With Mothers Day fast approaching I find myself reflecting on motherhood.
I look back at my early childhood and truthfully I do not remember a lot. Not sure if it is because it was a long time ago or maybe my mind has chosen to block out a lot of it.
You see - my mom is a great mom. Loving, compassionate, funny, would help out in any way she could – when she is sober.
I love my mom – but I HATE her disease. The following stories are not to bash or disrespect my mother – this is her disease that has caused these memories – not her. But these are some moments that have helped shape the type of mother I have become and the core values I think are very important.
My mom was so supportive through out my pregnancy. I was so excited to share our new baby with her. As a new mom, I was scared – the person I wanted there the most after Mark was . my . mom. There is just something about a mothers presence at that point in your life to just put you at ease. The day Karter was born obviously I could not wait for my mom to come down from PA. I was surprised when she said that she was not coming immediately but would be there the next day. I remember praying “please – let her be strong and sober. I need her”. The next day we did not hear from her, but then on Monday she said she was coming in on the bus and for Mark to pick her up at 6pm. I was thrilled!! I kept looking at the clock – 6:05, 6:15, 6:30 … finally Mark was back and opened the door to our hospital room – but - there was no one with him. My mom was so induced in her disease that she had neglected to call and let us know that she did not get on the bus. My heart sank and my eyes filled with tears. I looked at Karter and just remember promising him “I will always be there for you – you will always be able to rely on me”.
I remember in high school money was tight for my mom. Her and my dad had divorced and she had lost her job as a nurse due to her addiction and struggled to maintain any job there after. I lost track of how many times the utilities were cut off and having to dodge landlords as they were wanting their rent money. I remember working to help pay these bills or the numerous ambulance bills that were necessary to get my mom to the hospital because she was too weak to even stand after many days of binge drinking. One instance that is still so vivid is I was staying at the farm with my dad and had not been able to get ahold of my mom for three days. On the fourth day I went to check up on her. I remember opening the door to her apartment and boom – a strong rotting smell instantly started making me gag. The first thought that came to my mind was – this is it. I am going to find my mother dead in her bedroom. I opened the bedroom door and luckily she was alive. The rotting smell was actually from the meat in the deep freeze – the power had been shut off and the meat was rotting. Once again my mom was so induced in her disease she did not even notice. As a mother – It is so important for me to provide a healthy, solid living environment for my son. To most parents – this is just a given to have a roof over your child’s head. It may seem like such a small accomplishment being able to provide the basic living needs for your child. But – I take pride in this. The fact that my son will never have to worry about losing our house or how we are going to pay the utilities is so important. I am so proud that my son will never have to worry about my health and wellbeing due to alcohol abuse. I want Karter to see me as a confident mom, not a poor, struggling woman whose addiction has robbed her of all her self worth.
I think one of the greatest gifts that I have given my son is that I stopped this disease from passing down another generation. My grandmother was an alcoholic, and then my mother. If it is in our genes I have no control. But the fact that my son will not be exposed to this addictive addiction on a daily basis is so empowering. He will observe that Mark and I deal with our problems not through downing a 66. I promised myself a long time ago I would never let that disease affect me and in turn my family.
I would like to finish this post by reflecting on a recent experience I shared with my mom – not her disease. Mark and I were married last August. It was a magical day and part of that magic was the fact that my mom was sober. She was such a strength for me the days leading up. It felt so good to be able to rely on my mom. Finally – she was there – for me!! I was so proud of her on our wedding day - she was happy and proud and so helpful. Everything a mom should be. A little girls dream of their mother helping them into their wedding dress came true. On that special day – My mom won - I won - and the disease lost.