugs (hush, I'm referring to the years I tried to be a good little doobee and took anti-depressants to make the mundanes in my life more comfortable with my crazy, one such medication making a hash of my memory storage and retrieval)(I'm lookin' at you, Prozac), and partly because of memories that my mind simply didn't (and occasionally still doesn't) want to think about, and so were stashed away in dark corners until they dissolved, or at least softened enough so as not to hurt when handled.
What I do recall, however, is with crystal clarity.
I remember Easter egg hunts at my grandparents (I wasn't always pagan), and going out on Papa's boat - he was my grandfather - and Mum making quiche for some friends who were visiting she made her own crust and good golly, it was tasty). I remember helping her crush pretzels for Margarita pie.
I remember nearly puncturing my eardrum with a Q-tip, and the hours spent in the hospital while doctors assured Mum that I wasn't going to be deaf because of it (although I have scar tissue that makes my hearing the tiniest bit fuzzy on that side). I remember breaking my wrist because I fell off a rainbow, and how charming the doctors thought that was. I remember the brown dress with the bells on the hem that would float up when I spun in circles. I loved that dress. And my patent-leather shoes that shone. Yes, I was once girly.
I remember, too, how Mum struggled to be a single mother with two kids. I remember wondering what this "father" was that other kids had but was absent in my own life. I remember the occasional gift from someone who called himself "dad" and wondering who that was. I remember hanging out down at the docks with him and his cronies from time to time, mostly ignoring them and staring far out to the horizon where sea and sky embraced.
I have not forgotten some of the things that helped fracture my mind, events and people that a child endured and a now (allegedly) adult woman still does battle with on a regular basis.
I also remember Mum struggling to make bills and feed her kids and pay for housing and trying (and sometimes failing) to maintain her sanity.
I remember her sitting up late into the night, alone in the living room, cigarette smoke curling above her head as she stared out into the vast nothing of the wandering mind, lost in trying-not-to-think.
I remember nights when she didn't eat dinner because she wasn't hungry...only I think it's really because there wasn't enough for two growing kids and her.
I remember her calling my teacher to get the recipe for candy cane cookies because we made them in class and I loved them, and all these years later she surfed the web to find 'em again because I waxed nostalgic about them one year.
We're so much alike, Mum and me. Different, but also much of a muchness.
I don't smoke.
I also can't sleep, sometimes, because I worry about how I will meet my obligations. Mine are different than hers were, but they weigh no less heavily.
Sometimes she had to ask her parents for help. They always did, but their assistance came with a heavy toll, one exacted in emotion, manipulation, and judgement...but she did what she had to to make certain Big Brother and I didn't need. Maybe we wanted sometimes, but we didn't need.
Sometimes (heck, most of the time), I have to lean heavily on Mum. I don't want to. I want her to breathe freely and not worry about what I may have to ask for next. She pays my mortgage - technically Casa de Crazy is my home but her house.
I can't work. Not a regular job. This makes paying bills a wee difficult. I try, though. So does Someone, now he's here. Occasionally, we try and fail. Life goes on. We're stung, our pride dented a bit, but we keep on keeping on.
When I have to ask Mum for help, she doesn't exact her pound of flesh - she won't do to me what her parents did to her. Still...I hate doing it. I think, sometimes, she feels a little guilty about how I turned out, and maybe secretly disappointed too. I think she wonders if she'd done things differently, would I be successful like Big Brother, rather than muddling along in a mire of mediocrity as I do.
So when I get a little behind here and there, I try not to say anything. I try to take care of my big-girl responsibilities without a crutch. And often I fail.
She understands my frustration, my Mum...how many times was she saving up for this or that, only to have to use the money to pay a bill, fix her car, put a cast on her daughter's broken arm? How much did she give up for her kids' sake? There was always something...
So I'm thinking about maybe considering giving some thought to pondering possibly applying for disability. I have ethical concerns about it...but if I cannot work (and please believe that I have tried, dear Internet) and I cannot manage to sell my stories or art, then I must do something to keep from having to ask Mum for help on a continual basis.
I hate the idea, frankly, of asking others to carry me...but isn't that what I'm already doing??
What the Hell, Internet? Considering everything she's given to her kids, to me...maybe giving up a little of my pride, bowing my head and admitting defeat, isn't such a big deal, ethics be damned.
Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!
"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One
For old quotes, look here.
For old quotes, look here.