When I was 16 I had an abortion. My mother had no idea. Or maybe she did. I have no idea. When I had my follow up appointment at my local Planned Parenthood I told her it was about time I went to a gynecologist. She didn't argue, didn't encourage. So off I went. When I got home I showed her the receipt that had the diagnosis codes and descriptions. The paper clearly said it was a post termination check up and that I was given birth control pills. She said nothing.
I had been back living in her house just a few months when all of this went down and maybe she didn't want to drum up any more trouble with my step father? I still have no idea.
That year was so insane. I was kicked out of my house and sent to live in Holbrook, MA for several months, stalked by my step father, physically assaulted by him, doing shitty in school and the day I drove to Rockland County to have the abortion, I was pulled over by the police and taken to the station and interrogated because my car and person fit the description of a runaway. Do you parents know where you are they asked? Uhm, HELL NO! Can we call them? NO! They finally let me go, go to have general anesthesia and drive myself home 3 hours later.
My mother was not a willing participant in her life. She didn't want children, but she was supposed to have them so here we are! Yay!
I have a few really lovely memories of her and I remember for a long time (a few years?) thinking she was a fun, good person.
But I also remember getting paddled with a spatula for lighting the matches left in my room by my uncle who was staying with us. He worked nights and slept in my bed all day when I was at school. He had a brown paper bag with porn, cigarettes and matches under my mattress. So this guy was allowed to jerk off in my bed and smoke butts but I get wailed on for lighting those matches in an ash tray?
I remember pooping in my pants long after that was acceptable. I was punished. Sent to my room to feel like a loser with shitty pants and no dinner. I was handed a harsher sentence for soiling myself than I was for driving our Pinto wagon into someone's hedges & porch.
My mother didn't drive me anywhere she didn't absolutely have to. She farted in front of my friends. She gave me a package of maxi pads the day I came home with my period soaked culottes (I was 11).
My mother had a pretty shitty childhood and couldn't wait until mine and my brother's were over. She has no idea what kind of people her children and grand children are.
I don't feel sorry for myself. And I'm not angry. Mostly because I have the greatest inlaws in the world. They are the parents I waited 28 years for.
I've just been thinking a whole lot about that 16th year of my life and how it solidified the structure of the relationship I have with my mother today. Have you ever been to Hong Kong? The scaffolding that surrounds the spanking new high-rises that go for miles and miles into the air are made entirely of bamboo. Lashed together with rope. Take away the rope and that's about right.