They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. In my case I fell as far away from the tree as I could get! The tree I came from was a young (17), drug addicted teen with a (can’t get enough men) problem. You know the song “keep coming back. It works if you work it so work it cause you’re worth it!” yeah, I learned that song before I was ever in the double digits. Thank you A.A and N.A for letting my mom drag her kid to your meetings. It was an extremely informative experience.
I didn’t grow up privileged. I didn’t even grow up middle class. I grew up poor. I am no stranger to standing in line for a free bag of food from the nearest homeless shelter. My mother never had a job. She lived off of the system. We ran out of food all the time because she would trade our food stamps for drugs. We always lived in the worst cockroach, ant and mice infested apartments that my mother must have really gotten a kick out of getting us evicted from. I went to five different elementary schools and I never even left the city! I never had any friends for longer than a year. The bright side, I always got to meet new people. The not so bright side, I’m not a huge fan of people.
My mother was a huge fan of ” dumpster diving”. When I was super young it didn’t bother me and I wanted to go where ever she did. She would pack me up late at night and we would drive around city clean up areas so she could dig though people’s unwanted belongings they left curb side. During the day she and I would frequent the dumpsters behind stores looking for the latest find. I will never forget eating old chocolate bars from the dumpster behind What is now big lots. It was grayish white and crumbled like a powder when you bit into it. It wasn’t the chocolate everyone else was eating but it was still chocolate to me. For my 16th birthday I got in a huge fight with my mom as she was high on meth amphetamines. She came to see me at my grandmother’s house and presented me with a small box with a clown on it. It had a tiny candy inside. I was heart-broken because I knew that she had gotten that from her latest trip to the Michael’s Arts and crafts dumpster. She sat it on the table, said happy birthday and left.
My mother was great at leaving. She would leave me at home in the middle of the night with her newest random man when i was just nine. Id wake up in the middle of the night and she would be gone. Unfortunately this is why I was sexually abused as a young child. she left me with my grandparents for days while she disappeared on one of her party binges. One day would turn into two and two would turn into a week. Once she came back late at night to see me and her face was bruised. She didn’t think I could see her because the room was dark but I could see her black eye just fine. My mother had a very bad habit of dating men or hanging out with men that had no issue hitting a woman.
I was nine when I realized my mother was a drug addict. I found her stash and called my grandmother immediately. When my mother found out she panicked and called my father and step mother and told them to come get me. I only saw my mother a few times for the first month or so and then she up and moved out-of-state for two years. Met yet another man and married him. Brought him home with her. He was really nice. too bad my mother wasn’t. He was gone within the month.
When I said my mother had a (can’t get enough men ) problem I mean she not only bounced from man to man but she married six of them. Not legally mind you because that would require a divorce first lol. I wish I could tell you all of their names but honestly I can only remember about three of them. You would think because of her serial marriages that she would’ve married my father but he managed to get a hall pass on that one due to them both being minors when they dated.
Going through my teen yours was a confusing time for me. I was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was young and I always had to take time out of each school day to see the special ed teacher for reading and writing. surprisingly those are my downfalls but here I am writing anyway. I struggled in a traditional high school setting so I decided to go to a continuation school. I know what you are thinking. Thats a school for bad kids. Well it’s also a school for a kid (me) who desperately needed smaller class sizes and teachers that actually wanted to help you and weren’t just there to get a pay check. I may not have fit in anywhere but I graduated with my class and with a 3.2 gpa. My biggest issues were honestly making friends. I never had many. I fit nowhere. The friends I did have knew about my home life and theirs wasnt much different from mine. This was probably what bonded us together. The friends I had that didn’t know about my home life or I didn’t feel like they would understand or look down on me, well those friends kinda fell off the radar. Now as an adult, the friends I had back then chose to follow more closely to the tree in which they fell from and therefore I don’t keep in contact.
Sitting here now being a mother of nine kids, Its mind-boggling to see where I came from and who I came from in comparison to where I am and who I am now. I don’t do drugs. I don’t even drink. Not even on special occasions anymore. I raise my kids to be loving respectful, kind and above all grateful for what they have. My children dont know what its like to not have food in their home. They dont know what a line of homeless people waiting for food looks like. They dont know what its like to have to wear their mothers clothes because they were too poor to buy them any of their own. My kids aren’t privileged. They are kids who get to live a life that every kid should. One with the necessities of life and the occasional yes to a want they may have. I’m not rich. I can’t afford $300 dollar Gucci belts but I can afford to buy them some target clothes and chocolate from inside the store! My kids know what having loving parents and a warm home feels like and a mother that would give her life for them.
I believe in God. I believe we get the hand we are dealt for a reason. I feel that I was dealt the hand I was to show me exactly what not to be. What not to do and to guide me to a place where I would have a heart big enough to love and care for nine children. My life is so chaotic and I never get a break but what I’m lacking in time I more than make up for in love. When I look at my kids I remember what it was like to feel like I wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough to make my mother better. I wasn’t enough to make my mother stop using. I want my children to always know that under any circumstances they are more than enough. I would never choose anything over them. They are the reason I wake up every morning. They are the reason I try so hard to make every single day a good day. A day worth remembering.
We all have our demons, our past. Even if our past wasn’t of our own doing. I’m not proud to say where I came from and I know a lot of you moms out there may feel the same way, but I am proud of who I’ve become.