I haven’t gone public with this blog. By public I mean told my family about it. That is because I knew at some point I would write about my childhood. Specifically the way my mother chose to parent me. Some of my sibs are in denial about what happened because it is easier that way. It was my reality anyway not theirs.
My mom is a devoted Jehovah’s Witness. She has been since right before she had me, so I was that lucky kid that had to go to the library when the class had holiday parties or programs. I didn’t have my first real birthday party until I was 30 and even then I didn’t know how to act. I felt weird. Like I was playing a role I wasn’t suited for. I haven’t wanted another party for myself since; it was just too weird feeling. I don’t like birthday cake anyway, well truthfully I like cake just not the frosting. But I do dig presents sans all the wrapping paper and fuss. Anywho, I digress.
My mom was an only child; she was born late in her mother’s life and was doted on by both her parents. Her father died when she was young and when she was of age her mother guided her into a marriage with her best friend’s son. That marriage, of two spoiled, sheltered only children produced 4 children, an equal mix of blonde, blue eyed boys and girls. Then it crashed and burned. I am positive that it had something to do with the fact her husband wasn’t necessarily attracted to women. I have met the dude though, he is cool as hell. A prim and proper antiques dealer with a penchant for pastel socks with his loafers and tailored shorts, we bonded over the fact we are both chefs (really I totally am, on paper and everything). Anyway back to Mama’s story; fast forward a few years and she had moved to Cali, because she worked now she needed someone to watch the kids. One day her babysitter mentioned her younger brother was in town and would be picking her up from work. What she didn’t mention was he was a semi-pro football player. Mama wasn’t no fool and took one look at him and the rest was cake. Not really, they had a tough go at it because Mama is White and Daddy was Black and this was the 60’s after all.
They would eventually marry and have 3 more kids bringing the total to 7, 4 blonde and blue eyed and 3 brown skinned with varying degrees of nappiness present in their follicles. My Mama’s mother immediately disowned her and would only deign to speak to the brown children once in their entire lives. My parent tried to stay married but being a J-dub was too much for dear ole Dad and he began to drink. So Mama packed us kids up, told us we were going to Arizona for the summer and left him in Cali. Being the suckers we kids were we waited 2 years for him to sell the house in California and come to AZ before my nosy butt found the divorce decree hidden in her bottom drawer , right next to the candy I had been so diligently searching for. Whoops! Of course I immediately told my sister who even faster than that snitched me out. I think she was just pissed because I ate all the candy before telling her. Daddy eventually came to AZ to be near us kids. They ended up re-marrying because Mama still wasn’t no fool and J-dubs don’t like divorce so her pickin’s were kinda slim for a hook up elsewhere. Unfortunately Daddy still didn’t wanna be a J-dub and Mama hadn’t quite figured out how to just let him be who he was so she packed us all up once again and while he was in the hospital she moved us back to Cali.
During the time they were together I was Daddy’s little darling. I look just like him, only feminized; all was well in my world. When they divorced yet again I guess the resemblance was too much for her to bear and I took some hellacious beat downs for typical kid shit. By then it was just her and us 3 younger kids, my sister who had perfected teen disdain into an art form , me the nervous bookworm who tried to make herself invisible and my younger brother, my Mothers crowning glory. That kid was a jerk and by jerk I mean grade-A butthole. Somehow I always got in trouble for what they did, not normal restriction or punishments, but beatings, frustrated, angry-at-the-world fueled beatings that left me terrified of her and emotionally scarred for years.
For years I didn’t even talk to her, she was angry when I got pregnant at 24 because I didn’t feel the need to marry my kid’s father even though we were together almost 10 years. That and my pure, unadulterated hatred for all things J-dub and J-dub related have sorely affected any chance at a relationship we could have ever had. Now she is old and sick, I do the dutiful daughter thing and go to see her , we try to pretend we are ok but my siblings are hugging her and getting hugged back while I am standing nervously by the door feeling like an intruder. I hope she gets well and lives for a long, long time especially since my kids are crazy about her. They don’t know the mean woman I grew up with, they know the sweet old lady who calls them all dah-ling and gets teary eyed when they do something cool. I wish that chick had been around when I was growing up instead of the other one.