*I’ve got some more back story to cover. Please bear with me.*
After looking at my mom with a newfound objectivity, I revisited all of the stories about times past that I had heard from her, my aunts, my older cousins, and even my older sister. Eight children, along with some other younger relatives thrown into the mix, growing up poor. Crazy tales about my grandmother (who might have been bipolar) but no mention at all of my grandfather. That had never bothered me until then. I mean, just who was my grandfather anyway? What was his name? (Oh, God! How could I not know that?!) When and how did he die? Ummm . . .was he the only grandpa? Seriously, why is no one talking about him? Or them? Wait! Was my grandmother really bipolar? Does that run in families?!
Then I took another look at all the instances I’d heard about physical fights occurred between my mother and my aunts and uncles. Of all the extreme disciplinary actions by my grandmother. Weapons were mentioned quite a few times. That’s abuse! I’m calling it!
This is the picture that I’m painting here: a woman (my grandma), struggling to raise 8 of her own children plus a few others, and no man worth mentioning during the 50s, 60s, and 70s. It’s already hard enough to house, clothe, and feed that many children when there are two capable adults in a household. From all that I’ve gathered from these stories I had overheard, Grandma practically did it alone. There’s no way in hell that one person could supply any sort of emotional support or guidance to that many young people while worrying about how everyone was even going to eat.
And I’d have to assume that my mother, the eldest daughter, would often be responsible for the younger kids. I’d be willing to bet that the conditions that she grew up in go back further than my, her, and my grandmother’s time. Generations lost to the grinding procession of the ages. What I’m saying here is that my mom wasn’t able to give me what she never got from her mother (or her mother, or her mother . . .). That isn’t her fault and there is no way that I could ever rightly blame her for it. Besides, I’m an adult now and it truly is unbecoming to blame others for my current struggles.
But there is one thing, one overarching thing, that I can hold her accountable for. And that’s . . .