I understand that my grandmother was not a nurturing mother to my mother, but that doesn’t make the way she treated me any less wrong. I have been an adult since I was 4. When my sister was born, my childhood ended. My mother wanted to have children, but she didn’t want to raise them. She had no idea how to be a parent, but she never even tried, regardless. I would marvel when other kids would tell me they weren’t allowed to do something. I was allowed to do whatever I wanted. I never said this out loud to other kids because I knew it wasn’t right and I was embarrassed.
My dad was drunk a lot of the time. Several months out of the year. When he would start drinking, he would stay drunk until we took him to the hospital and they dried him out. Literally he would be nonstop drunk for days and days. No moment of sobriety. He would lay in his recliner with a fifth between his legs, peeing on himself. He would scream all night long. He would yell, “Mother! Mother! Goddamn.” Then he would stop for a few minutes and then yell that again. I don’t know why he did. It is forever emblazoned on my brain. I will never forget what that sounded like. Through all that chaos, I was supposed to sleep, and then get up and go to school, which I did. I never told a soul what happened at my house. You learn quick that you never tell anyone or let on like anything is less than normal.
My mother would make my sister miss school and stay home with my dad when he was like this. He was a smoker, and my mother was afraid he would burn the house down while we were gone to school. I always refused this duty. I would not stay home with him. School was my sanctuary, and I wanted to be there more than any other place.
My mother would always number the days in her calendar he had been sober. She never told me this, but I knew what the numbers meant. Then he would get drunk again and the whole cycle would start over. He was hospitalized 52 times in 12 years. No kidding. That was my real fucking life. And when he was sober, my mother was constantly telling us not to get on his nerves. That meant walking on eggshells when he was sober and when he was drunk.
No child should have to deal with the things I experienced. I have always known that. What I didn’t know until just a few years ago, that those events still impact me today. I didn’t know that literally the development of a child’s brain occurs differently when they are constantly exposed to trauma. My parents’ behavior is literally engrained in every cell in my body. I am now learning to cope with this reality.