Yesterday afternoon, after taking one look at sky — slate grey and looking ominous — I went to ask my mother to go with me in the car to get Dayo from daycare.
I would have asked my brother, but the day before he was in a hurry. As I went inside to collect Dayo and get his bag, he leaned on the horn in an obnoxious way and one of the sisters there who takes care of the babies and toddlers, called out and told him not to do that. My brother snapped at her, out the car window and across the yard, “Don’t tell me what to do. I can do what I want.”
All those little children, the babies, the owner of the daycare centre, they were all there.
I of course was mortified.
So when I saw the state of the sky yesterday afternoon, I preferred to ask my mother to go with me.
When I knocked on her door, her face when she answered, resembled the sky. I asked her to run me down to the daycare, and she said in a very grim nasty tone that she was “…much too tired,” to take me.
Too tired = I can’t be assed because your brother pissed me off and I’ll be damned if I do you a favour bitch.
So as I walked through the door, my brother was teaching guitar in the living room. In our secret language I asked him what was up with Mummy, he shrugged and said, “That’s all me, nothing to do with you.”
Like no shit.
I walked out the door and went to get my boy. On the way there, it began to thunder as I quickened my pace.
I got there, and hustled off with my boy, almost running as the thunder increased in volume and frequency.
As I got to the second to last corner before home, I could feel the water coming, and my brother in the car appeared. He said Mummy had sent him out in the car to look for me and Dayo. I asked, “Why didn’t she just come with me when I asked her?”
“Well get the baby out of the rain,” that wanker says to me.
I pushed on, my brother drove off.
As I turned the last corner, the rain started. Big, fat raindrops burst out of the sky and drenched both me and Dayo, and I was in a flat out run trying to get into the house.
I pulled Dayo out of the stroller, and trembling with my exertion (and my fury) I struggled to get the key in the lock, while Dayo blinked.
After I got Dayo inside, I burst into tears. I kissed his cheek and apologised over and over, while I looked around for something, anything to wipe his face, head and arms free of the water dripping off of him. I had to run back outside through the rain, to open the flat door, since I ran in through the verandah door, and the flat, once locked on the verandah side, is only accessible through the outside door at the back of the house.
By the time I opened the door, threw down my keys in disgust, kicked off my slippers and walked through to where Dayo was sitting strapped into his high chair on the verandah, my brother had walked through the gate, and his student who was with him, helped me to pull his stroller inside out of the rain.
I unstrapped Dayo and took him into our room, put him in his playpen (despite his protests) and as I went back to close the flat door to the verandah, I heard my mother asking Jomo what happened.
At the tailend of his explanation, I yelled out “And he got SOAKED!!!” and slammed the door.
Two minutes later, there was a banging on the door.
I had to pick Dayo up because he was fussing, and I opened the door.
My mother began with, “Who the fuck do you think you are?”
I was very upset because Dayo had got wet, and she kept pushing me and pushing me and pushing me. She was cursing in the filthiest way and I repeatedly asked her not to do so in front of Dayo. I was not polite about it.
Suddenly, I was once again being accused of all manner of things, she was lobbing well worn and refilled emotional grenades and I lost my temper.
“You’re a hypocrite,” I ground out and I repeated it.
I asked her to leave the room, and she tells me she won’t be ordered in her own house. I told her I didn’t want her to expose Dayo to this craziness.
“You’re a hypocrite,” I said again.
She hauled back her arm and punched me in the head. When she pulled her hand back, she hit Dayo with the force of the blow.
He began to scream.
I put him down, and I began to push my mother our of the room. I felt like a lioness had possessed my body and my teeth bared. My mother was slapping and hitting me, and was pushing her out of the door. I lost control for a minute or two, instinct took over.
My brother came in, and pulled my mother off of me. She was fighting against him to get at me.
“You HIT him!” I screamed at her. I was so furious I could hardly contain it, but I turned away from her as soon as I saw Jomo was succeeding in getting her out of the room and I picked Dayo up and struggled to calm him and myself down. The electricity was off and the rain was pounding, Dayo and I were dripping with sweat and tears.
I was shaking. Shaking, shaking, shaking and loathing the situation I found myself in. I felt powerless to protect Dayo and was badly frightened by it.
I locked my doors; the one to verandah and the one to the yard. A few minutes passed, I was still trembling. I heard someone try to open the door, and then a key in the lock to the verandah.
My mother barreled into the room again. On and on and on it went. Except the patience I’ve been practising, the silence I have been maintaining, the habit of ignoring my mother’s barbs and refusing to rise to the occasion… all of it just burned away.
I locked the door and threw the deadbolt. She walked around outside the house and used a key and opened the door and came in to repeat the same tired bullshit again. It was so transparent and stupid.
I said things I wanted to say. When she tried to make it about things I did when I was child, I answered her that it had nothing to do with anything that happened before she hit Dayo. That right now this has to do with me and being able to provide a safe environment for my son.
She is going on about how I am going to ruin Dayo’s life, and make him suffer and about how I denied him a father.
She is telling me how I treated her badly since I was a little girl (like a four year old knows how to treat her mother bad) and how I am a burden to her (although she is providing a roof over my head and little else more since I buy my own food and contribute to the Internet access, and she absolutely does not contribute so much as diapers and she doesn’t change any either! She does nothing for Dayo that I don’t pay for in one way or another.) and how I am going to go a splash my version of events all over the Internet, and how she will always be the villain. On and on and on and on and on with her as the victim, and I am the one who is victimising her.
I called her on a lot of her shit yesterday afternoon. I have called her on her shit in a way I haven’t done since I was a teenager. It was savagely satisfying to look right through her and call her on all her games, but here’s the bottom line: I am leaving this house for the last time. Soon.
When I made the declaration, she goes off and tells me how she knows I was just using her. How she told my grandmother when I was pregnant that she had no intention of bonding with Dayo, because she knew I would take him away from her. One paranoid delusion after another, all designed to make her innocent and me the devil.
I told her that spiel wasn’t going to work anymore, and that there was nothing she could say to make me feel differently, that I was going. She couldn’t make me feel guilty for being a child anymore, she could make me into a child again so she could feel powerful, that she had no power over me anymore whatsoever. That this was a parting of the ways between me and her. I had had enough.
Eventually I began to ignore her, and noticed something else. The note of desperation in her accusations. She was pulling out statement after statement. Things she has been saying to me all my life, things I have come to realise she feels about herself and the new additions in the last year since I came from London. It was like she needed to say them. Like they were all holding her up.
I know I should have controlled my temper better, I have been doing it for most of the last eighteen months. But it just got the better of me when she hit Dayo. It didn’t even register that she punched me in the head until after, all I keep seeing is her elbow connecting with Dayo’s head. It may have been a mistake, but it was bad enough that she hit me, hitting Dayo set me off.
So in that I am wrong. I should have held my temper. I know, I know I should have held my tongue. I just couldn’t. I don’t know why I couldn’t, but I had had enough of being my mother’s whipping boy.
She had had an altercation with my brother prior to me going to ask her to take me to get Dayo. When she realised that thunder and lightening were coming down, and proper rain was on its way, she felt guilty and sent Jomo out to get me and Dayo, big fucking deal. Wouldn’t a person generous of spirit done that for her grandchild?
She needs reasons to feel like shit about herself. She needs to hold on so tight to being a victim, that the only way she can sustain it is to keep provoking situations with pure irrationality.
In fact, I am beginning to wonder if Mummy doesn’t have some kind of socio-emotional disorder. Or bi-polar disease or something.
By the end of the whole drama yesterday, she was apologising to Dayo and trying to make me feel guilty because I wanted to leave, but you know I have reached the end of my rope. I’ve given her a lot of rope and she is determined to hang herself.
It’s one thing to tolerate, its one thing to forgive. I just cannot do this anymore. This is just too unhealthy, too twisted for me.
It like a game she’s playing with herself, and sucking in anyone nearby into the vortex.
If she says someone is bullying her, she is the one bullying someone. If she says you are crazy, she’s the one doing crazy shit. If she says you are an asshole, she thinks she is an asshole and hates herself for it. If she says you hate her, she hates herself. If she says you’re using her, she is using you. If she says you’re selfish, she is being selfish.
It applies to not just my relationship with her, but with everyone. I just cannot raise Dayo here.
I just cannot bear the thought of this being something he sees on a regular basis. I don’t know how to be my own person and live here. I can’t be myself here. If I can’t be myself, and be supported and support people who are supporting me and love and be loved, what’s the fucking point?
Now I know the rules of her games so well, and know how the court and deck are stacked against me anyway, I am disinclined to play the game anymore.
Of course, much of this post is paraphrased. How could I go into minute detail the warped and twisted relationship my mother has forced upon me?
It’s enough that when I challenged her, her response was to punch me when I was holding Dayo. It is now more than 24 hours later, and my head still hurts where she hit me, and my heart still hurts where she hit Dayo, and my soul still hurts where she has just failed to be my mother by choice.
I woke up this morning to the sound of her picking a fight with Jomo. That fight went on for a significant amount of time as well.
All day today she’s been coming in here, acting like nothing has happened. Everything she does, has her guilt stamped all over it. I have chosen not to maintain rancor because I know ultimately it will not serve my greater purpose which is to get out of this house forever.
Not only that, that bitch is getting on a plane to Jamaica and will be gone for two weeks starting tomorrow morning (Sunday). So while I am stewing in my fury right now, I absolutely am keeping myself focussed on what I need to do.
Chief among them, and that which matters most is that I am going to create a safe environment for my son come hell or high water. And the water rose significantly yesterday afternoon.
Under my disgust in general, is the overarching disappointment I feel in my mother, because “no matter how I seem to think we grow, you [she] always seem to let me know, it ain’t working.”
In fact, I don’t think my mother has done much growing past a certain age. She is still a wounded child without any control over herself or her life, and I pity her. I am still so fucking furious, but I am resolute.