My Mother This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

March 11, 2011
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My mother has never been reliable. Never punctual, never dependable, flimsy, weak. To her credit, she has instilled in me values and morals that I strongly uphold, and an ambition that I cannot seem to satisfy. But the disappointment in me that she repeatedly caused when I was fifteen overshadows all of her good-natured intentions.

On the last day of school of my 9th year, my then-boyfriend, our mutual friend, and I endured the trek from our school to my home. I entered the living room and silently absorbed the sight of my mother, sprawled out on our sofa, dozing with her mouth and eyes slowly opening, then closing. ‘Nothing abnormal’, I thought. Since my mother had become unemployed, she had taken to napping during the daytime. I had often come home to find her in similar situations. As I padded across the hallway to my room, I caught my step-father packing his possessions, and reality overwhelmed me. My mother had relapsed.

In times of crisis, many would panic and depend entirely upon their instincts to overcome a similar traumatic incident, but I did not such thing. Looking back on it nearly two years later, I realize that as a fourteen year-old living without guidelines or discipline I could not have acted more maturely, or thought more clearly. But the reality of losing my mother to the bottle, again, would not take its toll for another four months.

So I called my father. He was not surprised.

I fed my dog. I packed a change of clothes. But I did not cry, or react to the loss of my mother.

I did not see her again for another two months.

On my fifteenth birthday, my father ignored the call from her rehabilitation facility. I made this discovery three days later when I borrowed his phone. I didn’t care.

I reacted to her first relapse when she was released a month later, only to be immediately rehabilitated again. And again. And again.

My mother says things like, “it’s in my blood” and “it’s not your fault.” But I know, and she knows, that the only reason my mother cannot stop drinking is because she has no one to stop drinking for. Not her husband, not me, not herself.

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