The first thing I want to get down is about my mother.
It has been 12 years since I have seen or interacted with my biological mother.
It has been 17 years since the woman who raised me, my mommy, ceased to exist.
I hear, through my father, that she is still alive but not for very much longer. However, I don't want to talk about her just yet, that's another less happy post about a person whom I don't know.
This post is about the woman who raised me and what I remember of my 13 years with her.
My first memories of her are fuzzy and disjointed. I know I was not yet 5 years old, I remember my first day of Kindergarten and the house we lived in at that time. I remember she worked at Waffle House, that we didn't have a car so she walked to work, and sometimes I would walk with her to work. I remember crossing a bridge between home and her work. I don't have any memories of the Waffle House nor of the apartment we lived in but I do remember that bridge. Concrete and asphalt, 4 lanes wide and it didn't have any jump barriers, they weren't putting them up in the 80s. Apparently it wasn't a popular suicide method.
She was shorter than I am now. Probably 5'5" or so, had red hair though I think it was dyed, she went gray early. She had a small build, I think I was physically bigger than her when I was 13.
For most of my childhood I lived with her, my step-dad, 3 sisters, 1 brother, my niece, my nephew, my 2 cousins and other assorted family members in a 2 bedroom house. She and step-dad supported the entire household between them.
She worked at a VHS distribution company called ComTron. I don't remember what she did but she brought home a lot of screeners. Screeners are the movies they use to send to video stores to preview prior to them ordering rentable movies. As a consequence of her ethically-questionable media procurement I got to see a lot of movies I would not have otherwise been able to see as a kid. Between that and my dad's love of movie theaters I grew to love cinemas.
I had a lot of ear aches as a kid and I remember her spending hours and hours just trying to figure out how to make it better. Holding hair dryers to my ears and putting beeswax in when the pain became too much and all I could do is lay on the bed alternating whimpering and crying.
She also loved to read and while I don't recall being read to as a child, I do remember stealing many of the novels from her bookcase. The Anne Rice vampire series was my favorite. She also read a lot of bodice rippers but I never understood those. It's funny, it was only as an adult that I realized Anne Rice was obsessed with queer and gay men, and the vampire series was her way of exploring that.
My mom did arts and crafts, really liked to crochet. She taught me how, I never really did much but make chains. I think watching her paint and artistically modify our household items pushed me to art.
I remember the night she let me drink coffee for the first time, while she painted the kitchen ceiling. She let me have as much as I wanted. Then once I had made myself sick on coffee, she fed me crackers.
She taught me how to cook, how to do laundry, how to do household repairs...lots of little domestic things that I've built on over the years.
She was always busy. When it wasn't work, it was cleaning and cooking or the horde of people to take care of. We all helped cook and clean but it was never enough. She ran the household while we rotated around her.
*****I paused to commute to work and through talking about this post with my Partner In Crime (tm) and I was reminded of a few other memories.*****
My mom use to buy me puzzles. Lots and lots of puzzles. One of which was called the Visible Woman.
The last gift I received from my mom was a glass unicorn. I don't really go for chachkies but I do have some. I own around 2 dozen non-productive objects but I still have that unicorn. It's slightly broken but I have it. I still don't understand why she thought I would want a glass unicorn. It was one of the most bizarre gifts ever. I never asked why and she never volunteered. It didn't really need an explanation.
I miss her a lot sometimes.
Thank you for reading and sharing these memory with me.