Sunday, April 18, 2010

My Mom's Polio Foot

If you’ve read any of the stuff about my mom you know that she was a seriously troubled woman. In addition, she had a couple of physical problems. The arch of one of her feet was slightly deformed from childhood polio. It didn’t make her limp, but apparently it hurt her quite a bit. When I was a kid she would make us massage it, usually me. It seemed like I did it for hours at a time. That is probably an exaggeration, but however long it was, it was dysfunctional as hell for her to make me do it at all.

I hated doing it, she knew I hated doing it, and we both knew we hated each other. But there I was, rubbing the damn thing. It didn’t even seem like it helped. She would just sit or lay there and read, eat, or both.

I think it was a control mechanism. That is, I think she used it to demonstrate to me, that she was in charge. I despised doing it, but if I complained about it, I’d catch a beating. This took place while I was in elementary school. If it had been a little later in my childhood, I’d have taken the beating every time. I used to sit there and massage her damn foot and she didn’t even say thank you. When she thought I’d done it long enough, she’d just pull her foot away and wave me off.

If she knew what I was thinking while I was massaging her foot, she might have had a change of heart. Yes, I was thinking about killing her. I was picturing all the different ways I could do it, and going through the process in my mind.

One time she made me ride my bike to a takeout Chinese place at least a mile away, to pick her up some food. Then she ate it in front of me while I massaged her foot. When I was done I had to eat pinto beans with my brothers. When she was done eating, she put her leftovers in the fridge without offering any of it to us. We all knew better than to touch her food. She could be gone for next 3 days and we still wouldn’t touch them.

15 comments:

Chuck said...

It's amaziing you don't need continual and deep therapy. You are a survivor.

Bossy Betty said...

Another example of a childhood that would have seriously screwed up anybody. Thank goodness you have your writing to help you process it all and we have your writing to read, painful though it might be.

Shrinky said...

There is no excuse for deliberate cruely. I think it isn't until you have your own children that the depth of the maltreatment hits home. Forgive me for asking, but where was your father during all of this? Was there no one there to protect you at all? I am amazed at how far you have come, you have so much to hold your head up high about!

Pat Tillett said...

Chuck and Betty - Believe me, I've had a bunch of therapy. It was actually a good thing that my mom was "gone" a lot. We may not have had much food while she was "missing" but at least she wasn't there! It's all been processed and dealt with. It's really not painful for me to recount it. I'm glad to get all of it typed out like this, maybe someday I can tie it all together and do something with it.

Pat Tillett said...

Shrinky - Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I truly appreciate it.
The woman was insane. Where was my dad? that's a good question, it's a little too complicated to answer in a comment. So if you don't mind...I think you'll see that my mom was indeed nuts. The three links below explain a lot.

A thumbnail sketch of my mom
http://patricktillett.blogspot.com/2009/06/my-mom-generally-speaking.html

When my Dad left
http://patricktillett.blogspot.com/2010/03/goodbye-dad.html

When we reunited
http://patricktillett.blogspot.com/2009/07/hello-again-dad.html

Ms. Anthropy said...

My grandmother had polio feet and legs. To have touched them as a child, would have been way to scary. They were grossly misshapen and monsterish.

Ms. Anthropy said...

AND, I don't know how she ever found shoes.

Pat Tillett said...

Ms. A - My mom's foot looked pretty normal to me. Maybe she lied to me about it! I really wouldn't doubt it.

The Retired One said...

I am so sorry, Pat. I really am. I hope karma gives you a wonderful life now for all that you have endured.

Pat Tillett said...

Joan - My life is indeed wonderful...

Joe Cap said...

I agree that it is such a blessing that you have overcome all these trials...

Anonymous said...

Would you be happier today if you would have killed her early on?

Pat Tillett said...

Anonymous - I don't believe I'd be happier today. Because I'm pretty darn happy.

ASBLACKASOBAMA said...

You posted the final part about your dad? How did I miss that? It's good to know that you're a happy man today Pat!

Pat Tillett said...

Thanks! I'm happier than I got any right to be!