When I was little, my parents got divorced. My mom and stepdad were no-sugar-in-your-Kool-Aid broke, and my 2 younger sisters and I were tyrants.
Our parents worked. They worked and worked and worked, and when they weren’t working they were cleaning up after us, or making dinner, or feeding dogs, or trying to find 3 minutes of peace and quiet. I was babysitting my sisters after school by 4th grade — my mom tried hiring people to watch us but we’d either drive them off or they cost too much or both.
We never thought we had enough of Mom’s attention. We’d badger her when she locked herself in the bathroom to make calls. She couldn’t shower alone or nap, she couldn’t leave the house without at least one of us hanging off the cuffs of her pants. When she’d go to work, my sisters and I would argue and call her repeatedly to settle it, “Stephanie wants the volume at 8 but I want it at 7 so I can watch TV and do my homework!” “Shannon’s not cleaning her room.” “When I said I was calling you to tell on Steph, Shannon said she wanted to call you first,” and so on. On weekends she’d drag all 3 of us to the laundromat with no-frills black garbage bags full of dirty clothes and we’d entertain ourselves in front of the strip mall, nagging in turn for quarters to feed the soda machine.
My mom would get up with me at 6 a.m. and type my book reports, she’d drive us to Taco Bell at 2 in the morning if we woke her up and said “please”. She’d treat us to the 2-2-2 special at Friendly’s if we managed to behave for more than 5 minutes. And we still didn’t think we had enough of her attention.
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