It’s funny, how certain memories stay with you. Some memories just remain so vivid and close, but I can’t remember where the hell my wallet is?
There is a particular memory that came rushing back to me this afternoon. I was fourteen and my brother was ten. My mother was ridiculously bad at life and so we were homeless. We lived in a 1985 Chevrolet Blazer. Yeah, the small one. This sucked. We parked outside of a stupid-small travel trailer that a relative lived in, but with minimal elbow room inside that tin can, we slept in the car.
This memory is crazy because for Christmas that year, my mom was even worse at gift-giving. My brother and I were absolutely lucky to even have the car to sleep in, I know, but she thought for Christmas we should have wall posters from some dollar store. What the actual fuck?!? We didn’t have a single wall on which to hang said posters, but we had something to open for Christmas morning! Gold star for mom!
(Editor’s note: Need segway here) (Author’s note: Why the hell do you need a fancy self-balancing scooter to navigate my writing?)
I used to wait nervously outside of my mother’s drug dealer’s house while she negotiated her weekly fix. Later on as a tween, I would be invited in to witness these transactions! A vast majority of my extended family was well aware of this shit! She was never very secretive about these things. She was, without a doubt, open and forth-coming about most things.
In hindsight, I have often wondered why CPS was never contacted. Why did no one think that some sort of outside intertervention would be warranted? Maybe my family was just very tight-knit. Perhaps no one gave a damn.
All things considered, I suppose I did learn what NOT to expose my own children to. In a twisted way, that was possibly an actual hard-knock lesson. Huh.
What about making arrangements with a family member to take your children until you can get back on your feet? Nope. My mother made the executive decision to maintain her “duty” to be ever watchful and protect us from things like vitamins, extra-curricular activities and decent sleeping quarters.
That also reminds me of the first time that I begged and pleaded to play organized sports.
“Little kids get hurt playing sports” she would say.
“Mom, it’s fine. I’m like 12! I can play football.” I lied. Soccer was totally more my game. Full disclosure here, I just desperately wanted to impress a cheerleader who was the most beautiful cheerleader that ever lead a cheer.
“We can’t afford it. Besides, we don’t have a car to get you to games.” This “we are poor” shit was always a good fall back. Even I could understand that.
“It’s free and we ride a bus!” I was getting desperate now, tossing guesses out there like blind cows in a twister. I really had no idea.
“We will see.” Boo-yeah! That was her go-to answer when she couldn’t argue with a 12 year old. She had no comeback, no answer. I had her right where I wanted, and I knew it.
My first football game was a disaster. I sucked worse than a one-armed wallpaper hanger (no offense to any one-armed paper hangers that may be reading this). I played one down of what Coach could only describe as “un-fucking-believable!” and not in a good way. I was charged with grabbing the ball from the quarter back, and I was supposed to run right, then straight, effectively dodging any challengers and scoring a touchdown. I grabbed the ball and froze, getting the wind knocked out of me and wondering what the hell just happened. I wanted to see a birth certificate for that kid that hit me. He was way too big!
I spent the rest of that game moving the down markers on the side lines (Hey, at lest I was getting some on-ish field action!) Afterward, my mother was a little too honest with me about my athletic abilities, but I wanted to hold my commitment to my team. It was the first team that I had ever been apart of. I did get much better at football and actually made a play, once!
As I got older, I asked my mother why she refused to let us play Pee-wee sports. Isn’t that what kids do to build confidence and learn what they like? She replied that she was mostly afraid of us kids getting injured (still is), and she ended most of those inquiries with statements about protecting us from being molested. Uh-oh! Look out, mom of the century right there, folks!
So in short, she was afraid that any away from home activities would lead to her dear children being injured or molested. This lead to me being a home-body for most of my crap childhood and the remainder of my few years living at home.
I would say that I actually turned out okay. A shrink actually told me once that considering the circumstances, I seemed spectacular. His words, not mine.
I leave you to return back to your side of the fence, and relish in your own childhood. If you spot any green grass over here, it’s likely the spot over the septic tank.