I am often asked what do I do? As if I sit at home all day drinking grape sodapop and eating gummy bears. I do do that, but only because I have children. I have the best job in the world. I am a SAHM - Stay At Home Mom. I often compare myself to my own mother, who was also a SAHM, although not by choice.
My mother - to begin to describe her essence into mere words already puts the writer at a disadvantage. Where I am grey, my mother was sunshine yellow. Where I am fearful, my mother was bold. Where I am shy, my mother was outspoken. Where I am cautious, she was reckless, even fearless. Growing up in our household was always an adventure.
I am the polar opposite of my mother. I feel often as though the universe took the worst (as defined by society) traits of my mother and my father, threw them into a test tube, added some unknown ingredients just for a fun experiment and poof, out I came.
I live through two things, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. My husband accepts me for who I am and our home life is terrific. I live for my children, and for my writing.
My writing is where my demons, my angels, my hopes sit alongside my fears. It’s where I can be anything I want to be. I can explore all the aspects of myself that I don’t always know how to share with any other living being, explore them without hurting anyone, and then put them back on a shelf with none being the wiser.
My mother was probably borderline manic. She died when I was 17 in a car accident. She had taken off to go to Las Vegas with a couple of friends, leaving my father and me alone to fend for ourselves while she went off on another adventure. Don’t get me wrong, she always invited us along but that wasn’t practical. She’d laugh her whimsical laugh with the pity in her eyes blazing. I would look up from my book and wonder at this dazzling creature before me. She’d look at me as though I was not HER child.
My father was quiet, but morose. How those two ever found their way into each other’s arms I have no idea. I suppose they loved each other in their own way but I never understood it, and I vowed that MY relationship was not going to be like that, and I that I would never be a mother like her - not that there was a snowball’s chance in h*** that it would be.
Mother would be high as a kite one day, and somber the next day - sometimes multiple times in the same day. If anyone were to shatter her dreams, burst her bubble, pop her balloon, as she’d say in disgust, she would deflate, almost literally. She’s shrink back into herself and suddenly the world became a dark place, a scary place, a fearful and frightening place.
I gave up on her when I turned into a teenager. She didn’t understand my pain and I certainly didn’t understand hers. I couldn’t understand the incessant need for drama and wanted someone to be my mother, not my friend. She wanted someone to go on wild adventures with her.
Often I wonder if my father ever had her checked out, but back then there was so much stigma placed on mental illness, and the places so horrible, I doubt he did. He never wanted to hurt her and only wanted to please her, although nothing he ever did was good enough.
I write because I have a NEED to write. To spill these words on paper. My favorite writing is taking a kaleidoscope vision of someone’s life and putting a direction to it, forming a story. Sometimes the stories take a while to percolate. Other times talking to someone I can visualize their story almost immediately. I agree with the premise “people are fascinating.”
This gives me a chance to slip inside someone else’s skin for a while. I check them out, dig into their lives a little bit, review their “best foot forward.” The stories make me laugh, they make me cry, but whatever they do - they make me do SOMETHING. And that’s a powerful thing inside each of us.