Our Dad was not only a talented attorney and a fabulous Dad, he often used pet names for people. From the time I was a little girl, he often called me “Babe”. I guess since I was the younger child, at the time, it was a term of endearment signifying I was the baby. I grew to love the term because it was so heartfelt and never used in a loud booming voice like you know who!
Mother, on the other hand, used terms, but not terms of endearment. She was as likely to call you stupid or dumb as she was to ever use her nice words. She used to say to me, on many occasions, that I needed to use my head. This was usually followed by a slap to the head which, if you think about it, sends a mixed message! I guess if I wasn’t going to use my head, she would…as a place to incur her wrath. I did not enjoy being slapped or hit but since I wasn’t always fast enough to get away, she sometimes did wind up giving me a real punch. Since crying usually meant more of the same, I would very stoically try to get away. I think she often saw human emotion as a sign of weakness, so she would prey upon that like a lion in the jungle who preys upon a wounded animal.
Thank goodness she was often in a pill induced or liquor induced coma so she didn’t have the energy to deal with my transgressions. Since my sister Abby was older and smarter, she did not have as many physical altercations with Mother as I did. Mother’s words were often hurled at Abby and she would run into her room where she cried and cried. Now this was something I could not bear. I hated what mother did to both is us, but when she attacked Abby, I saw red. Kind of like the bull! I would tell Mother to leave her alone and if she then tried to go after me, I knew, most of the time, how to get away or at least out of reach.
Even as adults, when my sister would get upset by Mother’s harsh words, I would fly into action and tell Mother to stop. I reminded her on many occasions that we were adults now and would not allow her to mistreat us anymore. This was usually followed by a crying session of Mother’s that would put any Oscar winning actress to shame.
Abby and I are stronger for oh so many reasons. Having a united front against a wacky Mother helped us create an unbreakable bond. And having our father, this man who loved us so much and was never afraid to say so, was our saving grace!