First things first: this is going to be something many may not know about me. Second, Mom, this is going to be “real talk”. Stick with it cause it gets better. Love you.
Mother’s Day has always been a day of mixed emotions for me as a teenager and as I’ve gotten older. I’ll tell ya why. My life and my life with my mom was not all rainbows and unicorns. I know it isn’t unique to say that but let’s just say I’m amazed worse things didn’t happen to me in situations I was put in numerous times. I definitely believe I had a few guardian angels watching over me.
For as far back as I can remember, my mom has love me more than anyone has ever loved their child. I remember her telling me more than once, “I was so excited to have you and love you and know I’d have someone who loved me back the same way.”
She also “loved” methamphetamine and not just a little bit, a lotta bit. And, I knew this. I’ve known what methamphetamine is as far as my memories go back. It’s scary. It makes people mean. It makes people animals. It made Mom stay in an abusive relationship; with the drugs and with a man. It made Mom do things she would have never done otherwise. It made Mom put me in situations a child should never be in. It made Mom sick. It made Mom sad. I knew there was another “sibling” she loved, sometimes I thought maybe more than me. I questioned it, and sometimes believed it, all of my childhood and even into adulthood. Sometimes it took my mom away from me physically, for 28 days when I was about 6 years old. Then, for years when I was a little older. But, harder than that, it took her away emotionally most of the time. I’ll be honest, because of this, it still affects our relationship and bond to each other. She couldn’t emotionally be present and I learned how to detach myself from her. Otherwise it was too hard. Too hard to have a mom who couldn’t love me like I loved her. Too hard to be taken away from her over and over. At one point, in high school, I wrote her a letter giving her an ultimatum – me or meth. Truth be told, if she would have chosen meth, I wouldn’t be typing this today.
But, in dark days, there’s always light. I’m a firm believer in that. Most would say I didn’t have a great childhood. Most would say it must have been awful, you poor thing. Lots would argue I should have been taken into DHS custody more than once. There were a couple of times it almost happened. But, I disagree. Yes, many need to be taken from their environment, but not me. I’m so, so thankful I wasn’t taken into custody. Otherwise, I would have missed out on all the following memories with her:
-playing in the creek that had the handle on the rock underneath the small waterfall beside the back road in Salina
-chasing piglets that got out of their cage when we lived in Kenwood
-roaming the woods in Kenwood with my dog, Spiker
-playing Badminton in the front yard (I still think I could have gone to the Olympics)
-belting out Heart, Bob Seger, The Eagles, Kansas, Bad Company, Fleetwood Mac, Meatloaf, and of course, Lynyrd Skynyrd in our beat up cars on the back roads of OK
-having THE BEST Valentine’s Day balloons sent to school
-having THE BEST birthday parties and Christmases
-reading with her before bed
-her rubbing my back before bed only the way she knows how
and, most importantly…
-always knowing, even though there were doubts, she loved me more than anyone has ever loved their child.
I know this now more than ever the love a mom has for her child(ren). It is undeniable. I also see the way she is with my son, her grandson. I see the mom in her now I wish I had all of the time, not just some of the time, growing up. I see the mom she wanted so much to be to me but couldn’t escape the hold the drugs had over her. I see the love she has for me when she looks at Barrett. I see now, I don’t have to worry about my ability to be a mom because, although I may have had to look harder than some kids, she taught me what it means to love and be loved through the best of times and the worst of times. I love you Mom.