things you shouldn’t do to children…

So, there are two stories my mother tells about my childhood that have been running through my head lately.  I have an incredible memory for details about my childhood, but I only really remember one of these stories. The thing to note here is that my mother tells them with laughter – she thinks they’re hilarious snippets of my childhood. I don’t agree.

Story 1 (the unremembered one): When I was 2, she and some of her friends were taking tequila shots in the living room. She was putting a drop of tequila in a shotglass with some sprite and letting me take shots with them. She got drunk enough to forget to mix the sprite with the tequila, so I just took a few full strength shots. I’m not laughing here.

Story 2 (the one I remember): When I was 4, mom had to break me of a pot-smoking habit. I had no idea what it was that I was doing, mind you. All the adults were sitting in a circle passing a joint and I’d be sitting on her left. Of course I was next in line. When I started asking for it instead of just sitting quietly in the circle, she decided it was a problem. She also decided that she had to break me of the habit. How do you do this, one asks? Well, you roll up a paper by itself and give it to your toddler to smoke. She chokes. She never asks again. Still not laughing.

I can hear her laughing as she tells these stories. I don’t have a problem with alcohol or pot, for that matter. I’m also not an addict of any sort – well, except for my facebook addiction. A (mostly) harmless addiction, for the most part. I’ve been really angry with her for a long time (probably all of my life) and I think most of it is surfacing now that I’ve cut her out of my life. Not talking to her means I don’t have to push it all down and pretend we have a decent relationship with one another. We don’t. We never have. She thinks we did.

I’m angry, too, because these two stories are just representations of a host of situations my mother put me in – situations where children should never be. I’m realizing, too, that parts of my personality have been shaped by these events, and while I think I’m fucking brilliant sometimes, most of the time I’m sad, depressed, and feel lonely even though there are people surrounding me. I have good days, don’t get me wrong, but each one is colored by some kind of darkness. I think it’s just the fear that I’ll miss the mark somehow. I keep trying to be the right person for every situation and there’s just not a right way to do things. I know that in my head – when I’m able to think rationally. The problem is, I speak and act before thinking more often than I don’t. I’m working on it, but really – things just spill out of my mouth and I just do things. One morning, our kitten was standing on the counter trying to eat the bacon off of my plate while I was putting syrup on my pancakes. I drizzled her with syrup. I didn’t think about it – I just did it. I’m not sure if it’s insanity or if it’s just something entirely different. I thought it was funny, don’t get me wrong, but I have no idea why I did that. It reminds me of a postcard I got from CA Conrad once. He wrote about his partner making glitter pancakes for breakfast. They were literally pancakes with glitter in them. Thing is – that sounds completely rational to me: If you want sparkle in the morning, add some sparkle to breakfast. Duh. But there’s nothing normal about me or CA Conrad. For him, it’s what makes his poetry so brilliant and mind-bending. For me, I’m not sure what this kind of random instinct is. Some would say I have a creative brain. Others would say I just don’t understand the rules. Thing is, I understand the rules. I can play the game if I need to. I just don’t like to.

And that paragraph was a bunch of ridiculous rambling that makes no sense. I’m glad I refuse to edit these posts. I get to see my own stream of consciousness unfold in front of me as my fingers type faster than my brain thinks. Back to the original point, though. There are situations in which you should not put children. Here are my questions about each of these stories:

Story 1: Why was I awake while they were drinking? Why a drop of tequila in the first place? Why not plain sprite? Why not hire a babysitter or just not party around your children? Really, mother? Did you want me to be a miniature version of you? That’s something you sure as hell didn’t get.

Story 2: How do you not notice that the hand next to you grabbing the joint is smaller than yours? By smaller, I mean significantly smaller… How, exactly, do you forget that it’s your child you’re passing a joint to? And, why a plain paper rolled like a joint? Could you not just say no?

And, the biggest question of all: Didn’t you realize YOU had a problem if your kid was taking tequila shots and needed to be broken of a pot-smoking habit at age 4? Seriously, woman. The problem is not mine. It’s yours.

Done now.

TPQ

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