Growing up with a woman who has two completely different personalities was one of the hardest things.
I remember when I was younger and it was just my mom, stepdad, brother and I. She was the mom you would see in the tv shows. She was beautiful, young, and resilient. She had a smile that lit up the room, a laugh that was contagious.
She’d spend hours in the kitchen and hosted every holiday without a second thought. She always loved her family. She always talked about the day when I’d get married and give her grandchildren. She looked forward to the huge family events that would happen because of her.
Every night before I’d go to bed she would read us a few poems from the book falling up. When I couldn’t fall asleep she would trace her fingers across my forehead. She would would sing “sweet pea” by Tommy Roe. When she was done she would tell me how much she loves me and kiss me goodnight.
These seem like the things a mother should do but these soon became distant memories I missed and wished back.
When I was about 9 she was about to have her fourth kid, the sister I had been praying for. After having two brothers I wanted someone to play with and share with.
Never did I think that she would be the one I would have to take care of…
My stepdad had quit his job and slept in the basement. He would only wake up at night to go see my mom at one of the two bars she was working at. My sister would cry and cry when he left. I would sing her to sleep and trace my fingers across her head as my mother used to do to me. I would get up to change her and feed her and I fell in love with her. I didn’t think much of it.
At the time I didn’t realize what they were doing as I was only 10. All I knew was that someone needed to love her, especially when they had to leave to “get better.”
But it didn’t end there. It got worse and better over and over and over again. Each time it got worse after things being good I lost a little hope.
The days she smiled and got out of bed were amazing. She would listen to music and paint the most beautiful pictures. She would cook dinner. She would talk about life and all of her goals.
The days that she wouldn’t even get out of bed were the days that really got to me. I’d open the door to her dark bedroom every hour to let her know what time it was and once it hit 5pm I knew she wasn’t getting out of bed. She would cry all day and not eat for days. She would threaten to kill herself over the house not being clean and how nothing will ever make her happy.
Eventually even her good days got bad. She would stay up for 4 days straight and lost 50 pounds. I didnt judge her because at least she was out of bed.
The bad days didn’t get too much worse but they became frequent. So frequent that I couldn’t even find a bit of happiness in her eyes.
I spent my whole life making sure she felt special and showing her that someone cares.
Now that I have a child of my own I feel like I failed my mom since I can’t bear to stick around for the bad side of her. The side that she can’t even bare to live with.
Though it’s tough to love both sides of her, I’m afraid that one day she’ll give up on herself and there won’t even be someone there to love at all.