It was the voice of my two-year old that returned two weeks ago. My mother was perfect. I am sure we were bathed and fed and read to. We went to the park and were pushed on the swings. She made hand-knit dresses for my barbie dolls and made matching dresses for my sister and me. She sewed beautiful silk dresses for herself with covered buttons. And she put a well balanced supper and desert on the table every night at 6:30 for her family. It all looked excellent on paper and was wrapped up as parental perfection and family bliss in my mind. But maybe it wasn't.
Maybe my mom was overwhelmed -- three kids in diapers at one time (and not the disposable kind). But that was okay then; that's what women did -- have babies and stay home to care for them. There was little choice in the middle class suburban white world she inhabited. She dropped out of college (where she met my father), got married and started a family. My father started a career - first as a journalist then advertising. And he cheated on my mother, many times, and drank himself to the point of having the DTs and blackouts and car crashes.
So was she happy? Doubtful. Did she admit it? Probably not. She put the past in the past and only looked ahead. You can't learn, after all, from what never happened. But the last straw did eventually get pulled and those fragile support beams came tumbling down catapulting this bloodied princess and her siblings from their fairytale life into the shark infested waters below. Only the strongest thrived.