When Do You Let Go?
My whole life, for as long as I can remember (and, unfortunately, I remember everything), I have always been inside my head. I’ve always wondered why I was blessed or cursed, depending on the day, with this gift. It’s definitely a plus when it comes to writing, except on the days when my words ramble on like an unending crazy train.
Lately, I have been struggling a lot with my relationship with my mother. My mom was sixteen when she married my dad. I arrived two weeks later. My brother followed when she was eighteen, and by twenty-four they were Splitsville. Mom pretty much raised us on our own. She had help from aunts here and there, and my grandma was always around — at least until we moved to Texas for Husband Number Two when I was in sixth grade. However, from third grade to the summer before sixth there was a host of suitors. Then we moved to a new town with a new school.
Not much of a solid foundation, but, hey, I get it. She was in her early twenties — that’s hard enough without two kids in tow. She did her best to provide us with our basic necessities, and I commend her for that. She worked all the time, so some of the other stuff got lost along the way. For example, I remember one of my first track meets my junior year. I called to see if she was coming, and she told me she wasn’t because her and Husband Number Three just wanted to hang out on the couch. I think I quit not long after that. There was also the time when I was younger and I was playing softball. She didn’t want to come because she said she grew up in a softball park and it was the last place she wanted to be.
They may seem like small things, but they hold a lot of weight. They are things that I look at as a mom now and wonder how my brother and I didn’t end up more screwed up than we are. Things that I will try my hardest not to repeat.
Not that I am trying to put the whole blame on my mom — my dad had no excuse for not being there for us. Well, he did. He was too busy partying. But him being missing from the picture took its toll, too. It’s true what they say about girls needing a Dad around. Looking back, I can see that I craved that attention.
Of course, my female role model was spending a lot of her time trying to find a man, so I thought that was how it should be. I thought that you needed a man to be complete. Now she will say she doesn’t, or didn’t, but she never went any length of time single. Never spent any time trying to find out who she was. She is still that way. Which is why I find myself thinking about our relationship, her role in my life and in my children’s lives.
She is currently married to Husband Number Four, and has been for the last ten years. But he is the worst one of the lot. I like to think of myself as a pretty tolerant person. I have been around a lot of different people, and in all my adventures I never have been around someone that I actually hated with every fiber of my being like I hate this man. Most people that meet him can’t stand him because he’s a know-it-all who tells you how smart he is, and then basically belittles every person he meets. Terrible, terrible combination.
The shitty thing is I also work for my Mom, and so does he, so it’s not possible to avoid the situation. A couple of years ago things got heated, and she said she was going to leave him. She just had to wait for the right time because of the ties with the company and their finances. She also told my husband that she feared for my life because her husband hated me so much that he would blame me if she left. That was over a year ago. Now they are adopting a one-year-old together.
I struggle with this not because I am jealous of a baby. But, because to me, she is still putting the men in her life over her kids. I realize that as a grown ass thirty-something-year-old woman that sounds ludicrous, but all those hurts from my childhood are still there. This just feels like salt being poured in wounds that never really closed completely. I have made some very, very bad decisions throughout my life and I can’t blame them all on her. Kids will be kids, but I learned things the hard way without much guidance. I mean, being home after school by yourself from fourth grade on, you do dumb shit. Especially in junior high and high school. I don’t want that for my children.
I am not saying that it’s all been awful — a lot of people have it worse off and suffer far more abuse. But it’s still hard. She has been there in some pretty tricky times, but it seems there is always a price. Toxic people are toxic people. When you are trying your damnedest to better yourself for your own family, how do you get rid of the toxicity when it’s your mother? Not only your mother, but your boss?
I have no idea, but I am working on it one step at a time. The truth is, I need my day job and will struggle to think positively everyday that there is a bright side. I am trying to get out of the job I hate and freelance full-time, so one of the good things about working for her is a certain level of freedom. I am a manager so I can work from home when needed, or I can leave when needed, but it’s not a situation I want to stay in. It’s like I am always walking a tightrope, never knowing when the line might get cut and I will go tumbling down.