Hi! I’m Sophia. During the first 8 years of my life, I was a scapegoat for my mom, while other people considered her to almost be a saint. And once I got really desperate, my grandmother came to rescue me.
When I was 4, my dad left my mom. He actually never showed up after that. But I vividly remember the day he was leaving. I was playing out in the front yard of our house and he was in such a rush that he stepped over one of my toys and it broke. He pretended like he didn’t notice anything, while my mom was running after him crying, and begging him to change his mind and stay.
Since then something that I call “mama’s bad days” started. She had always been a bit too emotional. Like, for example, when she couldn’t find a perfect parking space near the supermarket, she would just get angry, drive away, and not buy anything. Usually, she calmed herself down really easily and fast, and dad really helped her with this. But after he left us, she became even more explosive over little tiny things, and I constantly found myself on the receiving end of her bad temper.
Once, she entered my room to say that it was time for me to take a bath, while I was playing with my toys under a tent I had made from chairs, pillows, and blankets. And when she saw this “mess,” as she called it, she turned red with anger, ruined the whole tent-thing, and started throwing everything around the room, while saying that I was the most naughty and stupid child in the world. And this was actually quite a frequent reaction of hers toward me playing with toys.
I’ve said, “I’m sorry, mommy” so many times in my life and for a variety of reasons. She was working in a law firm, and I was going to a preschool, and practically every morning of mine started with my mom, who was nervous because, as she said, it took her forever to wake me up and get me ready to go. While she was driving, she was already answering her business calls and she always got annoyed whenever I asked her a question.
But when she was leaving me at a preschool, she acted like the best mom in the world with so many kisses and hugs, and I felt like I loved her more than anything in the world to the point that I sort of immediately forgot that she had yelled at me, like, ten minutes ago. I sometimes heard my teachers talking to each other about my mom, and they would say that she was a very strong woman, having left and becoming a single mom. Usually, I was enormously proud when I heard that, and I sorta believed with all of my heart that my mom was really doing great, but then another “bad day” would happen, and I was once again apologizing for driving mom crazy.
I spent every weekend at my grandparents’ house, ‘cause my mom would say that she was really tired from working so much and from her daily routine and that she just needed to relax a little bit. Apparently, this included having a break from being a mom. I liked being there though. Granny often got me involved in cooking and it was great, and Grandpa taught me to play chess and checkers, and we did lots of fun stuff together. They never yelled at me, and on Sunday when they brought me back home to my mommy, I was so happy to see her again. And she was also happy, and calm, and loving… but only for a couple of days. Then things went back to “normal” again.
Years passed and I had pretty much gotten used to my mom’s temper and our weekends spent separately. But I still felt really bad whenever she yelled at me for nothing, or because of something that happened that I had nothing to do with.
For example, once, she had some problems at work and she returned home very tired and angry. I was about 8 back then, and we were told at school that we had to do an art project and I was really hoping that mom would help me finish it. Well, she not only got irritated that I chose the worst time possible to ask her that, but she also ruined everything that I had already done in her regular fit of rage. I cried all night long.
The next day at school I was the only one who had failed to do that project, and I felt really insulted, so I told my teacher the actual reason that I didn’t have my project. By the way, this was the first time that I had ever decided to tell the truth about my mom. But guess what? My teacher didn’t believe me. Even worse, she called my mom and asked her to come to school to discuss my lies. And when my mom came, she made up a story that it was our neighbors’ dog who ruined my Papier-mâché thing and promised that she would have a serious talk with me about accusing somebody else of my own problems.
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