After reading just a few articles here about our mother, you probably have a pretty good idea of the sort of damage she inflicted on her family and herself. As a small child, I remember Mother “sleeping” in the morning long after most parents had arisen. My sister and I learned to entertain ourselves daily until Mother chose to make an appearance. Once she appeared, her mood was usually dark and nasty. Mother was not a morning person.
Later, there were mountains of laundry that never seemed to get done, and lots of errands that were never tended to. As children, my sister Lindy and I both thought that getting film developed was a task that required many hours and several trips back to the photo shop. That was how Mother got the film developed.
If there was an item you were supposed to bring for school the following day, forget it. Mother adamantly insisted that the school was not going to tell her when to shop, and she would determine when she was going to purchase a bar of Ivory soap and a potato (these were two of the items I was supposed to bring to school one day).
You may be wondering what all this chaos did to the two little girls who were forced to endure it. It actually served to make us much more organized. My sister and I both plan ahead–way ahead —to the consternation of those around us. We also always made sure that our children had whatever was needed for school. After all, we didn’t want our children to go through what we did when we needed school supplies.
Interesting note: I actually managed to get the bar of Ivory soap I needed for a carving of the state of Illinois that we were doing in fifth grade. The experience was reminiscent of a World War II battle, but through a series of deft subterfuges and maneuvers, I sought out, targeted, and purchased the soap. I then carved it into a pretty good facsimile of our state.
Finally, although it is in my nature to spin things in a positive way, the damages Mother inflicted on her family have had lasting results. My sister Lindy was so freaked out by Mother’s inappropriate behavior and erratic decisions that she has chosen to live her life in a very methodical and secure way. She worked at the same job, lived in the same house, and has been married to the same man for many years—Lindy loves structure. I, on the other hand, was not as deeply hurt by Mother’s wicked ways.
The main damage for me is to my self-worth which sometimes hears the words of Mother and wonders if I am inadequate in math, art, and physical activity. I hear her say:
and all of my insecurity comes roaring back.
When I go clothes shopping, I usually have my sister with me, not only because she has excellent taste, but because she can chase away the “Mother echoes” and make me feel confident in my choices. Finally, there were major damages to Dad. Dad made his next choice based on avoiding many of the things Mother said or did, but he somehow ended up right back where he started–Crazy Central.