yet with the sweet come the sour

I had the perfect post planned out. Celebrating my very own spinning space and life improvement in general. Today had been relatively good. We’d recieved word that Mum had been accepted by Serenity Lane and would be admitted this weekend for a 28 day program.

But, as we all know, good things never last. So, I’m writing this all down as I remember it happening. I know I’ll want it later. Skip this post if you’re not interested in my mother’s insanity, and everything that comes with it. I certainly wouldn’t blame you.

An hour ago, I was rejoicing in my cleaning and organizing achievement – my new spinning nook:


Then my brother knocked on the door, “Mom needs your help,” he called – sounding irritated and distressed (the usual tone he takes when Mom’s acting weird, or “goofy”).

“With what?” I replied, irritated. I’d managed to avoid her most of the day (don’t you dare judge me), and I’d actually just sat down to relax and check my email before christening my spinning nook.

“She needs you help.” And then he locked himself in his room.

Great. I hate being the eldest child at home sometimes, and a girl.

Mom was whimpering in the upstairs bathroom, squirming (half naked, I might add) with a curling iron in hand – it was tangled in her hair. She wanted me to get it out. Yeah. That’s easy. I doubt it was even possible.

“What did you do?”

“I was trying to dry my hair and it got all tangled in this ******* thing! It’s stupidly designed!”

Right. On closer inspection, it looked even worse than it seemed from the door, which wasn’t helped by her squirming (oh, sorry, “muscle spasms”). I tried to get her to sit down (so I could sit down) and hold still while I worked on it. Impossible. The hair wasn’t coming out. I don’t know what she did to it.

All the while, she was whimpering and whining about what a terrible week she’d had, how much pain she was in, and over-all how much her life sucked. I exploded at this.

“Excuse me? You think you’re having a bad week??” I was still working on her hair at this point, and she should consider herself lucky that I didn’t yank on it the way I wanted to.

“Yes, I am. What’s your problem? Are you having a bad week, or something?”

Or something?

“Yes! Actually! I am!” Still working on it. Still tangled.

Her response was terse and almost disdainful, “Really? What’s happening?” (Loosely translated to “how could you possibly be having a worse week than ME?”)

“‘What’s happening?’ Let me see! I have 3 100-level courses which expect upper-division work, my MOTHER is a morphine addict (honest to g-d, she had the audacity to make a rude noise at this!), I’ve been running my ass off to graduate, I still have to deal with Hurwit, Vonnie and Blair won’t talk to me, and life is just SHITTY in general!”

She didn’t respond.

After I’d calmed down, and had worked on her hair for awhile… “I don’t think the hair’s coming out. We might have to cut it.”

“No,” she whined, “don’t say that!”

So, she jumped up and ran back into the bathroom and asked me to go and get her comb. Which didn’t help, btw. As she worked on it, and probably from me too, it got more tangled.

“I think we have to cut it out,” I repeated. That, or you can wander around with a curling iron in your hair forever. Your choice. Seriously. I was ready to suggest it.

“No! I’ll deal with it. I’m not going to sleep anyway.”

“Mom. Why did you try to use this?” Especially when every other time you used it in the past it didn’t work? I HAD thought she’d thrown the stupid thing out. She knows her hair’s too long for it, anyway.

“To make it curl.”

“To make it curl,” I deadpanned. No. I am not joking.

She faltered a bit. “Yeah, you know. It was looking stringy, so I thought I’d fluff it up a bit.”

“uhhuh,” was all I could say. At 10:45? Why bother? This is such addict behavior. And I refuse to play along. I am not going to stand here for 3 hours trying to get your hair untangled – only to have you cut it all off in the end.

I sighed, leaned against the door, and asked, “why are you so opposed to cutting it? You were talking about cutting it a couple of weeks ago…”

“When I cut it, I want to cut it because I want to cut it! Not because it got caught in the door or something.” Door, huh? I can’t wait for this story to evolve over time.

“Okay.” I remained silent, and she (annoyed I wasn’t playing along) told me to “just go back to bed.”

Yeah. Right. With a loony half-naked woman walking around my house with a curling iron stuck in her hair, swearing loudly and bumping into things? Even if I could sleep that deeply (big “if” there), I still couldn’t fall asleep just at the thought. Lord only knows what further trouble she’d get herself into.

Finally, after more whining and swearing, I cracked.

“Mom, I have to ask you an honest question, and I want an honest answer.”

“What?” She replied, snappish.

“Were you sleep-walking?” The expected eruption ensued.

“No, I am not sleepwalking!”

“I didn’t say you are. I asked if you were when you tangled your hair-” I didn’t get to finish because she interrupted me “No! I wasn’t! Go back to bed!” She stomped off.

I had a good reason to ask, you see. She does dangerous things when sleepwalking – among them are turning on the range and leaving it on, flooding the bathroom, etc. I wanted to know if I need to call for help on this one.

She came stomping (seriously, like a petulant 2-yr-old) back to the bathroom, with scissors in hand.

“What are you doing?” I asked. It was too much to hope to think she’d seen reason and would let me gently cut the hair off the iron, and preserve as much length as possible.

“What do you think?!”

Yep. Where’s Mr Spock when you need him?

“Would you like me to cut it out?”

“No! I’ll do it myself.”

“It might be better if I do it, Mom.-” “-Oh! Why?”

“Because I could try and cut it as close to the iron as possible.” At this, she started attacking her hair with the scissors.

Just great. Wow.

(Anyone else loving the melodrama? I feel like I’m on a stupid TV drama or soap opera sometimes.)

While she was cutting away, I went downstairs to get my Dad (who somehow manages to talk her into reason). He was asleep. Nevermind, then.

I came back upstairs, and the iron was detached from her head and she was snarling.

“Would you like me to even out your hair?”

“Don’t bother! Just go back to bed.”

“Fine. Are you planning on cutting it?”

“No! I’ll get someone to cut it in the morning.”

After you tell them you got it caught in a door?

Don’t answer that.

“Just go back to bed,” she said, turning back to the mirror. “Oh, and thank you for all your help, even with your surly attitude.”

Excuse me? My surly attitude?

You fucking self-obsessed cow! How dare you??

No, I didn’t say it. Because then, I might have not stopped. I know my temper. So, I came back here and wrote it all down.

At least I’ll have it on record when we’re in family therapy together as part of her treatment. Oh, I can just see the fun in that. Gawd, I have a passport, maybe I should leave the country now and get a head start on my escape from this…

In the past year, I have realised something. This woman is not my mother. My mother disappeared when I was seventeen, and the drugs took over. It makes me sick, sometimes, to think about it. But, I admitted to myself and my father yesterday that, if she remained like this, “I wouldn’t see her, or allow her near my family, if I had one.”

I love my mother. This woman is not her. My mom wouldn’t do this to us.

My parents always used to say, that “For an addict to admit to themselves they are, indeed, an addict, they have to hit rock bottom.”

If this isn’t rock bottom for her, I’d hate to see what is.

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One thought on “yet with the sweet come the sour

  1. Sachi

    How do I say, “I enjoy reading your blog” without making it sound like “I enjoy reading about your pain”?

    I think you understand what I mean. I need to share more of my life and not be so worried about the family’s dirty laundry.

    Reply

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