The overgrown child I call my mother.

Posted: October 23, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

My mom sobbed uncontrollably in my arms when I went home for the weekend. This is normal.

My mom started a food fight at the dinner table. This is normal.

My mom threw a tantrum because her favorite show wasn’t on. This is normal.

Or at least all this is normal for me. I read somewhere that children of bipolar parents often find themselves in the role of parent. It’s backwards and unfair, but just a fact of life. By the time I was nine, I was well used to comforting my crying mother and curbing the effects of her temper tantrums. I tucked her in to bed each night. I made her lunch every afternoon when I got home from school, otherwise she wouldn’t feed herself. I prevented her suicide countless times. I read her books when she was sad. I brushed her hair free of tangles every day. I raised my mother, my sister, and myself. My mother hasn’t been a parent for as long as I can remember.

If I put it this way, people understand to an extent. They understand that I never had a wiser adult to go to when I had a problem. People might get that when I had my first car crash I handled it on my own, as terrified as I was, because if I had called my mother, she would have made a scene in front of the police officers and I wasn’t old enough to bail her out of jail. They might know that I lacked guidance I needed. People can more easily comprehend neglect to a child than they can see the good that came out of it. When I explain how I grew up, I immediately see pity spring to people’s eyes.

I hate pity. I don’t pity myself so why should I take your damn pity? Concern and care is different; those I will gratefully accept.

There were good things about growing up the way I did. Yes, it wasn’t much of a childhood. Yes, it was emotionally traumatizing and scarring. Yes, it was HARD. But I found happiness.

Some days, my mother was my best friend. She movie hopped with me. We had food fights at the table. She put on crazy accents and threw water at me out of nowhere, claiming I had something in my eye. She would just get in the car with me and go, not knowing where we’d end up. We’d have pillow fights and movie marathons. We’d make mud pies and bake colorful cakes. We gushed about gorgeous movie stars and argued over which characters would win in a fight. We’d lie in the grass and find shapes in the clouds. She was spontaneous and fun.

Even in these positive situations I was still my mother’s mother. It always felt like I was humoring a willful child. I had to keep a constant eye on her emotions and behavior to make sure she didn’t get out of hand. Things often tipped in an instant from fun to fury; my mother was only pleasant to be around when she was in a partially manic state, but this all too easily slipped into a full on manic episode.

Even though sometimes the bad overshadows the good, one fact remains:

My mother is my beloved daughter.

  1. prettyhagad says:

    You’re a very strong and loving person… it must be difficult to be in your situation, but you are able to see the good things out of it. There is no such thing as a perfect family or perfect life, but there’s always something good that we can find in whatever situation we are in. If only we have the eyes to see these things, there will be no room for unhappiness and despair.

  2. Thank you so much for your comment. It means a lot to me.

    I’m glad you agree that with a little optimism you can live a happy life despite your circumstances. Everybody gets a bit down or sad from time to time; we’re only human. But, it’s how you approach these feelings that determine whether you enjoy your life.

    Strive for more, but appreciate and love what is already yours.

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