Hateful Mommy Hyde–Part 3


When my dimestore sister Meg and I were…oh, I don’t know how old, but maybe 6 and 7–we began getting terrible, terrible leg pains at night. So terrible that we cried and cried, and couldn’t go to sleep.

The pain was so bad that I would bicycle my legs on the mattress to make friction against the sheets, because the heat that was generated would distract me just the slightest bit from the nightmarish pain, and any distraction, no matter how tiny, was worth it. But then my legs would begin to hurt too much to move them, and I’d have to stop, until they hurt too much not to move them, so I’d start up again.

This is what I remember:

My mom coming to the door of the room Meg and I shared, and giving each of us one tiny orange St. Joseph’s aspirin for children, with a small sip of water to wash it down after we chewed it. Then, my mom walking out the door, leaving us behind to cry.

That’s all she did. If she did more, or said a sympathetic word, I don’t remember it.

This is also what I remember:

My dad coming in sometimes to rub our legs, which made the pain lessen while he was rubbing. It came back as soon as he stopped, but oh, the bliss of having that relief while he rubbed them!

I would look on impatiently in envious agony while Meg had her turn. I imagine she would do the same while I had mine.

Once, mom asked our pediatrician what was causing the pain. He said “Growing pains. Don’t worry about it. They’ll grow out of it.”

It took some years, but we did.

My first son also suffered from “growing pains”. I, being a parent who loved him, did everything I could. My hands had such awful lupus arthritis at times when my boys were young, and sometimes it hurt me so much at the end of the day to massage his legs and knees…but of course, I did it.

Since I had suffered myself, I knew the techniques and places that I had learned as an adult worked on me–under and around the kneecaps, especially–and they worked on him, as well.

With his doctor’s okay, I also gave him an anti-inflammatory at a dose appropriate to his weight. If he’d had a particular bad night, I gave him another the next morning, and one on days before he was going to be highly active, to ward off that night’s pains.

Because I knew now that what he had merely a brush of, and what Meg and I had suffered from, was juvenile arthritis.

A few years back, I was at my mom’s house, and saw for the first time a photo of her as a little girl. She was a highly-attractive four-year-old, with an older girl’s self-presence, very artfully posed.

“Mom! You were so beautiful! You look like an actress!”
“I remember that day. I hated it. The doctor had just left, and they made me get out of bed for that picture.”

Black and White Face

This Isn’t Like My Usual Posts. Here Is the Only Picture.

What do you mean, ‘the doctor just left’? What was he there for?”
“For my treatments.”

“WHAT ‘treatments’?”
“He used to come to the house twice a week and give me my medicine for my legs. I had J.A.”

“MOM! You KNEW you had juvenile arthritis? You never said a thing when Meg and I were suffering when we were young!”

Dead silence from Mrs. Hyde.

Dear Mom: If you didn’t hate us both, someone outside the family might say you did a very good job of acting like you did.

(If Macy Girl had gotten leg cramps each night so bad they made her cry, would it have been the same?)
 
Episode 3 of a 7-part series that will be posted daily. Following that, the focus will shift away from my mommy issues.
 
Hateful Mommy Hyde–Part 4
 

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33 Comments

  1. Paul

     /  2014/08/19

    God. She knew all that time and did nothing. I have a hard time with people like that.

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  2. Yemie

     /  2014/08/19

    Oh Wow! I thought having had to have experienced a thing, prepared and furnished one to be well able to take on such, if it ever does present itself again. After all, what does not kill one, only makes one stronger! What was your mum’s excuse for leaving you and Meg in such great pain, having experienced that too at some point?! She really’s cold and quite the meanie! This is very disheartening, only best imagined!

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    • She never did answer. Whenever a question made my mom uncomfortable or challenged, she didn’t give an answer. She just stared back at you.

      I don’t recall when, but I realized quite a few years back that I was doing the same thing. In my case,when I examined why I was doing it, it was for similar reasons. My internal feelings when it occurred were that I was overwhelmed with embarrassment–It happened in situations where I had just realized I had indeed done something wrong, or I had indeed misunderstood something. Sometimes the error had occurred due to the mental confusion of a flare of my illness, or it had occurred due to the manipulation of my then-husband, and sometimes it was entirely my fault.

      But the overpowering embarrassment was equal in all cases, because I was conditioned by my childhood abuse to feel that huge guilt for everything. Maybe that is what was going on with my mom.

      I cured myself. I still feel the embarrassment, but I SPEAK now,and address the issue.

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  3. What a poignant story, though it’s real! How sad that your mother wasn’t able to show that she cared.

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    • Your comment reveals what a loving soul you are. I actually do not think she cared very much. I think she was not capable of caring very much. From what I have concluded, she and her husband are the types of people who should not have had children.

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  4. I’ve been reading your series with much interest, and thought I’d wait until the end to comment. But today, I have two words: mind blown.

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    • The later ones are really bogged-down. I kept thinking of more I wanted to add, and now I keep thinking of more and more. Like when my mom announced just before the beginning of my junior year in HS that she would no longer buy me any clothes. (My father made the equiv. of mid-six figure salary). Since, in our area at that particular time, jobs were impossible to come by for girls–even chambermaid and babysitting jobs were tight, tight–I had quite a challenge for the next 2 years of HS and 4 years of college (I worked through college but turned over monies to parents). I bought a pair of “blessed” jeans 🙂 for $2 and wore them for six years, patching them many times. The semester spent on the shore of Lake Ontario wearing those jeans is a memory, I’ll tell you!

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  5. RR

     /  2014/08/19

    Unfortunately not every parent does a good job. Not every parent is meant to parent. And sometimes, parenting can vary child to child. We both know that the latter statement is fact.

    I am sorry you suffered so. Perhaps what was lacking from your own childhood (bolstered by the love of your father) is the “stuff” that helped to make you a fabulous mom. My apologies if I have overstepped here and shoved words in your mouth…but I long feared having children. I figured my maternal lineage proved what the outcome would be. I never played house or with dolls. Made my younger brothers be farm animals instead of babies. ☺ As a teen I was told getting pregnant would be very difficult. Well, that seals that, eh?

    But then I met my husband. And we suffered miscarriages. There would be no kids (that way) for us. The loss and it’s meaning saddened me. So it turned out I did want to be a mom. And when we found out we were expecting I made it my mission to do everything I could to get my “bonus” baby here healthy. Which involved doing a litany of things I dislike doing but from the moment that I decided I was MOM that’s been my most important job. Aside from my own general maintenance. I can’t care for anyone if I’m not at my best nor am I naive enough to think being a mom is my only job.

    I guess, after all that nattering, in an oddly and a$$-backwards kind of way I am not terribly at odds with it all because I came out on top.

    And I believe you did too. ☺

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    • Rebecca, you will be a wonderful parent because you have intelligence,
      self-examination (willingness to question your own behavior)
      love,
      a husband who will work with and not against you.

      As to the kind of parent I was, I addressed that in my answer to Margaret Rose (M-R) here.

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      • RR

         /  2014/08/19

        Thank you for the kind words.

        I am sorry you do not currently have a relationship with your sons. It is a terrible shame. And their loss.

        I suppose if we can look at our parents as just ‘people’ the same can be employed when it comes to our children. We reach a point (sometimes) where we cannot assume responsibility or even put forth further effort simply because we were raised by someone or ourselves raised someone.

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        • The pain has been incredible. Devastating. Of everything I’ve been through, surviving the loss of my children has taken the greatest strength of all. I am so very proud that I have come to the point where I could
          (1) recover from the worst of my grieving,
          (2) let go of guilt for mistakes I made–for every parent makes mistakes, and the situation I was living in, with the spouse I had would have tested anyone
          (3) recognize that they own responsibility for their current ugly choice, and
          (4) for this I am so grateful–that I could begin to experience the memories of their childhood with pleasure as well as pain.

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          • RR

             /  2014/08/19

            You should be proud. It is a lot of hill to climb. Most people would not be able to have done all of that. Especially with the grace you have.

            Liked by 1 person

            Reply
  6. Katherine

     /  2014/08/19

    Fortunate for us readers that you’re brave enough to share your stories, which are inspiring for some and, I’m sure, for others puts their own childhood and challenges into perspective. The act of writing these, I hope is transformative and healing — but the process is so hard. Your mom was absolutely a terrible parent. What you went through and the strength, talent, humor (and justifiable anger) and insight you exhibit now is remarkable.

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    • Brave? Hey, the way I see it, my insurance covers few therapist’s sessions. Spewing on this blog and getting kind, supportive responses from people like you, Katherine–You-all are giving me totally free “You go, girl!” therapy 🙂

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      • Katherine

         /  2014/08/19

        spewing, indeed. Since I live in NYC and ride its subways in very close quarters, I have definitely seen my share of venting.

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        • ALL public transport. I, too, have ridden the subways there, but some of the L.A. bus routes compete. The scariest public transport ride I ever had was in Columbus, Ohio (!) (apparent schizophrenic armed with a mason’s trowel).

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        • Katherine–
          Just returned from my daily walk, and the whole time was wondering about YOUR experiences–what is your scariest or freakiest subway encounter?

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          • Katherine

             /  2014/08/20

            it was St. Pat’s day in the mid-90s and I needed to cross 5th avenue to arrive at my husband’s and my publisher, who was hosting a green party from his perfectly perched office over the parade route. I shared that I would be taking the subway, to which my husband responded sharply that it was too dangerous on a day like that.

            Since I embrace adventure, I figured I could readily handle a milling crowd of green-faced folks who had imbibed too much green beer. So I went.

            totally anticlimactic. few people obnoxious despite the close quarters. perhaps it was the rain that dampened the drinking spirit. I gloated at the prospect of proving my worrying husband wrong. He was and still is pretty protective.

            I exited the train at 59th Street and made the climb up to a landing and was about to turn and climb the remaining stairs when I noticed an old man, a bit disheveled, smiling at me. I smiled and nodded in return.

            That was when he opened his raincoat and actually flashed me.

            Sooo, not scary, kindof freaky but mostly hysterical. It was the best ending to share with my husband and those gathered in the publisher’s suite. My husband, first aghast, quickly composed himself and then simply nodded and smiled in that knowing way that sure did reflect his transparent thoughts. “Told you so.”

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            • I love that image of you smiling and nodding at your flasher-to-be! Were you irked that your husband was right? How lovely, though, that he is so caring and protective of you : )

              Quite glad nothing worse occurred that day!

              BTW, you must know this already, since you mention your publisher, but gee, can you cobble together a tale.

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  7. Can’t explain moms. Sorry. We’re all enigmas in our hearts.

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  8. There’s tale that juvenile arthritis works much the same way as fairies… perhaps if you’d followed your dear mother’s lead and simply stopped believing in it…

    O.Babe, always a problem child.

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  9. Gobsmacked!

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  10. You said it. That’s how I felt that day.

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  11. This makes me so damn mad I could spit.

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    • Confession (most prob’ly guessed): These stories were either written years back, or drafted. I just couldn’t face ’em, for the same reason. Still don’t know if, as I go on, I’ll be able to finish what I began. They’re not all grim, but they remind me of a grim time and a very grim reality.

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    • Jeez. I had been looking at my latest teaching post when I read your comment this morning, and had thought it was to THAT you were referring. THOSE are the stories which were written or roughed out years back. The mom ones I worked out to work out her death. Very helpful.

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  12. I too had growing pains. I was diagnosed at 15. Fifteen seems to be the emergence of AI’s in this house, or an unlucky coincidence. It’s too early to say yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Sorry to hear. For all my unluckiness, I am the luckiest of the lucky when it comes to my autocidal illnesses, and how much they brushed my children–last I heard, which is years ago now.

      For all my unhappinesses and sharing of same, I credit a lot of my health to my friggin’ hard work at a positive attitude.

      Your Happiness post, excellent as it is, could be darned depressing for someone who is socially isolated. Set a timer, or look at a sweep second hand, Joey, and, for just 30 seconds, imagine a year of your life with no husband, no children, no parents, grandparents, cousins, or friends but one who lives at a distance you see rarely, and two others occasionally by phone–do you see how the other happinesses, while still happy, seem minimized significantly? I am proud of myself for not going mad. Yet.

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  1. Hateful Mommy Hyde–Part 2 | The Last Half

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