I wrote this a couple years ago and this weekend I spent some time with a mutual friend of ours and realized how much I still miss my Mommy.
I miss my Mommy.
The sad thing about the sentence above is that I can't actually remember her being my "mommy", oh, she was my mother, that there is no denying, but was she my mommy? I couldn't tell you right now if my life depended on it. So tell me, how can I miss somebody I think I never really knew?
I wanted to write a tribute to the one person who shaped me into the woman I am today, but, I can't because sometimes I feel I raised myself. Oh, don't get me wrong, I remember my mother, I remember her love, that is undeniable, I do remember her comforting me when I was scared, yelling at me for some random stupid stuff I did. But she wasn't there sometimes, it was like she was detached from me.
I remember her eyes, they were a shade of hazel greenish mixed with brown, she had beautiful auburn hair that never, ever needed chemicals, though she couldn't stand it sometimes. People always said that I looked just like her and that I now I act just like her, but I just can't see it. I would post a picture, but I don't have any, she hated the camera, I could never get her to smile when I was taking photos.
I was born at 5946 S. Indiana, I can put this up here because that location is no longer there, We lived there the first 6 years of my life, and in that time, I can't remember her walking me to school or any birthday parties. But I remember my uncle who was in a wheelchair, he used to comb my hair everyday before school.
I remember stowing away in my uncle's car one time because she wouldn't let me go to the drive-in with them. I have vague memories of my mother's wedding to my step father. I don't remember her being pregnant, but I do remember when she came home from the hospital in 71 and telling me my baby sister had died because she had a hole in her heart, that is the one distinct memory I had.
I remember we had to move because of a fire in the winter of 1972. They woke me up and carried me out of the basement apartment in my pajamas to a police car for safe keeping, I remember the apartment courtyard next to us looked like all of the basement apartments had fireworks exploding in them. When I think about it now, it must have been all of the emergency vehicles. I remember being told later that someone threw a molitav(sp) cocktail through the upstairs bedroom where my grandmother's uncle lived.
I remember my grandmother walking around with rollers in her hair, and my mama used to pincurl her hair.
I remember she smoked, that smell will never leave me, it may also be why I never smoked either. She loved liver and onions, brussell sprouts, lima beans and chittlins…bleeech…lol
I remember once walking in on her an my step-father and he had the biggest bowl of weed I had ever seen, now or then…lol
I remember she had epilepsy, and always being terrified she would have a seizure when I was alone with her…and of course, she always did, and her medicine never really controlled it. She was a sleepwalker, I would wake up because the doorbell was ringing and she would be outside in her nightgown, not knowing where she was or who I was. Most times she could feel it coming on and would warn me, but there was nothing anyone could do about it, I do remember feeling extremely helpless when that happened because even though I knew she couldn't control it, it hurt that when she came out of it, she never knew who I was.
I remember she was a terrible housekeeper and I remember she slapped the shit out of me once because I didn't put the cap back on the toothpaste.
After she got divorced, I remember her dating this Greek guy that really weirded me out.
I don't remember us spending much time together, she worked for Trans Union Credit back when it was at 425 N. Michigan and she worked all the time. I remember her being extremely stubborn and opinionated, to the point I was embarrassed to go places with her.
I don't remember her being at any of my school functions except for graduations. But I do remember that I almost gave her a heart attack when I ran away, she never tried to find me, but she was slick and had my boyfriend at the time come and get me and bring me home.
I remember that when my puppy dug into my first boyfriends bookbag and took out his jock strap and she found it under the kitchen table, she asked me was I having sex, I told her no (I was telling the truth then). This was the advice she gave me, "Good, never let your emotions control you." Now, at that time I was 14, what the hell was I supposed to do with that information, hell, I'm damn near 40, and I still have trouble with that concept. I never had the "sex talk" with her…everything I learned about sex was taught by my girlfriends and my boyfriends…and school of course…
I remember the look on her face when I told her I was pregnant when I was 16 and the sheer fear that she was going to whip my natural black ass for it. But she didn't, all she said was that the only choices I had were to have an abortion or give the baby up, or I wouldn't have any place to live. And she almost forced me to have an abortion, but I could not and after I read the fine print on the authorization form that stated I didn't have to do it if I was being forced or otherwise coerced…she looked like she was going to die right there, she had never been so mad at me as she was then. I remember that when I delivered, she didn't want me to see my baby because she didn't want me to hurt more than necessary.
As I sat down to write this I kept drawing a blank, like I had a wall up between me and my memories. I initially wrote this down long-hand, hoping that it would help me to remember more, but it didn't. I wanted to be honest and open with my memories, but I couldn't seem to focus, it felt like my brains were scrambled. But once I started to type, it seemed like I remembered more than I knew I did. I see I could go on and on, but I won't. There is so much more now, this has helped me immensely to remember my Mommy.
Rest in Peace, Cynthia Irene, February 9, 1999.
She did the best she could with the tools she had and honestly, her shortcomings were not what made me who I am, it was her strengths….