Monday, May 14, 2007


Today's photo is a townhome that's for sale in my area for a mere quarter of a million. But it does have a sunroom attached (it's an end unit!) and an outdoor patio (behind).

Yesterday was Mother's Day. I called my stepmom last night to wish her a happy Mother's Day. I had to call late in the day because mom and dad had left their winter quarters in Florida on Friday (they drive back and forth twice a year) and you never can tell how long it'll take them to get home.

They're getting frail now. I can hear it in their voices. They do their best to stay with me during the conversation, but every once in awhile I can sort of sense them drifting off.

I'm glad I called.

There was a time when I had two mothers, my birth mother and my stepmother. My birth mom has been dead since 1995. She was 64 when she passed away. She'd been crazy, from Alzheimer's, for years. The symptoms started to appear about the time she turned 50. I had to have her committed to a nursing home, and became her legal guardian, when she was 59, in 1990. I was 41 and it was the year after my heart attack.

I reacted to all that by drinking and smoking more.

My birth mother was 19 when she had me. She divorced my father without telling him that she was pregnant with me... so he couldn't ask for visitation rights. She forbad everyone in the family from allowing me to have contact with my father (and his 2nd family) throughout my childhood. Occasionally one of my stealthy relatives would spirit me off for a quick visit to my "father's family" on Christmas or some other holiday. But it was only ever for a few minutes and then I'd be taken home amidst oaths that I would keep it a secret.

We had lots of secrets in my family when I was a kid. Like my half brother or half sister I didn't know I had until we were planning my birth mom's funeral. It seems mom had another kid after me, out of wedlock, which she gave up for adoption at birth. My aunt blurted that one out while we were planning mom's funeral.

My family also liked to go for the "big dramatic" scenes whenever it would cause the most chaos.

My birth mother was crazy. She was also a drunk. She died not knowing that I was a drunk, too. Part of my "amends" to her was getting sober.

Ironically enough, the stepmom I wasn't allowed to know as a kid became a real mom to me after I became an adult. She never talked down to me. Why would she? We were both adults by the time we got to know each other. We genuinely like each other. We don't have the usual mother/son baggage. It turned out she'd borne a lot of guilt over the years for not having been able to engineer my rescue from my birth mother when I was a kid.

Now she's getting on in years and I know that it's only a matter of time before I lose her, too.

Sure, she's a little batty at times, but who isn't? God knows, I am!

But as Crazy Mothers go, she's the best.

There isn't a day that goes by that I miss my birth mother and there isn't a day that goes by when I don't think how sad I'm going to be when my real mother finally passes on.


Bev Sykes said...

I didn't realize your birth mom was my age when she died. This was an especially nice tribute to your stepmom.

JoyZeeBoy said...

Sigh. It's taken me a long time to cop to my real feelings about a lot of stuff. Including how (sadly) indifferent I remain about my birth mom and how dearly I treasure my stepmom.

And it scares me that I'm now at the same age my mother was when she started skidding into total dementia.

I have to admit that I look for telltale signs in my everday behavior.

As though I'd actually see it coming.