This song came out in the prime of my husband’s drug use. I used to play it super loud whenever he was in the car with me. I mentioned how much I liked it. He knew it meant something to me, but he never realized it was my anthem to him. He never put it together.

On the way home from therapy last week, I was overcome with sadness and cried most of the way home. The idea that I never mattered was prominent. I never mattered to my parents…
I never mattered to my husband.
I just wasn’t important enough.

Example when I had the worst kidney infection of my life. I called my husband at work and told him I was in terrible pain, asked him to come home so he could drive me to urgent care because I didn’t think I could drive myself. He got super upset, but eventually came home about an hour later. Took me to the urgent care, texted on his phone while we waited, I was silently crying and going back and forth to the bathroom. Finally an hour later, I’m seen and sent off with prescriptions. He’s so busy calling his assistant manager to cover his shift for the next day, while I’m sitting in the car waiting to go get meds. He made it all about him having to take the next day off work, when I never asked him to do that. I was peeing blood…
When I had a horrible cough and sinus infection for two months… I went to three doctors on my own. When I had mono so bad I could hardly stand but I drove myself to the doctor. When I was having chest pains and was actually worried, but I drove myself to the hospital…
Same deal when I was a kid… when I broke my collarbone and we finished getting firewood before we went to the hospital. I didn’t matter then… When my sister cut her leg open and we could literally see the bone, we played cards until my dad finally came home to take her to the hospital. We didn’t matter.

That time my husband and I were both super sick, I called him to come get me and we both went to urgent care. My fever was higher than his and the nurse was like, your wife is much sicker. But later I slept on the floor while he slept on the couch… I never mattered.

So when I had kids, I finally mattered. Someone loved me and I was the most important person to them. They loved me, I mattered to them and they mattered most to me. I was finally worth being loved.

I give myself an F.

This song is from a son to/about his parent but it’s very fitting for me. I feel I’ve let my parents down and at the same time I’ve let my children down. My son turned 18 today. It should have been a great day, it should have been fun, it should have been something to remember. It will be something to remember because it was shit. I hope instead he remembers me laying on his bed with him, goofing off and the two of us laughing together over nothing. I hope he remembers that I cried with him and I understood his pains. I hope he remembers that I tried and failed time and time again, but I kept trying for him.

I should have fought harder for my kids to be able to do things. I shouldn’t have let fear rule me. I should have left their dad years ago. I knew even before my son was born, and more so shortly there after I should have left. I remember very clearly the day I went to pick up my daughter from school with my infant son in the back seat. We were parked on the side of the road, it was pouring rain and I called my mom. I remember crying to her and I remember I didn’t want to go home. But I did. I didn’t know how I would survive without his income. How could I support myself and my children?

I couldn’t even go to the grocery store… but I did drive across town and go to costco every month and I did go across town in the other direction to Target. Why couldn’t I see that I didn’t have to be afraid?

When we moved here, my son was only two but the neighbors had two boys, 1yr and 2 yrs old. Perfect friend material… but my husband was against it. “Then they’ll want to come over all the time.” “They’ll expect us to be friendly.” “You know how hard it is for you to have people in your space.” “They are mormons and they’ll preach to us.” Years and years went by, finally I said enough and let my son play with the neighbor boy but only when his dad wasn’t around. I even taught their son how to ride a bike, because his mom was pregnant. They were different than us, but they were never preachy. They were very open minded people. He missed out on so much friendship and time. They could have literally done the tin cans and string… I should have fought for him.

My son feels like he lost out on his childhood. He feels like his dad never let him do anything. My son wanted a skateboard his dad said no way. At Easter, I found an Easter basket with a mini skateboard in it. I showed it to my husband and ask if it was ok if I bought it. He agreed, then when I brought it home and gave it to my son my husband threw a fit. Ranted and raved, ruined Easter because how dare I buy this thing that would cause my son to break an arm or leg… he relented in the end and my son was allowed to ride it on the carpet in the house only. At that point my son didn’t even want it. He never learned to skateboard…

We had a secret rule in our house if you got hurt you shut that shit down. We hid it because it would make my husband mad. He would say he was mad that he had allowed whomever to be hurt but you only ever felt like he was mad at you for being hurt. So the kids and I hid every injury. When the dog bit my son, we made him wear long sleeved shirts during the summer until it healed, when I cut my leg open and was gushing blood we all ran to the bathroom to make it stop… my son was upset saying I needed stitches and I kept telling him to be quiet so dad wouldn’t hear.

My husband had lots of rules, no running in the house, so we ran when he wasn’t home. No talking while the tv was on, so we used to yell when he wasn’t home. No visiting friends, so I let my son go to the neighbors when my husband wasn’t home. No riding your bike other than in the cul de sac, so I let my son ride down the hill when my husband wasn’t home. Lots of stupid little rules…

He would call on his way home or before he came home from work and I could gauge what kind of mood he was in. If he was in a bad mood I would warn the kids to be quiet and good, no fighting and leave dad alone. Depending on his mood, the kids might even shut themselves and the dogs in another room to avoid upsetting their dad.

He was never the kind of dad or husband that was happy to see us. Happy to be home to spend time with us. He just wanted to be left alone, or for me to watch tv with him. Ok, guys, dad is in a bad mood. After dinner I am going to watch tv with him, so you guys be good and try not to interrupt us. If you need me be really quiet and get my attention. I’ll come out and check on you from time to time… Just hang out on your computers, or watch tv and enjoy your time quietly in the playroom.

God, I was a horrible mother.

Unanswered questions

Why didn’t I ask? It never occured to me to ask my mom more about her life and her upbringing. It never occured to me to ask her about my brother and what it was like finding out her son was a murderer. Why didn’t I think to ask these types of questions? Is it because I was self absorbed or because I didn’t want to upset her by asking questions.

I remember my sister saying to me, well you know Linda is our sister right? I was like HUH?  Yeah, dad told me when I was in high school…. I was shocked. I called up my mom that very night and was like um, how come it was kept secret all these year? Mom says, well it wasn’t a secret we just didn’t talk about it. Yeah mom, that’s called a secret. Then we didn’t talk about it for many more years. Somewhere down the road when grandma died we started talking about it. Not a lot, more like “yeah I’m leaving Linda some money when I die.” Her sister never let her forget how she ruined their lives… Cousin and Aunt laughed and made fun of my mom and it hurt her until the day she died.

What was my childhood like? Why don’t I remember any of it and who can I ask? No one… well maybe I could ask my brother, but I just don’t know how honest he’d be and what he may have actually known.

Stand out memories….

Somewhere between 3 and 5 years old. We had this big fancy lighter that was always on the coffee table with the matching ashtray. I took it into my mom’s bathroom because as I recall I wanted to see what the lighter would do to toilet paper. It caught fire and it caught fast. I remember trying to spin the toilet paper from the roll into the toilet to make it go out. Then it caught the wall on fire or maybe a towel and I panicked so I left. I went into my shared room with my sister and started playing with my barbies. The next thing I remember is my sister saying, it smells funny and people moving around quickly. My mom was  most angry that I had melted her good pantyhose and her display towels. I didn’t have much in the way of eyebrows or lashes, I was told. My dad fixed the bathroom. I remember the story told to me more than I remember the event. I distinctly remember the warmth and how fast it spread.

Camping, we went camping a lot.  Great times, went with the neighbors often. Muffin had to ride in the cabin of the truck because she’d get sick. Hot springs, swimming pool… Later on first experience with smoking pot.

My dad was hurt twice, once when he fell out of a tree while cutting branches at my aunt’s house. It was “great” because he had to miss work and was home. The next time he just about cut his thumb off while fixing the spring on the garage door… again “great” because he was home. Mom was home for a bit too when she hurt her back.