I Remember When...the Story Of A Childhood Riddled With Pain And AddictionI remember when I was young, I had a mom. I remember that she was attentive and thoughtful and we lived in a big three-story house with a matching playhouse out back. I remember her watching ball games and coming on class field trips. I remember when I was 12 and my parents split up, we moved two states away from my dad. I remember my mom working all the time and I never saw her. I remember she locked herself in her room when she was home and I didn't see her, I only smelled something funny. I remember when she started bringing people to the house and that funny smell always followed. I remember when we moved, again, into the projects with her new boyfriend. I remember them staying in her room all afternoon and that smell was in the hall. I remember knowing what they were doing and wondering why she told me not to if she was doing it. I remember moving again, into a trailer, because she left her boyfriend but the smell still followed. I remember when she started locking me in her bedroom with her and the smell, I was 15. I remember going to "the man" in the 'hood to get her dope. I remember being scared because I was 16 and alone and the 'hood was scary, there were shootings and dealers on every corner. I remember my mom partying and doing tequila shots with me and the half-dozen men she invited home from the club. I remember those men looked at me and one of them touched me but she wasn't around, she was in her room with a man and that smell. I remember my boyfriend going to get coke for her and her handing me a straw in the bathroom. I remember being afraid and running away with a man 14 years my senior. I remember being confused, abused, neglected, and homeless half-way across the country and her telling me how worthless I was. I remember going home to her when I found out I was pregnant and she had moved in with another man. I remember having my daughter and joining the Army where I was called to Iraq. I remember leaving my daughter with my mom and begging my friend to go get my child when my mom wreck her truck, 6 times in a week. I remember coming home and moving out with my husband, an alcoholic who ended up abusing me too. I remember moving home again because I had no where else to go. I remember her locking me in her room again and sharing her dope, then she shared her percocet. I remember realizing she was never going to change and getting out and away, going to college. I remember getting clean and staying clean, and away from her. I remember her insults when I wouldn't let my kids go visit her alone. I remember holding my head high and saying no. I remember wondering why she didn't teach me the right way to be, a responsible adult and why she didn't protect me and love me. I remember getting clean and staying clean.
I learned at a very young age that if I wanted to make it in the world and make something of myself, that I had to rely on myself. I was treated as an adult long before I was ready and I can honestly say that I have made my fair share of mistakes. I didn't have a role model to show me the right way. I had to find that path myself. I learned to work, and work hard, to pay bills, put food on the table, and gas in the car before I was even able to sign my name legally. I experienced the pains and realities of war before I could legally buy an alcoholic beverage. I learned to look after my mother before I could drive a car. Life "ain't been no crystal stair" but I "keep climbing," one step at a time and I do my very best to be able to give my children what I never had, the opportunity to grow up and enjoy childhood, all of it.I know now that life doesn't have to be that way and that I am smart and capable and a good mother to my children who are happy and healthy. I know I will never be like her and she will never be in my life in a major way again, it is a dangerous situation no matter how strong I believe I am. She has power over me to tempt me like no other and I refuse to give her that power. I know she will not hurt me again and she will not hurt my children. I know I am better than that. I know that I cannot fix her or make her stop but I can stop her from impacting me. I am graduating with my BA in six months and I will be an elementary teacher and I will be an example and a positive influence on my children and the children that I teach in the future. I know that I will help all children to be the best they can be and teach them the right way, even if their parents don't care, mine didn't.