After my mother divorced the lying, cheating, abusive, yet loving and charming man that was my dad (RIP) and uprooting my brothers and I, it seemed that we were always in so much fucking trouble. I don’t remember half the shit I did at four years of age to garner the screaming I got, but it happened whenever mom would come home from work. She was a stressed out, still young woman raising four leeches, 3 of which were either a teen or soon becoming one. One paycheck to buy the shit we ate, the clothes for our backs, the medicine for our colds and the toys we cried and moaned about. That’s four birthdays and a bitter bitch of a Christmas every goddamned year. Now, I’m not saying that she was this Super Mom or better than Ms. Partridge as other women did/does the same thing. However, how she kept her sanity, not run out in the middle of the night leaving a box of cereal and big salad bowl on the kitchen table or slit our throats while we were sleeping is nothing short of a miracle.
About a year after settling in, my mother seemed to be able to get things under control as best she could. Oh, she’d threaten to beat us if we didn’t shut the fuck up while she was resting. She’d swear that the TV would be off limits if we didn’t quit turning the channel knob (oh these kids today don’t have the joy of having a coat hanger hanging out the TV where the antenna was. Do they even know what an antenna is?!) like we didn’t have any sense. And if we didn’t stop running in and out her damned door letting the flies in, well…let’s just say we had a cap on how many times that front door could open. Made you truly rethink whether you needed that glass of water or not. One more door slam and it was automatic house arrest. Good thing we had friends so we could alternate between houses for piss breaks.
Suddenly a transformation of sorts came about almost on a daily basis for my mom. She could come home on the brink of a nervous breakdown after busting her ass at work only to be met with selfish kids begging for money, go into her room and maybe 15 minutes later emerge from said room a Stepford Mom. The music was too loud? “That’s ok.” Jumping on top of the furniture? “Don’t bust your skull sweetie.” Could my friends Yvonne, Margaret, Angelica, (you get the picture) spend the night? “Whatever honey…” Wow, it was great! She’d just step over the chaos and head into the kitchen and fix herself a cup of coffee, humming. As kids, we didn’t know how the angry monster was tamed whenever she went into her room and we couldn’t give a shit. What ever worked was fine by us. Then we started growing up and having kids of our own. Oh karma, fuck you! I often praised her for raising the four of us and she’d just smile and maybe let out a small chuckle. After what had been the billionth time I mentioned her strength in raising my brothers and I, she finally gave up the Ancient Chinese Secret: Valium. My jaw dropped, she shrugged and went on about her day. Those days were long ago, so she could care less what I thought. Only thing was I wasn’t judging my mother, I was jealous!
In the heyday of the 50’s through the 80’s, doctors would prescribe pills at the drop of a hat, and from what I understood they gave out the real good shit. Placidyls, Qualudes, Percocets, Percodans…just about anything beginning with “Per” or ending with “Dan.” The beleaguered housewife/mother favorites were Valiums. These little babies would guarantee that mommy’s little rugrat could live another day after pouring milk all over the place. This magic pill kept a mother’s hands from choking her dumbass kid for the skateboard flying through the window after telling him not to skateboard in the house for the 10th time that day. Also, these pills act very quickly making every mom taking them happy little drowsy compliant robots. Mommy gets kids ready for school. Mommy goes to work. Mommy comes home to messy house and bad report cards. Mommy has some alone time with Valium. Mommy cooks dinner and goes to bed without committing homicide/suicide. Everybody’s a winner, right?
My general practitioner (in other words “I’m not a psychologist!”) won’t remotely play ball. “But I’m stressed, depressed, have a lot on my mind, blah, blah, blah…” doesn’t move him an inch. I complain about stress, he mentions jogging. I whine too much about depression, he starts looking through referrals for local therapists. When I asked him why he wouldn’t prescribe Valium for me instead of the bullshit garden-variety libido killing depression meds, he told me that doctors nowadays rarely if ever prescribe them anymore-they do their job too well. After giving him the Scooby-Doo look of confusion, he firmly told me that are highly addictive, and it’s damned hard kicking the habit. When I asked him if they were “I’ll suck your dick for $5.” addictive, he started riffling through his shrink referrals again. Dejected, I leave his office only to play the game with him every month. To be honest, I don’t really want to be hooked on them or any drug. Besides, last time I checked Raisenettes were still legal.
I don’t look at my mother any differently. I still praise her and admire her for what she’s sacrificed for us. She, like other people of the time were prescribed medicine that today’s doctors wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole. Sure, you have the movie stars; singers and other celebrities that somehow have an arsenal of medicine that would make Keith Richards sentimentally weep. These same people wind up on any number of “Weren’t you…” type of TV shows and also a slave to the pills. Ok, I’ll say it: junkies. Luckily my mother wasn’t using Valium for long, as she didn’t like her growing dependence on them. So how did she manage to raise us without killing us then? I have one precocious daughter and I want to cry “Uncle” sometimes and that just makes my mother laugh her ass off. Maybe knowing that one day the pain in the ass kids you have will have similar, if not more kids than you have brings enough tranquility. Or maybe it was pot. Whatever it was, Karma, you’re still a bitch.