My Mom(s) was a Special Lady(s).
Wife to an abusive Husband for most of her young, small-town life, she was granted her freedom when he choked to death on his own vomit in a gas station parking lot. She had 3 children with him, one boy and two girls, in that order.
After he died, his parents basically abducted the boy to raise as their own, leaving my Mom with two girls to raise on her own, and raise them she did, both working full time and putting herself through business school at night.
The younger of the two was brown haired, quiet, a good student and all around good daughter. The older was a blonde-haired, wild, horrible student, and what can be only be summed up as an all around hell-raiser.
A Black sheep. A Bad Apple. She got in fights. She failed classes. She smoked. She drank. She did drugs. She dated older boys. She dropped out. One of the more poignant examples of her... Cavalier attitude was when her Mom and Mom's new Boyfriend went away for the weekend, she:
1) Planned an Epic House Party (As epic as one can be in a town of 300 in the late 70's).
2) Sold all the Furniture and Appliances in the House to buy Liquor for said Epic Housparty.
3) Had Epic House Party.
That's like year 2005 levels of Teen Badassery. She was before her time.
One of the side effects of dating older boys in the early 80's turned out to be single-teen pregnancy, and just after her own 16th birthday she welcomed her first son into the world, and, seeing a birthmark the shape and color of a black belt, she named him Shotokanman.
She loved her son very much, and tried her best to become a good mother, but, perhaps haunted by her past she was unable to cope with a normal life and the pressure of being responsible for another human being all on her own.
This culminated when she showed up one late summer night in 1982 at her Mom's house in her car, drunk as f**k, with me in the back at a few months old. My Aunt scooped me up and sprinted into the house, where my Mom sat outside for awhile and alternated between threatening to kill my aunt and threatening to burn the house down. Although her theory on getting me back was unsound to say the least, I feel her heart was in the right place.
When my Aunt and her Mom went back to her place to confront her two days later, she was:
1) Still wasted.
2) Under the impression that I was with her, safe and sound in my crib. As punishment my Aunt and Grandma followed her to my room and feigned ignorance when I was nowhere to be found.
Needless to say she freaked the f**k out.
After she found out I was alright, she shortly came to the realization that she was unfit to raise a child, and my Grandma, who years ago had her own son stolen from her, agreed to raise me as her own. She and her new Husband adopted me, and gave me a childhood that only two loving parents and the 1980's could provide. And I suppose my Mom did the same, except she had a non-stop party that only not having kids in the 1980's could provide. I imagine there being a lot of cocaine.
I had all the G.I. Joe's, Transformers, Ninja Turtles, and Batman toys (Michael Keaton Batman, you jaded f**cks) a boy could ever use. I was encouraged to read before I could even walk, and I was never refused a comic book because of their educational value. My new parents were my only parents to me, and Grampa and Grandma were always Dad and Mom. I knew my "real" Mother, she visited once in awhile, but there seemed to be other matters far more important, and I certainly wasn't lacking for love or anything else.
I was a sweet little boy, but apparently I had a little fuse to match, and was very... rambunctious. Now that I've grown and gained some perspective I think maybe she was frightened by the bit of her first husband she could see in me. Someone suggested to my Mom that this "Karate fad" was a good way for kids to learn discipline and respect, and hey, in the 80's if you had a black belt you might as well say "I got a .45 in my waistband", it was pretty much the same thing. After we checked out a few schools she settled on the only legit Dojo in the area, and about 10 years later I was awarded a Black Belt in Zen Karate Do, a style of combined Shotokan, Muay Tai, Tae-Kwon-Do and Kickboxing.
There was a lot of times I wanted to quit for various reasons; it was too hard, maybe I lost a few matches, maybe I was bored. Eventually I grew into a teenager, and girls, friends, drugs, and booze seemed to be way more important than learning a new kick. Karate wasn't finished till about 7PM on Mon/Wed/Fri, and keep in mind this was before cellphones (such a time existed, you say? Yes indeed it did) and once your friends were out for the night there was no finding them.
But no matter how much I whined, bitched, and moaned, my Mom would not let me quit until I got that stinkin' Black Belt.
Because she loved me, and she knew that if I quit after so long without attaining my goal I would never forgive myself, and to this day it is one of my proudest achievements.
As much as I like to toot my own horn (did anyone see SNL last night? Nevermind.) that is not the reason I decided to write this.
You see, I was a shitty son.
I never did homework, I never did dishes, I never cleaned my room, I never did my own laundry. I forgot birthdays, and when I did remember them I bought shitty gifts. For all this marvelous woman did for me, I had nothing for her but the all-to-common resentment and entitlement of the average teenage son in western society.
With My "other" Mother I was no different, as she spent a lot of time trying to make up to me the childhood she should have provided, and for the most part I ignored her constant advances because of my own bitchass abandonment issues. All she wanted was to spend some time with me and spoil me because she felt guilty, and I wouldn't even let her do that.
One night, after a fight with her own abusive husband that she inevitably ended up with, she got in her car drunk, and made it about a mile from her house before she crashed and was killed instantly.
You might think this would be a wake up call for a young man, but alas, this was not the case. I did not improve my performance as a son, and in fact probably got a lot worse because hey, poor me, right?
Almost exactly 1 year later my adopted Mother had an aneurysm while she was working, and was pronounced brain dead at the hospital. The aneurysm was caused by a "bleed" in her brain, something usually found in boxers and full-contact athletes, not nice little ladies. If he hadn't choked to death on his own puke, I would be more than happy to do the job today myself. Not a day goes by I don't think about it.
And for more than 5 years, not a day goes by that I don't think about what kind of son I was, and how there was so much more I could have done to make my Mom(s) happy and proud.
But now I can't.
I literally cannot put into words how badly I wish I could, but what I can do is tell you that if you still got a Mom, do something nice for her today, and every day, because one day you may not be able to.
I think my Mom would have liked that.
Happy Mother's Day.