My kids are going to be a little disappointed that my 6 minutes with you, won’t be spent sharing about our adventures and mishaps that could have possibly labeled myself as a bad mom.
Thing is, for me, mom’s, I didn’t really have one of those growing up.
From April 1960 to September 1962 my mother gave birth to three of us. I suppose that was a little too much for her and she left my dad to care for us. I remember very little of her as I was still in diapers.
I do remember an occasion when I was a young teenager. All three of us were called into the living room to meet someone. As we sat obediently on the couch my dad informed us that this is your mother. We sat politely for a brief moment then asked to be excused to go back play outside. Her father had passed away and was in the area and thought she would pop by.
More recently, around 10 years ago, my dad gave me a letter that was sent to him, a letter from my mother. She wanted to communicate. She was living in British Columbia, in a little town called Hope. We wrote back and forth for a couple of years. You see, she was dying and although she never came right out and asked, I knew she needed closure. She gave me life, I’m kinda glad to have been able to give her peace. This mom also gave me the sting and emptiness and fear of abandonment that took me 28 years to get over……until I gave birth to and held my first daughter. I knew this would never be her worry. Our past does not dictate our future.
I need to thank Disney for Cinderella and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. If it weren’t for these animations my sisters and I would have never had a comparison for an evil step mother. We called we called our stepmother ‘mom’ on account she was the only “mom” we knew of and it was kinda nice to have one of those.
She was strict. She demanded obedience and conformity. I grew up in that “what until your father gets home” era. That wasn’t my case. My sisters and I knew all too well the sting of a wooden spoon on a bare butt. On one occasion, I remember my sister getting a “walloping” so bad that, together we had to fabricate a story as it being from scratches from climbing in and out of a swimming pool. Seriously, we weren’t bad kids; probably active, high energy. Fortunately she never stifled that out of me.
You see this was an era of acceptance of this. If all parents who spanked their children were reported, no one would have been left at home.
I had a memory of this mom a couple of weeks ago. Interestingly and unbeknownst to me, it was the night before I was tagged in Anne’s fb post about this event.
As I lay in bed doing my nightly ritual of reflecting on the day and gratitude, for some reason this mom came to mind. The memory was of a summer day we were spending at an outdoor swimming area we frequented. There was myself, my two sisters and “mom”. The serene afternoon was interrupted with “they’re here!”
We were, hmmm, 10/11 years old. My older sister was bullied, well, that’s what they call it today. Back then it was called “beat up”. On one occasion her nose was broken. This was at the hands of a girl who grew up in a really bad home environment, perhaps her own mother trying her best.
This particular summer day, “she” showed up. Not only was “she” there, “she” brought her older sister. My memory continues as I lay in bed that evening……my mom stood up, just like a momma bear, we were instructed to move aside. She bravely stood nose to nose with “the sister”. There was some shoving and then “the sister” grabbed moms bathing suit top and ripped it off her.
Now, guys this is like the early 70’s. There was no Instagram where the hashtag of squats brings up all and every kind of porn or border porn image.
In remembering this happening while I lay in bed…..I remember….I was mortified! Not only mortified, I was downright embarrassed.
Just as quickly as the whole confrontation happened, it quickly dispersed as the police came. I don’t think anything happened to my sister after that. The “beat ups”, they stopped.
As I lay in my bed in remembering that evening, a tear rolled down my cheek as all the memories of the evil step mother melted away and the protective mother was made aware of.
She left our family as well. I think she saw her role, her time with us more of a call to duty.
I’ve never spoken to her again. I think if I got the chance I’d probably thank her for not only teaching us how to find, gather and preserve the best wild berries but also showing me that as a parent, protectiveness can also mean love.