“I’m one of those people … where I don’t know if anyone truly loves me … I really don’t know if anyone does.”
Being a mother can be hard … and lonely.
Shit, being a person can be hard … and lonely.
So how we approach parenting can be hard … and lonely.
Because before we’re parents, we’re people.
And the way that hard and lonely manifests itself in people is as unique as our fingerprints.
And when we think about how our parents are just people too, it really opens up our eyes to how cyclical that finger print can be. And not necessarily repeating the same cycle (remember I said it manifests itself in different people differently), because sometimes it can be about us avoiding the same cycles.
You see, it brings me back to Dirty Water.
Some of us were given dirty water and spend so much time trying to clean it; other times we were given dirty water and don’t even know where to begin to clean it; heck, other times we don’t even know its dirty water.
But I’m not here to judge the quality of anyone’s water.
I’m just here to talk about the water.
And for this first interview The People Series, while my conversational companion talked about being a mom because that is who she is and has been for the last 20 years … she also talked about her own mom.
And how the ugliness her mother’s dirty water has shaped her life … and the kind of mother … the kind of person she is.
So my position is not to judge anyone. It’s just to have conversations, tell stories, and learn, but not from any sort of indictment of anyone’s actions
… but just from life.
I thank her for being so open with me. It’s been a privilege to share your story.
I’m not going to draw this out anymore. Let’s get to it.
About Her: Woman, Chicago, 43, Divorced, Stay-at-home mom, 2 children living, 1 passed on, 1 unknown
|How do you spend your free time?
Well, I clean and I go on the phone. Not talking on the phone though … like Facebook and other social media.
|Are you happy?
Ummm … yeah? <pauses> Yeah. I mean I hate doing the same thing day to day, but I’m happy. Does that makes sense?
|What makes you happy?
Knowing that I have another chance after my second child died; that I still have this child living. The fact that she wakes up every morning makes me happy.
|What was the best moment of your life and why?
Oh my God … Oh my God … wow!
Let me see … I don’t even know.
The best moment, I guess, is when the pregnancy test with baby came out positive.
Oh! And the day I turned 18 and left my parent’s house!
It’s definitely a tie between the two.
Because my mom is a bitch, yo! She tried to control you every way she could. It was just bad … it was just bad. I came back after my second born died and then I left again.
Me and my mom can’t live together.
|What is one thing you regret? (And you can’t say “nothing”.)
The first thing I regret is when I found out I was pregnant with my first child and then not keeping her and giving her up for adoption.
The next thing is leaving my parent’s house when I was 18!
Looking back on it now, I could have just shut my mouth. But when you’re 18, you only think of you.
|If you could go back in time and change just one thing about your life, what would it be?
Yes … I definitely would change something. I always wondered, do you end up where you’re supposed to end up by your choices OR is it like they say and God knows what’s going to happen to you and you’re going to end up wherever you end up. If I had have done everything right, would I be in a better spot. Because I have friends who did everything right and they aren’t in the best of spots either.
|When was the last time you were in love?
I guess I’m in love now! <big laugh> I mean I love him, don’t get me wrong … but I think there is a point where being in love is kind of fine day to day. I don’t hate him. I mean, I think I’m in love with him.
|Do you think he loves you?
I would sure hope so! <laughs> I’m one of those people … where I don’t know if anyone truly loves me … I really don’t know if anyone does.
I think it has more to do with my mom and her loving me and the way she loved me. So when other people tell me they love me I’m like “really?” Do you really love me? Or do you love the idea of it? And he does take care of me and I don’t have to work and every day he asks me if I’m ok … go I guess he loves me.
Your parents mold you and they give you an outlook on what life is supposed to be.
But with her being so controlling … she was very controlling … and if you didn’t listen, you got beat. So I think that has a lot to do with it.
Tell me about the first time you were ever in love.
When I got my dog when I was 13. She was a Shepard mix named Megan. She was beat by the people who originally had her. She died in my arms when I was like 32.
Why did you love her so much?
Because … she was mine. It was the first thing that I had that loved me for me.
|What do you think people think of you? Do you care?
Friends and acquaintances? I have no idea.
General public? I would like to think “here she comes. Hey how ya doing?” <in a cheerful way>
So I don’t know … I don’t know … sometimes you have to put people in their place too. I went to the Family Dollar and this woman who is supposed to be waiting on me had a family member come in and so now she’s yelling at her aunt. So her aunt walks away and notices me annoyed and accuses me of calling her a name. So I had to curse her out. I would never say anything like that. So to HER, I’m not a nice person! <laughs>
So I guess it depends on who you are.
|What you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an RN. I wanted to be an RN until I had my second child … and then I couldn’t anymore. It was like How am I supposed to help these kids? How am I supposed to help their families? How do you help them when their children die? What are you supposed to do? Walk away? Like how could you do that?
When I had her, I felt trapped because I knew she was special … when she was a year old all of these people were coming to me, telling me about putting her in a special school and all of this S and there wasn’t any way that I would ever get out of it.
See, eventually with your kids, you know they’re going to be 18 and they’ll be able to make decisions without asking you for anything. But with my child, I would have had to do everything forever. Her quality of life was going to be S … she would have had that adult stroller … there was nothing I could do about it.
I didn’t want her to die, but her quality of life was S.
That sounds so bad doesn’t it?
She would have just been an empty shell … literally.
|What’s your favorite song? How does it make you feel?
GLORIA! My dad and I used to dance to it in like the garage and stuff. See now, my dad wasn’t there a lot growing up. He worked two jobs and my mom didn’t work at all. So I had some great memories with my dad.
I have this message from my mom from this morning. In it, she’s telling me she doesn’t like me.
But I don’t know because I really don’t like her either … so we’re even.
You know what’s crazy? I prayed for her to die since I was 14-years-old. I made a deal with God when I was 14 and I gave my baby up for adoption. I said, “if I’m going to give this child up for adoption, can you kill my mother for me?” But he didn’t. So God didn’t stick to his end of the deal.