Today I will be continuing my A Day in the Life Series about my life growing up with a mom who had paranoid schizophrenia. To see the previous post which is referenced in this conversation, click here:
This post is about a conversation my 83-year-old father and I had about my mom today, while waiting to see his cardiologist. The doctor told us my dad will need to have heart surgery later this summer. I anticipate that it will go well, but as I drove back to work after the appointment, I couldn’t help but think about how thankful I am for all the years he took care of my mom and us kids. He can sometimes come across as rather cynical these days, but I know that he is a kind and sensitive soul who loves his family dearly.
Dad – “Why did you ask me for those baby pictures of your sister?”
Me – “I wanted to use them for my blog post.”
Dad – “Oh, are you still doing that?”
Me – “Yup. Hey, I wanted to ask you about why mom didn’t want to bring Mary home after she was born. I wasn’t sure if I had that story right.”
Dad – “She was upset because she wanted to have a natural birth, but they had to put in one of those things to numb her so they could get the baby out quickly because she was in distress.”
Me – “An epidural?”
Dad – “Yeah, she didn’t want one of those. In those days, the fathers weren’t allowed in the room, so I didn’t see the baby until after she was born. I saw the nurse come down the hallway with the baby in her arms, and then I found out your mom didn’t want anything to do with the baby. She said she didn’t want the baby.”
We were quiet for a minute and then I asked why. Dad replied “I don’t know what she was thinking.”
Me – “Wow. Did you know that when Mary was a teenager mom told her she wasn’t her baby but that she loved her any way?”
Dad “No, I never knew that.”
As we sat there, my dad told me about the time he was in the shoe store with my mom buying the kids shoes. Apparently mom looked over and saw a white speck on his shoulder and immediately became upset, saying she thought someone had just walked by and put cocaine on him.
He went on – “I said to her, ‘it’s not cocaine, Shirley. Why in the hell would someone want to put that on me?'”
Me – “What did she say?”
Dad = “She said ‘that’s what they want you to believe, they’re trying to get you hooked on it!'”
Me – “So then what happened?”
Dad – “Your mother said ‘let’s get out of here’.”
Me – “And did you leave?”
Dad – “No, I stayed and got the kids shoes.”
Me – “What did mom do?”
Dad – “She left the store and went out and sat in the car.”
I looked over at him and smiled, recalling how many scenarios like this had occurred and how calmly he had usually responded.
“It was just another day.” He said, shrugging.