Each week, I will be sharing a little bit of my testimony. If you missed the first week, be sure to read it HERE.
My mom very rarely dated. She was too busy working and trying to take care of me. She did happen to meet one man who I remember whom she dated for quite some time. He was really nice and I can remember having a lot of fun with him.
Meanwhile, my father had women in and out of his life. He even remarried, but that did not last long and there were a few more women, but none that stuck around. Then Joyce came along. She had a son a little bit younger than me and we got along pretty well, but I never particularly liked him or grew close to him. My father stayed with Joyce for a couple of years, but he never married her. I have one particular memory of them that is quite unpleasant. Again, I had no idea what was going on until I got older and replayed the memory in my mind.
I was laying on the floor watching television while my father and Joyce were up on the couch. They decided that they were going to start doing some “adult” things. I won’t go into detail, but I am sure you can imagine. They thought they were being discreet; obviously they were not.
After that, I started to grow quite distant from my father. Right about the same time, I noticed he started coming around and visiting us more often. He and my mom started spending quite a bit of time together; more than they had in the past. We started to do things together, just the three of us; somewhat like a family. Joyce eventually stopped coming around and things in my life started changing again.
One night, my mom and father sat me down and told me something that I thought I would never hear.
“We are moving back in together. We are going to be living as a family again.”
I was 7 at the time.
Things went quite well for a few years. My brother was born a couple of years later when I was 9 and then my sister came along when I was 11. These were what I consider the honeymoon years.
As I got older, more and more of the childcare for my siblings fell upon me as well as the care of our home. I was required to be a live-in babysitter and on-call at all times. I was required to keep the house clean, not just to do normal chores, but to keep it clean. I wasn’t allowed to go to friend’s houses. I wasn’t allowed to do anything after school unless it was music or academics. My role was at home. My worth and my value was based upon how well I kept the house clean and how well taken care of and behaved my siblings were.
My mother was only allowed to go to work and back. She could go to the store for groceries and back. She wasn’t allowed to have a life outside of our home. She began to try to cope by turning to alcohol. It was normal for her to come home from work and go through a 6-pack of beer before my dad made it home from work. Then my dad would start in on his 6-pack and she would have a couple more with him. The weekends became the times when I was stuck at home watching my siblings and taking care of the house while they went out to the bars. Night was filled with being awoken by yells, and screams, and thuds. Mornings were filled with excuses, bruises and apologies. It was an ugly cycle that went on for about 5 years.
I don’t know what happened, I’m sure it was God’s prompting without her even knowing it, but my mom decided she was going to quit drinking. Cold Turkey. That was it. She just stopped.
And things got a little bit better at our house. But my father never stopped drinking. The physical abuse stopped, I think in part to the fact that I was getting old enough to understand what was going on. So he used other methods of abuse; Fear, control, and his words.