My Rotten Mother Was The Perfect Mom

Darrell Fusaro (May 16, 2011)
There she was, my mommy, drunk out of her mind standing slightly off balance in the doorway with her frosted hair all banged up, a purse dangling off her left arm, wearing a tight sweater, Capri pants and heels.

I dreaded our forth grade assembly.  All the kids scampered around the classroom asking each other, “Is your mommy coming?”   Without waiting for a response, they’d finish with; “MY mommy’s coming!” 

Over and over, the same thing would bounce out of every kid’s mouth but mine.  I answered by nodding yes and praying to myself, “Sweet Jesus, please don’t let my mommy come to the assembly.”

At School 9 the assemblies were held in the auditorium.  It was really an indoor basketball court with a stage.  Folding chairs were set up for the audience.  The students from all the other grades attended and the parents of the students performing were all invited.  Because the assemblies were held during the day it was usually only mommies who showed up.

Our performance began as planned.  Throughout the performance I was tormented by the thought that at any moment my mother would show up while I was on stage.  It wasn’t until we were halfway through that I began to feel relief, thinking to myself, "Maybe my mom’s not going to make it after all!"

It was during this time, motivated to change, that I reached out to renew a relationship with my mother.  It had been many years since I had been in touch with her.  When I contacted her she was very happy to hear from me, but because she left when I was so young, the best way to describe how I felt would be, ambivalence.  Over the years I continued to keep in touch with her, with letters, postcards, and phone calls telling her I loved her, but I was doing this mostly because I felt I ought to.

A picture I took of my mom on one of her visits with us after she moved out.

Funny, how this all came about by admitting my faults, rather than demanding she acknowledge hers.  Looking back, was my mother really that rotten?  Did my mom really set out to humiliate me by pointing me out at the assembly or wanting me to dance with her?  No, I can believe she really was proud of me and was just trying to include me in the wonderful moments when she was drunk and temporarily free from her anxieties.  In any case, if it weren’t for my mom being exactly the way she was, my life would have turned out differently and I would have missed out on the wonderful life I have today.  So as far as I'm concerned she turned out to be the perfect mother, for me.

So, thank you mom.  To all the other moms out there, good luck.  Have fun and regardless of any mistakes you make along the way, eventually your kids will realize how fortunate they have been to have had a mom exactly like you.