Mother did not work outside the home for many years although she always said she was busy.
Too busy to clean.
Too busy to do the laundry.
Too busy to prepare a nice dinner, or a decent school lunch for us.
Too busy to do many of the normal household chores that stay at home mothers do.
Too busy to spend time with her young children.
Too busy to spend time with her husband.
Busy, busy, busy…but with what?
When we were young, my sister and I thought that Mother must be leading a secret life or engaging in espionage as a secret agent for the government. Or possibly engaging in some kind of illegal behavior. That alternative really would not have surprised me at all.
We just could not figure out how a person could spend an entire day doing absolutely nothing.
Truth be told, Mother was not doing “absolutely nothing.” She was very busy alright. Mother was often engaged in playing tournament-level Scrabble with her friend Marge, drinking her special “calming down medicine,” and eating and sleeping.
Since Mother never sat down at the kitchen table to eat, we rarely saw her with food in her mouth. So, when we were gone, she had to make up for lost consumption time. On most days, by late afternoon Mother was three sheets to the wind, losing badly at Scrabble, and in the middle of a major feeding.
Mother also enjoyed staying up quite late and said she was an insomniac and a night owl. Again, the real reason she was up late was because she had slept away a good portion of the day. And by staying up late into the night, she got to have more “alone time” without the burdens of a husband and two children impeding her.
If my sister and I had been real detectives we would have put all the clues together and come to the logical conclusion that Mother was not busy as a bee but rather drunk as a skunk. Sounds harsh I know but we are not in denial anymore. Are we, Sister?