I don’t think Merle Haggard ever knew our mother. Although his song I Think I’ll Just Stay Here And Drink seems to have been written with her in mind. In fact it could have been her motto.
Now she never admitted to this being her slogan. In fact, her usual state was one of denial. She was busy with “something” most of the day. Too busy to clean, too busy to plan, too busy to work and way too busy to parent.
As children, my sister Abby and I knew she was up to something. We just weren’t sure quite what was taking up all of her time. Yes, she loved “Scrabble” tournaments with Marge, smoking and bitching. Those were her main hobbies that we knew about. We also knew that there was more to the story.
She was absent from many of our events. You guessed it: “I think I’ll just stay here and drink”. It explains quite a bit about her parenting style. Choosing a bottle filled with amber colored liquid that gave you a buzz, over your children, was an eye-opener. Add in her mental problems and the abuse of prescription drugs and it made for a raging, out of control woman that was better left alone.
Dad, Abby and I went on our merry ways, living life and mainly ignoring her. And ignoring her really wasn’t that hard most of the time as she sought refuge in her darkened room. On the other hand, there were times when ignoring the raging beast was impossible, but if we could we did our best to pretend we were a family of three.
The sad truth is Mother was the loser all the way around. Her parental memories were not only clouded by her impaired perceptions and drunkenness, but by the lack of any real involvement with her children.
If she was being honest and accepting responsibility (no way!) (fat chance!) (get real!) Mother would have just said, when asked if she was joining us as a family member, ” I think I’ll just stay here and drink!”