Tag Archives: Mom

Life & History, Part the First

There’s this website called Making Light (often abbreviated to ML). I’ve been reading it so long I don’t even know when I found it, or even how, although it was probably by way of either Neil Gaiman or John Scalzi (both of whom are terrific writers and both of whom you should check out). At any rate, a few years back on or near the autumnal equinox, one of the moderators there, abi, started what she called the Dysfunctional Families Day thread, based on the idea that not everyone’s family of origin (birth, foster or adoptive family, whatever structure it was that raised them) was the basis for a Norman Rockwell painting or a gooey-sweet greeting card. That some people, in fact, had had it rough, and some had had it horrifically, terrifyingly bad, and many of them were still dealing with the fallout. So she started that thread as a safe haven, where people could talk without judgment about what they’d experienced, share coping mechanisms, ask for advice, or just…talk. Get it out of their systems, because sometimes just being able to do that, to talk to people who weren’t going to immediately say, “Oh, but you have to forgive [parental unit/sibling/other relative] despite the fact they did [horrific thing] — they’re your family!”

Well, no, being family doesn’t actually give you the right to fuck up someone else’s life, even if you didn’t mean to do it.

And every year around the first day of autumn, a new Dysfunctional Families Day thread would go up, and a couple of months later, it would essentially peter to a halt and abi would close it until the next year. Until 2011, when the thread filled up (reached nearly 1,000 comments) in just over two months and abi started another. And then another. And it stopped being an annual thing and is now ongoing because people don’t, it seems, only deal with family fallout during the holidays, although this is a particularly fraught time of year for a lot of people.

What I’m leading up to is that I posted on those threads quite often, those and the various Open Threads, when I was losing the fight to keep my house two years ago. I posted there because it was safe, because if I wanted advice I could ask for it, if I just wanted to vent, I could do that too, and it helped. My life was falling apart in ways I’d never imagined, and it helped to go to ML and write about it.

Things are so much better now. I just passed the one-year mark at my job, had my first annual review (of many, I hope), and they still like me, they appreciate me, they consider me an asset. Oh, I have room for improvement, I always do — and hell, if I ever did get a perfect review, where would I go from there? 😉 — but it’s good.

What follows began life as a post on Making Light, bad poetry and all. It’s been edited to add font differences in an attempt to make it easier to read, and proofed for the most obvious punctuation mistakes, but otherwise, what you see is what I wrote one dark night in 2011.

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Filed under fear, homelessness, inertia, job search, life & history, money

Mom

My mother would have been 89 years old today.  Would have been.  I didn’t realize it until later, but the day my car was totaled was the twentieth anniversary of her death.

And all I can think about is how glad I am that she isn’t around to see that I lost the house, that I’m living in a shelter, that my cats are living at the vet’s and that I don’t know how long it will take me to even begin paying him back.  Let alone how long it will take me to pay back all the people who’ve kicked in to help keep me afloat the last couple of years, helped me pay for my bankruptcy — there’s a supreme irony in the fact that if you have reached the point of needing to file, you’re too poor to afford to do it — and all the rest of it.

Let’s face it.  There’s a big part of me that’s ashamed.

There’s another part, of course, that points out my mom loved me and would never be ashamed of me as long as I was doing my best.  And I know it.  Another part that reminds me in no uncertain terms that if I’d had any idea this was waiting for me, I’d have made a whole boatload of different choices.  And I know that, too.  But like that line Julia Roberts’ character says to Richard Gere’s in Pretty Woman, the bad stuff is easier to believe.

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Filed under memories, writing

Independence

Long about 4:30 in the morning, Mom put the beans in the oven.

Two earthenware crocks, a gallon or so each I’d guess.  One tallish, about as big around as a salad plate, the other shorter but big around as a dinner plate.  Which came in handy, since Mom used an old salad plate — white with a green stripe around the rim — as the lid for the tall crock and a cracked blue willow dinner plate as the lid for the other.  A pound of beans apiece, Great Northerns (her preferred bean) or navy beans, picked over for pebbles or broken bits or shriveled specimens and poured into the crocks with water almost to the top of the crock, put to soak about 4:30 the afternoon before.

Soak 12 hours, bake 12 hours in a slow oven.  That was Mom’s rule of thumb. Continue reading

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Filed under holidays, homelessness, memories