Sitting across from my sister, I heard her say
This is a day we have both been looking forward to for a long time.
It was the morning of our mother’s death.
Now my sister, some other members of our blended and extended family, and I have decided to write down our memories and post them for those who may be interested in reading about our “Far From Normal” life.
One of my first memories is when I was five years old. I had joined a friend and her mother to watch an older sister on the trampoline. When the show was over, we returned to my friend’s home and she and I decided to try our own trampoline show by jumping on the beds and turning somersaults.
I went first and managed to catch my chin on her vanity corner. There was lots of blood and her mother was almost hysterical. She called my mother who informed her in the most detached possible voice:
It happened at your house. You are responsible for taking her to the hospital.
The woman (who was even more distressed to realize my mother was taking no responsibility for her own child) turned to me and asked me what she should do. I replied
Call my daddy. He’ll know what to do.
Dad was working at the Kimbark Tavern—his part-time job during law school. Mrs. Woodbury took me over there and I waited while he finished his shift. He then took me to the emergency room and I received several stiches. In re-telling this story, people would ask,
Didn’t you cry out for your mother?
When I replied that no, I did not, they would say
Children always cry for their mothers.
And my dad would simply say
This one didn’t.
That was probably what I noticed most about my early years. While other mothers were busy making Rice Krispie Treats and helping their children however they could, my mother was distant and remote. Her helpfulness extended to teaching me to be independent by never assisting me in anything. If I wanted to be in Girl Scouts, I was responsible for getting to and from the meetings as well as any incidental expenses since in her words, she “Was not made of money.”