My mom and I were talking about my pepaw brennan the other day. He was a mean, nasty drunk but like most people he had his good side. Unfortunately I never saw his good side until I was an adult. We learned at a young age to stay out of arm's reach of the couch because of his pinching and biting and toe popping. (I cringe when I hear someone pop their fingers to this day)
My mom commented that he never did any of that stuff to us because she wouldn't allow it. When I told her he did do it and that he would also hold us down and blow his beer breath into our bodies until we would pass out she insisted that nothing like that ever happened to us.
That is what she had always done from the time I was a child until now. She never has been a supportive or defensive mother to either me or my brother but one peep from my sister and she is a mama lion. It's always been that way. I guess that is why I am always ready to stand up for the underdog, because I have always had to stand up for myself.
I remember the time the old man next door felt me up when I was 14. I was in complete shock when it happened because he was like a grandpa to me. It took several hours for me to go to my mom. When I did, she made me go and face him and tell him that I had told her what he had done. He immediately came over and talked to her privately. Later, she told me that I deserved it because I hadn't been wearing a bra. The fact that I was flat as a fritter didn't matter. I didn't even need to wear a bra until I was around 30. Even then I wore those "nearly A cup" sizes.
I also sent her a copy of my story that was published in the Gazette for Christmas. You know the one about the little girl that didn't have a Christmas. She was upset that I would let a drunk paw over a little girl while I was around. It didn't matter to her that there was nothing sexual in his attentions to his daughter and that I had done all I could to keep him away from her when I was around during their visit.
That episode happened when my health was at it's absolute worse after my heart failure diagnosis. I was going in the hospital every few weeks and I was homeless and renting rooms from people that I had never met - including the man who rented me the room I was living in over Christmas that year. You would think I would be living with my family (especially my mom the nurse) but when I went to her and told her I was going to be homeless because I couldn't work enough to support myself, her response was, "you deserve to be homeless because of the choices you have made in your life."
I ended up having to leave that man's house and many of my belongings because he allowed another man to steal my food and threaten me. I couldn't even return to get my stuff and I was too sick to get any help about the situation. My mom's response to that situation was that he must have wanted to get rid of me because I didn't pay my rent. My rent was paid in advance by the way. I guess she has to tell herself something because she didn't help me.
There were even relatives calling her and asking her to help me to no avail. Of course they didn't help me either so they weren't any better. I should point out that right after I got sick, before I was evicted from my home (the first time in my life that had ever happened) she did show up on my doorstep and she paid my rent, car payment and car insurance for one month. She told me she was "buying a month of my life" and that was all she would do. She pointed out how pitiful it was for a 44 year old woman to be in that kind of position. It didn't matter that I hadn't been able to work for almost a year before she even knew I was having a problem and couldn't understand why I didn't have a 3 month cushion to live on.
All together she gave me about $1100. Which I will be forever grateful for but she had to do it in a way that completely stripped me of my self esteem. She didn't want to "throw good money after bad after all." I repaid half of it because she wouldn't allow me to repay the rest. Now I have to listen to her brag that she got such a good deal paying $1100 for 2 couches but to spend that money on me was a waste. "Priorities" I guess.
Comments like that are the reason I only go to see her a couple or three times a year. If I keep my visits to a minimum then she is grateful to see me and we have nice visits. Any more than that is just an invitation for a full on verbal assault.