Mother's Little Helper
Every once in a while, I allow myself to dig deep into the bowels of my brain and retrieve the memories of my childhood that made my life a (secret) living hell. Over and over again, I try to remind myself I was adopted because there are people who wanted to give me a life full of chances and opportunities that I would not have had, had I stayed in-care, where ever that was my first year of life. As nice as that generic reason seems to most people, I know why my adoptive mother needed me. It was not to save me from an orphanage, (although that did make her look like a savior in human clothing)... it was to save herself from the pain she was feeling about her own life, her own losses, and her own secret miseries she had kept to herself.
I don't know when it began, but I do recall how the "Comfort Years" started. It started with a sad mommy wanting a back-rub because she was tired and upset. Nothing made me happier than to make mommy glad, so I would walk on her back, like George Jefferson used to do for Mr. Bentley on the show, The Jeffersons. I would use my feet to soothe her back and she would tell me how good I made her feel, and that made me feel so proud. I loved knowing I could make her happy, especially when I saw her look so lonely and sad. As I got older, and heavier, I would use my hands, instead of my feet, and I'd massage not just her back, but also her legs and her feet. This became a night-time ritual, one that allowed me to watch an extra hour of TV. I used to love watching Quincey ME and movies made for TV. I don't remember how old I was, but I do recall how/when those Mommy & Me moments became a real chore. She started telling me her problems and secrets and suddenly the mommy I adored became a woman who had all sorts of family and marriage problems that were only getting worse.
It was my job to listen, comfort and rub. It was my job to nurse her back to working-health, which meant in addition to the back-rubs, it was my job to bring her tea and toast (or a glass of Tab with lots of ice) and her bottle of pills so she get her rest and sleep. It was my job to keep quiet, unless she needed me to agree with what she was saying or tell her things I saw or over-heard. It was my job to shut her door and make sure she was not disturbed. It was my job not to bring more stress to her already overwhelming world.
Decades later, when I was a Senior in nursing school, I almost told my mother about the sexual abuse that started when I was nine years old. Before I could get to the words, she stopped me and told me, "If I ever found out your life was less than perfect, I would die."
I knew right then how much she needed her Mother's Little Helper to protect her from reality.