She Get It From Her Mama

If you’re still here, I appreciate it, truly. 😍

If you’re new here, hey there. 🤓

I was terrified of making people mad until about 4 months ago…stick with me…or don’t, it’s your life 💁

“And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.”  Amen”

“The Mother’s Prayer for Its Daughter, by Tina Fey”

If you need or care to know why my mom was a single mom, rewind to my first entry, or don’t, I mean it really doesn’t bother me either way.

There she was a 26 year old single mom to 4 & 2 year old daughters, in a teeny tiny single wide, with only a mattress and some rice. I was 4.

She was a hippie at heart, born in ’62 and wrapped in the “loving?” arms of a long line of Southern Baptist ladies for as long as she could stand it.

“Don’t pierce the girls ears, if God wanted holes in their ears he’d have put em there” –Them

“Let’s go get your ears pierced but don’t tell maw maw and don’t wear them to church” –Her, to me

She actually let me get 2 holes in my ear lobes, but I still couldn’t wear them around my grandma or great-grandma, or to church.

A victim of societal expectations, a victim of her region, a victim of the Bible and it’s patriarchal teachings.  I didn’t know it yet but these were all the things I would discover in my teens that I would not tie me down.

I remember her working a few jobs when I was little, in particular a tent in a parking lot where she sold flowers.  She started cleaning houses when I was maybe 7-9 years old.  We had a baby sitter until I was maybe 10, it’s a bit foggy.  Like I said before, I’ve blocked a lot of my childhood from my memory. Anyway, we had the most amazing women that would pick us up from the bus at our driveway.  She had cable and made the best grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve ever had in 👏 my 👏 life 👏 This is when I fell in love with music videos, especially R.E.M. Losing My Religion and anything by Dwight Yokam 🙈  She also painted our nails and played Clue with us.  I knew she loved us the way any innocent child should be loved, purely and unconditionally.

When I was deemed old enough me and my sister would get off the bus and just walk home and stay home until my mom got off work.  Being self employed she pretty much set her schedule to 7-3 most days, but she did get off early sometimes.  We would walk up the driveway, and when the muscadines were in season we would stop and pick them on our way home, same with honeysuckles and blackberries.

My grandparents lived next door.  It was a beautiful piece of land.  Now, it’s just grown over and my grandpa is too old and in denial of the fact that he can’t farm like he used to.  He has a really good looking man, who looks like a ad, that stops by and puts hay out for his cows though. He had 2 daughters who didn’t stay married for long, and ended up with 2 grand daughters, and 3 great grand daughters.  SO MUCH GIRL!  I can’t speak for his daughters (that relationship seems a hot dang mess from what I know) but me and my sister and all of our girls love him but we just are not farmers 💅  He has a beautiful house that he built himself.  He was a contractor for the state, he had a hand in building a lot of landmarks (churches 😒) in the big cities around here. I remember him going to church only once, but we went my grandma and great grandma every time the doors opened.  My grandma worked in the cafeteria of a local Christian campground her whole life.  They both retired early I think, I barely remember either of them working actual jobs. My grandpa still trades livestock as a very profitable hobby, he did build a lot of tiny house style buildings before the crazy swept the nation.  Presently, my grandma just stays on the phone with doctors trying to add to her list of ailments which include diabetes and fatigue, and when shes not doing that shes passed out on benedryl and xanax.  My grandpa has terrible gout, kidney failure, and prostate cancer so he sits in his recliner and yells at my grandma. Welcome to paradise.

Oh, I also have an aunt.  She has been married a few times, she was a beauty queen and light of my grandmas life.  She still is, even if she only comes around when their health looks lethal. She lives in another state and I haven’t spoken with her since she showed up at school one day, when I was a senior in high school and in formation in marching band!!!! to let me know that I shouldn’t stay out all night and not call my mom. The band director made her leave. She used to buy me plus sized women’s clothes when I was going through puberty, and fuss at me for drinking soda. That’s all I got for ya in regards to that.

My mom was the workhorse of the family, my grandparents had a son before my mom was born and when he was 9 and my mom was 5 he was run over by a car and killed while getting off the bus at my great grandmas house (my grandmas mom). My mom was the new son, then about 5 years later my aunt was born and she got to be the new daughter.  Not healthy, and it’s very obvious now that I’m 32.  I don’t know how she was in school but being in a small town I’ve heard she was a hoot in school.  Graduated in 1981, and went on to party and somehow run into my dad who was 9 years older than her and from Virginia…I really don’t know how that happened.  I think they bonded over a party time lifestyle, smoking, drinking, weed etc…I don’t know if they had happy times, we have a few family pictures, maybe one when I was a toddler and one when my sister was a baby.  Olan Mills, what ya’ll know about that? Moving on…

After my dad left somehow we ended up with a little white truck.  It had tiny seats in the back.  I remember my mom always shutting herself in her room and getting high with her friends.  She never took pills or did hard drugs, just weed.  She never even drank after we were born.  She was fun sometimes.  She didn’t care for driving in foreign places, at night or in the rain.  We never had any extra money.  She was tired a lot.  My friends always liked her and she used sing and dance A LOT. When I was 13 my mom was given a small inheritance from one of the people she had cleaned for, someone that didn’t have any family.  She put down payments on a 1995 Mustang and a new 3 bedroom single wide. Up until this point me and my sister had been sharing a twin bed in a single wide with holes in the floor.  She also bought a Kenwood stereo system state of the art (for 1998 anyway) I still use it.  It had a record player and every year for my birthday she would wake me up playing The Birthday Song by The Beatles, until I moved out, then she would call and leave me a voicemail playing the same song. She was 150% consistent in everything she did, stability ya know.  She didn’t let me be lazy.  I was her right hand man, she needed me and she knew it.

My sister was a lot different than me.  She was very outgoing and needed attention, she was super social and had tons of friends.  I had like 2-3 friends and pretty much didn’t talk to anyone outside of that.  We both played softball, she was an outfielder and I was a catcher.  She tried several different sports and I just got really good at the one sport I cared about.  She was in chorus, I was in band.  She was in Future Farmers of America, I was in Students Against Destructive Decisions.  I made A’s and B’s and I seriously doubt she knows how she ended up graduating.  Once we each got our own room, I kept a very neat and clutter free area at all times.  You couldn’t open her door because of the massive amount of dirty laundry.  Sometimes you could even find farm animals in her closet.  NOT JOKING.  I slept with 7 blankets in a particular order all upside down on my bed, other than my bed I had a keyboard, a vanity and a dresser, all against opposing walls.  My closet was organized by the color of my clothing.  I was so happy to have my own space, it was a coming of age miracle!

Eventually me and my sister would both become awful, good for nothing teenagers.  I was maybe 15 when my mom pulled us out of the church we had went to our whole lives, something about the preacher speaking on bestiality and homosexuality.  Not that my mom would have rather discussed that with us herself but she would have rather us never had known that people were gay, and there was a thing called sex, or that we would have a period.  I just found these things out on my own, 4th grade is when I found out what a period was, when I started bleeding during gym and a girl in my class told me about periods.  I imagine high school/the back of the bus taught me about sex and sexuality.  In my 15th year my mom decided to start bible thumping for the first time in my life, she probably knew I was smoking weed, because it was clear that she had stopped.  She forced us to go to a Wesleyan church that wanted to pray the demons out of us. Then we went to a Church of God where people ran and screamed and jumped and acted a dang fool about Jesus.  It was at that point I became uncomfortable, I had always felt uncomfortable with prayer.  It just seemed weird talking to someone who wasn’t there, and asking for things that never happened even though I put in all the work for it to happen.  Just futile.  Luckily I had been dating a guy who was not a Christian for a little while and that was the first time in my life I knew you didn’t have to be a Christian.  I told my mom I didn’t want to go to church anymore, that ended with me throwing all my bibles across the house, calling my mom out for smoking weed, and renouncing religion, I was 16. She made me keep going to church until I was 18 because “you don’t have a daddy and your daddy is supposed to be in charge of making you go to church, so you’ll go until you are an adult because i’m not burning in hell because of you.  I went, with my piercings, baggy jeans, black fingernails.  I moved out when I was 19, since my mom was making me pay 250/mo in rent and I had an 11:00 curfew. She never came to my apartment, it was about 15 minutes away.  I don’t know if we even talked much after that, I was drunk for a few years then pregnant.  She didn’t want anything to do with my “mexican baby or mexican boyfriend” but I ended up having to move back in with her when my daughter was about 3 months old and I was sporting yet another black eye.  We still didn’t talk much. I don’t think we really bonded until maybe 4 years ago.

More on me later…i’m holding that thought…I hope you are still with me…

I always felt like more of a confidant than a daughter.  We griped about men, kids, society, other women, work, bills, taxes.  We griped about everything except religion and politics, I didn’t go there with her at all.  When I bought my house in Oct. 2016 she started getting sick, we thought maybe a gall stone but in a few weeks we would find out she had been diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer.  It was scary but I had to be strong.  I had always been the steady hand, minus the 2 years I was drunk.  We knew her time was limited, she cried a lot.  She never remarried, but had a few long term boyfriends that were awesome, and a few short term boyfriends that were regretful.  We though she might want to travel, spend some time with us, but she just wanted to die at home with her dogs and no audience.  It didn’t work out that way.  She beat the odds and lived 14 months after her diagnoses thanks to chemotherapy, science, maybe her faith as well.  She was having a hard time breathing on thanksgiving 2017 and went to the hospital and was put on a ventilator so they could try antibiotics for her septic pneumonia.  It’s going to get a lil graphic…

Me and my sister stayed at the hospital with her, my sister did most of that, I was not helpful for comfort.  The night before she died she woke up trying to rip the tubes from her throat just a few hours after she waved and smiled at me because I had told her everyone loved her hat (she had been bald for about a year at this point).  We let her go the next day.  It was long and it was HORRIFYING.  Watching her convulse and them shoving syringes of who knows into her frail arms every 2 minutes for at least an hour, watching the heart rate go from 130 to 70 to 30 to 0.  Watching the black liquid come from her lungs after 40 years of at least a pack a day.  I never cried.

To watch someone suffer for so long words can not describe the relief I felt when it was over.  She didn’t want to live that way.  She had told me since I was a kid that she would rather die than someone change her diapers.  She told me and my sister that she was in so much pain with the cancer she would rather die.  I found a note she wrote to me after she died and we were clearing out her house.  I’ll post it separately but it starts with “Meg,  I’m sorry your childhood was a living hell…”

Grieving as someone who doesn’t believe in an afterlife is very interesting.  More on that later as well…

Now, Me and my husband are going to go eat a Mellow Mushroom and then to a Comedy Show, our yearly Valentines Day thing.

Enjoy your weekend.

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February 9, 2018

There is so much in this entry, thank you for sharing even the tough times.