I remember when I was six and all I wanted all the toys my sister had because hers were new and mine were her old toys. We lived with our first step dad. My mom had her first job; she cleaned houses after they caught fire or if they had a furnace blowback.She also cleaned up after rich people when they had parties or just before they came back from their summer or winter homes. She used to clean an aunt to the Bush family’s house in Kennebunkport (or thereabout). Every couple of years Stilla and I would have to go stay with family for a weekend while she went up there. I hated her job and was always embarrassed by her for it, even at six. She smelled really weird; like sweat, rotten cherries and orange peels. The odor became compounded by her Diet Pepsi addiction and heavy smoking.
I remember she used this product called Host to clean the carpets. It smelled so awful. I have always had a peculiar sense of smell so this stuff was extremely pungent to me and I absolutely hated it. She never understood why. This stuff is organic and supposedly all-natural and it works really well but the box and the vacuum you used for it were both big and bulky and she would keep them in the trunk of the car.
Everything smelled like this stuff and whatever spray she used with it. She got her nasty toe fungus from this stuff. Apparently no one told her not to wear sandals while cleaning and her common sense had not matured enough for her to figure this out on her own. Who cleans other people’s houses with heavy equipment and chemicals with sandals on? Do you understand the picture my childlike mind is trying to build for you. Even at six I felt like trash.
I think if I spent less time worrying about how she smelled and condemning her early on for setting me up for a life with little financial support, I would have seen how hard she tried. Maybe if I saw how hard she tried I would have resented her less. Maybe if I spent time with her I would have seen how much deeper her struggles ran and I would have tried harder to keep from accepting and embracing the curse of her life I felt she passed on to me with her genes. Maybe I would have fought to become everything she wasn’t instead of treading down the same path with a cloud of her doom raining down upon me.
If I could go back to when I was six I would do my best to spend time with my mom and try to understand her better instead of judging her. I continue to judge her and what’s worse than knowingly judging her for the past, present and yes, even the future, is refusing to put aside our differences and trying to work past my reasoning and blaming.
Maybe if I found the same understanding of her choices as Stilla had, I would have given her reason to actually like me. I understand now how things don’t go the way we want them to simply because they just can’t. Whether you believe in fate, destiny or whatever form of divine intervention makes people think “God” chose this life for you, working or praying as hard as you can just isn’t enough. I understand now that a small choice might seem ineffectual if it’s wrong in that moment then come bite you in both cheeks of the ass later down the road. I understand how careless we can be and spend the rest of our lives wishing we had done that one moment differently to better our present lives. What I don’t understand is how a person can make so many mistakes in their past, live long enough to see how far and wide those ripple effects spread only to turn around and make the same damn choices. So I continue to judge her and I blame her for that.
When I was 6 my mom was alone. She was married with two kids but she was alone and I didn’t really know it because…I was only six. All I saw was the start of what I didn’t want everyone else to see and that my sister was developing a bond with her that I could never match. Maybe if I showed her that even though I was embarrassed by her, I still loved and respected her. I was too much of a jealous and selfish little thing to show her in a way that she would believe it. Now I feel that because I didn’t show her these essential ingredients to a healthy relationship, she made decisions based on the wrong lighting. We no longer have a relationship. I blame her for a lot of things and I judge her for so much more. What’s hard is knowing and coming to understand that even at 6 I have always played a role in her life as she in mine.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Life’s a Candy Store.”