teresafloyd: (Default)
I'm not as borked as this would make me seem to be. (Originally this was a reply to a comment in my journal.)

My mother tried to abort my older brother but didn't quite succeed. He was mercifully still-born. She seems to have tried again a few years later with me (according to conversations overheard by my older cousins.

When I was almost two, my mother (pregnant with my brother who was born three months later on my birthday) stayed in the truck with me while my Nana went to cut the Christmas tree. Nana had a fatal stroke. Mom carried her out of the woods and took her to the hospital, but she had died by then.

Nana died on 21 Dec without a will, so my mother's 8 brothers and sisters and their spouses descended on the house to evict us by 23 Dec. We had been living there because my parents couldn't afford anywhere else. Mom had to buy them off, but signed an agreement that she would never sell the house without offering it to them first. They also took most of the furnishings. We don't know if that agreement still stands so that house is now empty and decaying cause my brother and I hate it.

Then Mom had a "nervous breakdown." I don't know exactly what happened but she did end up hospitalized involuntarily for a while and I lived with my aunt and her alcoholic husband.

After that, from what I hear, she was very changed. My older cousins say she was a lot of fun and nice to be around. That she was the aunt who played with them, taught them to swim, took them fishing, and so on.

My brother and I knew a sad, hard woman prone to terrifying fits of extreme rage for no apparent reason. By the age of 10 or so, I was completely responsible for cooking dinner, washing all dishes, doing most of the laundry in the wringer washer (which had to be finished and hung out before 9 am), and doing all the dusting and vacuuming.

One memory I have is of playing a game with my brother (Monopoly or something), and she called me to help hang wallpaper. When I got to the room she was in, she slapped me across the face hard enough that I hit my head on the wall and went down. The next day, when she was calmer, I asked he why she hit me. She told me that she didn't, and that I must have imagined it.

I was a little saint during my teen years, all the while plotting my escape. My brother used to say, "What Mom doesn't know about won't kill me." He wasn't really joking because of her rages and the presence of guns in the house.

I was living on my own by the age of 18, although my parents owed me money by then. They'd borrowed $1k from me (from my get away fund earned through babysitting) to buy a car. They paid me back as a wedding gift when I was 23.

To the end of her life, she believed that she had never hit or abused either of us. Once, when a priest had told her something that I wished he hadn't, she asked me if I thought she'd been abusive, and I replied that I mostly remembered being afraid. My brother and I each felt certain that the other was the favourite, and that she hated and despised us.

When the surgeon came to tell me that her brain had ceased to function, and asked for permission to remove her from life support, I cheerily gave my consent.
teresafloyd: (anchor)
Originally a reply to Elf M. Sternberg. writing about poverty.

I was raised by poor parents, and poverty extended into adulthood for me. If I wanted to spend time with a parent, I had to help them with the work they were doing simply because there was no other time in their days.

I don't remember more than a dozen times that my brother and I played a board game with an adult. My father never played anything with us - he would come home from work, eat, sleep, and get up and do it again. My mother was a stay at home parent, but filled her days with growing, gathering, and preserving food; making and repairing clothes; housework; and a half hour per day of watching one soap opera.

On the bright side, Mom did talk to us as she worked, and my parents did provide us with good, open-ended toys, and lots of books. When we were very little, Mom would stop to read to us, but by the age of 5 I took over reading to my brother.

Today, what I see of poverty is even worse. Now, unless they live only on income assistance, all available parents are working full time - possibly at more than one job. Many need to spend a lot of time traveling to their work extending their days even more.

They simply don't have the kind of time and energy that it takes to actively play with and educate a child and they know it! I know that their children are lacking stimulation, but I think that the parents need to have levels of stress reduced before they'll have anything else to give.

Besides, being a poor adult really does suck.
teresafloyd: (anchor)
(I posted this as a comment in Hillbillie's journal, but really it belongs here in mine.)
That's what my best friend told me to explain my mother.
I have many gifts from her:
All that weeding and picking taught me to garden, now that I don't need to ask for her permission for every move.
Making dinner every night from the age of eleven taught me about cooking everyday things with flair-now that I'm allowed to use ingredients I like.
Being responsible for cleaning the house from the age of 12 gave me the tools I need for my current job, not to mention the cleaning that is part of life.
Raising my brother equipped me to raise my sons.
Being hit taught me to hide things and live in fear, and that nobody really loves bullies.
Wanting love I never got taught me that I don't want to be a bully.
At the end of her life, my friends taught me that it's okay to feel a weird kind of joy when you get to give the order to disconnect life support.

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teresafloyd

August 2016

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