Mom and her horse "Rita"
As a child, my mother suffered much worse things than I ever did. Physical and sexual abuse from her alcoholic father. My grandfather. I wasn't there of course, but from what she's told me over the years, I'd bet mental illness as well. Who wouldn't with a childhood like that. Her mother died when she was very young. I never met the lady, but I hear she was good. She had left my grandfather while my mom was a kid.
Mom never really grew up. Had me and married my dad at a very early age. 16 or 17 I think. She considered herself a hippie. What she actually was, was much different. Buck-wild with no identity. A child who was indifferent to everyone's needs except for her own instant gratification. She ran around on my dad frequently and often brought me with her. After she left, and my dad divorced her, she disappeared for a few years. We'd see her from time to time. As a child, that primal instinct to be with my mother kicked in when I saw her. It hurt that she didn't seem to have much time to even say "Hi".
The day came when my dad walked into my room and said that she wanted to see me. I don't remember how old I was. It was a Sunday and it was my birthday (or close to it). I must've gone silent, because my dad told me I didn't have to go if I didn't want to. I tend to abruptly go silent if something isn't sitting well. I said I would, though. She picked me up and took me to my aunt's lakehouse. Gave me a couple of toys and we called it a day. For quite a few years (and husbands) after that, that was pretty much the routine. Going out to eat, getting guilt gifts, spending a weekend here and there.....
These years brought alot of disappointment and grief as well. She'd say she was coming, not show up, and I'd be crushed. She spent an amazing amount of time partying. She drank and did alot of drugs. Never right in front of me mind you, but looking back on different occasions, certain things make a whole lot of sense. As a child and early teen, I never really knew why we'd go right to some stranger's house after picking me up... with me sitting alone in the car for an hour or two. There were quite a few shady things that went on, that in my later years I realized were starting to fall into place. She'd been involved in numerous illegal activities and been through many unhealthy relationships. Some of the relationships were potentially healthy, however, and those were the shortest lived.
Today, her past has caught up with her. She's become a sad recluse. Most folks wouldn't even recognize her. She's still delusional in a lot of ways. Still an active addict. Lives in a rundown house in central Alabama. I call her from time to time to see how she's doing. She loves to give me advice. She's always saying she wants grandkids (not sure that I'd let her see them when that time comes). One of the things that gets me most, though, is that she expects me to take care of her when she's old. I don't like talking to my mom, and when the subject goes to that... well... let's just say that my serenity starts slipping away. I'll do my best to make sure that she is ok, but I have my own life and future family in which to devote everything I have to give. To make damn sure that my children never experience what I had to. Or she had to.