For all intents and purposes, I had a great childhood. There was always food on the table, I had nice clothes, and though I was spanked, I was never beaten. I took dance lessons as a little girl, always had books to read, and graduated sixth in my high school class.
I had an all-American, Middle-Class upbringing. I know that I was more fortunate than many.
That doesn’t mean, however, that I moved from childhood to adulthood unscathed.
My mother was 5 feet tall, weighed 102 pounds, and was nicknamed “Aunt Meanie” by my older cousins. They all knew not to cross my mother. She had a fun side and many people loved her. She had loyal girlfriends that remained close for more than forty years. She was also mentally ill, suffering from severe depression. I grew up on a diet of grudges fueled by her insomnia and addiction to nicotine.
My father had what I’d call a firecracker temper. He didn’t anger easily, and when he did, he’d blow up and it was over. My mother did not. Yes, she was capable of flying off the handle at a moment’s notice, but she had this slow burn about her, like hot coals. And just when you believed that something had been forgotten, she would bring it up again and hash through every painful detail of a perceived betrayal.
When my mother was diagnosed with cancer, there were many hours of conversation in the hospital about how terribly she had been treated during her life. She would tell me that she was good with her relationship with God and ready to go Meet Him. And moments later, she would bring up an old story, detailing who had wronged her and being clear that she was unable to forgive them.
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