In my last post, I mentioned my parents and their failures. If you are a parent, you’ll agree that we all have failures and regrets. There’s a difference between “wow, I shouldn’t have given her such a strict curfew when she was growing up” and “I shouldn’t have dealt drugs and left my kids alone for days at a time so I could go fuck random men and smoke crack” kind of regrets. The latter is my mother.
After my dad and mom got divorced when I was young, my mom was with my step-dad. Rick was a great guy in a fucked up kind of way. He did drugs early on, was an alcoholic, and was not much of a fatherly love kind of guy but he loved me and my mom and provided for us with the skills he had. He was a construction worker…a damned good one. This man could build, literally, anything you ask him to build. He knew his shit and nobody could tell him anything about construction that he didn’t already have mastered. At home, though, he was drunk, on whatever drugs he did back then, and selling weed right out of the front door of our house.
Mom was not a bad person back then. She was a stay-at-home mom most of the time and took me swimming at the lake or to the park all the time. We laid out in the sun together in my little kiddie pool and she made me oatmeal for breakfast every morning. When my first brother was born that all changed. I don’t know what triggered it all. Was it Rick coming home drunk all the time or my dad showing back up in my life wanting visitation?
Whatever it was, mom changed from the loving person who was always there for her kids to this selfish woman who would walk out of the house in the middle of the night and disappear for days at a time. She would take me to my grandmother’s house, a shithole infested with rats, roaches, and drug addicts that were my uncles and aunts. Mom would drop me off there and tell me she’d be back later and later would come but she didn’t.
Mamaw’s house was something out of a bad dream. There’s poor people who live clean and just don’t have the money to afford a better place to live and then there’s my family. Disgusting houses with bugs and mice and rats and dirt everywhere. Mamaw was afraid to take a bath because she might fall so she stunk and had nasty feet and hair. My aunts and uncles mooched off of Mamaw’s welfare, stole her Valium and drank her beer. She was a chain-smoker so every ashtray in the house was full of cigarettes that she’d scrounge through when the money was gone to put together a whole cigarette.
When I had to spend the night, I slept on the couch most of the time which is where most of the bugs were. I would wake up in the middle of the night with cockroaches crawling on my hands and feet and face. I couldn’t put my feet on the floor without throwing something down first or I’d step on roaches. Nothing in the kitchen was edible because it was full of roaches and had chew marks from the mice. There was never any toilet paper so there was always a dirty sock or some random rag on the floor to wipe with. That’s not something a small child should have to get used to but I did.
This is where my fear of cockroaches comes from, for sure. I am terrified of them to this day. Just the other day, there was a huge roach at my work and I couldn’t even get close enough to kill it so I had to call one of my associates over to do it while they looked at me like I was silly. I can never express how horrified I am of cockroaches to anyone. They always ask me how I was in the military and deployed to Iraq during a war but afraid of roaches. Its embarrassing.
Mamaw and family didn’t stay in one house for too long. They always moved from one shitty house to another. And the time we spent there increased over the years. Mom kept leaving me there while she went to work at the topless bar or went out with her “sugar daddy” that she was dating while she was separated from my step-dad. Spending time at Mamaw’s was so regular that I actually went to school in the school district in her home area at one point. I was picked on relentlessly with my thrift store and Salvation Army clothes and used shoes. I wasn’t a dirty kid but I didn’t have nice clothes or a nice house.
When Mom was at home with my step-dad, things were better. I had nicer things and I went to better schools. I had friends and my own room without the nastiness of roaches and addicts. But, Mom couldn’t ever stay in one place for too long so Mamaw’s was always an inevitability. One that brought with it the likelihood of encounters with my Uncle Mikey. But I’m not gonna talk about him right now. He’s not worth the spit I launch into the sink when I brush my teeth.
So, at some point, Mom gave up on trying to be a decent human being. She started leaving me at home, my home, with my little brothers who were 2 years and 7 months old. My step-dad had to work so I, at age 11, was left alone with a toddler and infant. Three days went by this time with no Mom and my step-dad at work all day long, from dawn until after dark.
By this time, my dad was back in my life. He had been an absentee father for the first 10 years or so. There’s no general consensus as to why this was but when he finally started coming around, he was married to my first step-mom, Rose. Rose is several blog posts of my life, all by herself, but at this time, she was actually really nice. So, Dad gets me for weekends, twice a month, and six weeks each summer. It didn’t take long before my visits with Dad in his nice house, with all the toys and clothes I could ever want, and a loving and strong relationship became the light of my life. Dad would ask questions about my home life with Mom and my step-dad and, unbeknownst to me, he would document and use this to build his case for custody.
Mom and my step-dad smoking and selling marijuana, Mom disappearing for days at a time, dirty house, lack of proper nutrition, poor role models, and leaving me at Mamaw’s house for, sometimes, days at a time. This would all become his ammunition to involve Health and Human Services. When they would come out to the house on reports of drugs in the home, they would ask me questions and I would tell the truth. Afterward, Mom would ask me what we talked about and then yell at me for telling the truth. I would argue that I’m not supposed to lie and she would claim a white lie is okay. Within a year, Dad was asking me to move in with him and telling Mom that she didn’t have a choice, despite her efforts to fight him and tell me I couldn’t live with him. Eventually, I caved to my desire to live in a nice home with a loving family and left my mom to live with my dad.
When I told Mom that I would be moving to live with my dad, she left the house and disappeared for two days. When my step-dad found her, she was passed out in the cab of his pickup truck with slices on her wrists. They were shallow cuts and not a real attempt to commit suicide but it was still her cry for help or pity. Whichever it was, I was too young to understand it or care. I knew that she was angry with me and it made me want to leave even more. She told me that she had tried to kill herself and that it was my fault because I was leaving her. She blamed me for her depression and tried to make me feel guilty for wanting a better life. I wasn’t even allowed to bring my dog with me, regardless of who decided it was a thing, I had to leave my sweet boy with Mom and my step-dad. That dog was later put down by my step-dad because he was left on a chain at my step-dad’s sister’s house and he chewed up the seats on their boat. But I digress.
I left Mom and went to a better life and she used that as an excuse to dive head first into drugs. She got so far into the drugs that she started taking my little brothers to crack-houses with her and leaving one of them under a dresser, wrapped in a t-shirt for a diaper, while she got high in another room. My step-dad had to track her down and take the boys back over and over until she finally just left all three of them for a life on the streets.
When my visitation with Mom would come around that first summer, I dreaded it deeply. I knew it wasn’t going to be a summer of fun or anything remotely enjoyable. When I got there, I was thrown into nights of riding around in the truck while she went to get drugs or get her sisters so they could all get high. One night, she made me ride with her to a hotel where she met a man she didn’t know, who was nicely dressed, and went into his room for a very long time. She made me sit in the back of the truck, covered by an old camper shell, and wait for her. I waited, in the dark, alone and scared, in the parking lot of some hotel in the middle of nowhere (it was a newly developed area near Disney that wasn’t yet built up with hotels other than the one we were at). I would get scared and climb out of the camper top hatch and run up to the door of the hotel where she was and knock on the door. I would get yelled at and told to return to the truck and wait for her. Then, something happened that made it unbearable to wait any longer; a cockroach was in the back of the truck with me. I had learned that life could be cockroach free and that they aren’t supposed to be in your home or around your food. I had gotten used to being free from the fear of them crawling on my while I slept. I was terrified of them at this point so the 1.5-2 inch cockroach strolling around the floor of the bed of the truck with me in the dark was the last straw. I jumped out of the back, ran to the door, screaming and crying while I pounded on the door and peaked through the crack in the curtains. She finally came to the door and after telling her about the roach and showing her that I was not giving up on my mission to get out of this place, she cut the visit short and came out of the room less than a few minutes later.
After that, I couldn’t wait to go back home. I hated visiting this woman. She was selfish and did weird things that I didn’t understand or like. When I got back to Dad’s, I had to strip in the garage and we burned my clothes I was wearing and washed the rest, on the spot, in the hottest water. I was taken straight to the bathroom where I was coated with lice treatment from head to toe. The lice was so bad that my entire body was covered in bites and living bugs. When my step-mom was combing my hair, which was very long at the time, she was pulling out lice bugs the size of rice. The eggs, or nits, were so large in number that you could pile them up on the paper towel. The entire house was cleaned and bleached and I was never allowed to visit her again for the summer. I was happy about that.
It wasn’t until I was about 13 or 14 that I would hear and see how bad it really was with her. She was arrested numerous times for prostitution and drugs. At 16, I went to visit her for two weeks and when I arrived, I was notified that she was in jail for prostitution. I used the $200 my dad had given me to spend while I was there to bail her out. I didn’t see her the entire time I was visiting. She never thanked me or came to see me. I did get a copy of the police report, though, as the one who bailed her out, so I got a glimpse of her life. For less than $30, a man could have sex with my mom. For $15, she would give him a blowjob. For $5, she would jerk him off. Are you for real?
To this day, Mom is still struggling with crack and prostitution. Except now, I believe she’s realizing her age is preventing her from making money. She has missing teeth, one earlobe is ripped so the earring hole is the size of a thumb, and she has a pot-belly. She claims she’s trying to stay clean but she always finds a reason to go back to drugs. Whenever she calls, I know its because she wants money for this or that. She will pretend to care about what’s going on in my life but the conversation always leads to her monetary problems and me offering or saying yes to helping her out. After the money is on its way, I might hear from her one or two more times until she disappears again.
Every time I’ve tried to talk to her about drugs, she blames me for her fall. She has always blamed me. I took it at first but not anymore. Fuck her. I’m waiting for the call that she’s been killed or died. Its inevitable. It sounds harsh to say it but I’m not gonna lie and say I want to make it right. I don’t. She’s selfish, has never cared about anyone but herself and her drugs, and has left her family behind for a life of being raped by dealers and Johns and spreading her legs for a rock. So fuck her. Fuck her. Fuck her.