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Chapter 2

My mom raised 10 children. She didn’t raise all of them from birth. Some came along as small children. Others, as teenagers. I explain this to people a lot. I have it nailed down to about a paragraph:

My father had two children from his first marriage. His first wife died of kidney disease. My parents then went on to have four natural children. Then they adopted 4 children. I was the first adopted child, but I’m also the youngest. One of my sisters was a foster child who came into our family as a teenager. She was never officially adopted because she turned 18 first, but she’s still as much a part of the family as anyone else. 

Knowing all this, one would think that my parents were saints, like on a similar level as Mother Theresa or some shit like that. To this day, I have no idea what really motivated my mom to want such a large family because she is by far the most selfish person I know.

Like, it’s no contest. My mom thinks of nobody but herself and she has absolutely no self-awareness. All service-industry people are there to do her bidding and therefore she is allowed to treat them all with nothing but contempt. Except she doesn’t see her behavior as such. She thinks she’s being perfectly civil, but quite honestly, her behavior is nothing short of cuntish.

Sometimes I think perhaps she slowly evolved to be this way over time. When I think back to my childhood I don’t feel as if I were abused nor neglected. I know that my parents loved me. There’s no question about that 

And perhaps she has gotten worse in her old age, but when I really stop to think about it, most of my memories of celebrations and fancy dinners out include ones where my mom insists on sending her food back multiple times while I cringe inside silently, hoping that nobody spit in my food.

To this day, someone could give me something completely different than what I ordered. They could bring me out a plate of dog doo and I would still not send it back. In fact, I would smile and assure people that everything was just fine, as if I could somehow cancel out all the rude behavior my mom has thrown out into the world.

I love my mom out of obligation. When my dad passed away, I happened to be the most responsible (and successful) kid so all responsibility for my mom went to me. Now you might be thinking: how bad can that be? Horrifically bad. My mom has no concept of money or how to manage it and she is completely helpless in general. She literally cannot screw in a lightbulb. The last time I was at her house I had to change half a dozen lightbulbs for her.

I knew I was smarter than my mom when I was about 13. I’ve often wondered how anyone with logical reasoning skills could believe in Christianity (or any other religion of similar ilk). Like, it makes no sense. Why would a god send his son (who is really just an extension of himself) down to earth to die for the sins of mankind? Why would a god use such symbolic bullshit to get his creations into line? 

I actually believe that my mom’s simple brain is what provides her the means to have such devout fate. I remember talking to her about heaven once. My idea of heaven when I tried to believe in it was very conceptual. I had always assumed that it was something we couldn't know or describe until we got there. And that it wasn’t a physical “thing”. It was more of a state of consciousness – perhaps more like Nirvana. On the other hand, my mom’s idea of heaven was that it would be just like life on Earth, but everyone would be happy happy happy! Kind of like Whoville sans Grinch (at least until his heart grew three sizes). 

Why the fuck would heaven be just like living on Earth?  Who wants to mow their fucking lawn and slog away at some shitty (but apparently “happy happy happy!”) job for all of eternity? And without dogs (because my mom also believes animals don’t have souls). A heaven without dogs is no place I want to be. Isn’t there something floating around about the hounds of hell? Or am I mixing religions?  Regardless, if the dogs are all in hell, then sign me up!

I’m not exactly sure when I went from searching for the faith I couldn’t find to realizing that there was no faith to be had, but since my upbringing put the fear of god in me, literally and figuratively, I spent most of my young adult life making my family believe I was a true believer and a good little Christian girl (i.e., virgin). 

Granted, my family was fairly naïve. I never really had to lie. I just had to withhold the truth (insert A Few Good Men reference here).

I went to a college with a 10:1 male-female ratio. Generally, most students lived off campus after freshman year which meant roommates.  For a female, this usually meant male roommates. And so, I lived in a 3-bedroom apartment with 3 men during my junior and senior years. One happened to be my boyfriend and we happened to be living in sin. My parents knew who I was living with and where I was living, but apparently they didn’t do the math. I suppose you might think they might assume two of my other roommates were shagging, but at the time, my parents would have never thought I would be associating with gay people, which might on some level have been worse to them than living in sin. They would later find out how very wrong they were, as my very best friend in the whole world is, in fact, a gay man whom I met in college. 

Speaking of my gay BFF, the night before I got married to my first husband (yes there have been more than one) my mom sat him down and told him he needed to go find another woman to love, as I was now taken. Rather than scream out, “I’m gay, you ignorant bitch!” he just smiled and nodded. 

Similarly, my mom told me that same night that “it might hurt the first time” and “you don’t have to have oral sex if you don’t want to”.  Why wouldn’t I want oral sex? Silly woman.

Anyway, to make a long story longer it wasn’t until I was dating my second husband that the awful truth of my heretical nature was revealed to my family. By this time I just didn’t give a shit. He moved into my house a month after we met and being that we were grown-ass adults who happened to be dating, there was no hiding under the “roommate” clause. 

It took a while for my mom to confront me. My dad had passed away a few years before I divorced husband numero uno. His passing was actually a catalyst for said divorce, but we’ll get into that later. You might be wondering, if my family was so fundy Christian, how it is that my divorce was considered OK in the eyes of their god. Very good question. In fact, when my oldest sister got divorced because HER HUSBAND FUCKING ABUSED HER my parents lectured her on the fact that she could never get married again. How fucked up is that shit, eh?  And then when my brother met the love of his life he eventually decided not to marry her because she was divorced (also due to an abusive ex). He ended up marrying a heinous harpy instead and refuses to divorce her because: religion. His horrible, cunty wife works for a Christian ministry organization. Ah, irony.

In any event, at some point along the way, my mom decided that divorce was OK. Perhaps it’s because she would like to see my brother get away from the shrew. Or perhaps it’s because my other sister has been married three times and my niece has been married (and divorced) twice and she can only harangue and disown so many family members.

Short side story on my niece: in between marriage one and two she told me she had to get married again soon because she desperately needed to have sex. How’s THAT for fucked up reasoning due to religion? In hindsight I should have suggested a vibrator, but perhaps that’s also considered a sin in my family. It’s hard to keep track these days.

And so, it took a couple years of living in sin for my mom to confront me, which is interesting. Maybe it just took that long to formulate her argument (if you recall my mom isn’t that bright), or maybe it took that long to brew over. Thankfully my oldest sister (who never remarried again by the way and she’s 15 years older than I) gave me a heads up that my mom wanted to discuss “things” with me. She also warned my mother to be careful not to completely destroy our relationship. 

“Don’t you want to be in heaven with Daddy?”  No shit, this is how my mom started the conversation. I told her that I didn’t believe in what she believed and it turned into a philosophical conversation, which with someone like my mom is a bit like philosophizing with an obstinate toddler. I told her most of the commandments made sense because they were put in place so as not to cause harm to other people (except the ones that make god sound like a prideful asshole, which I get, I mean if I created a whole slew of other beings I’d want them to bow down and kiss my ass too), but other things The Bible dictated made no sense. Like, how is homosexuality harming anyone? For that matter, how is sex outside of marriage between two consenting adults harming anyone? I mean back in the day before birth control perhaps it could lead to some harm, but that was then and this is now. 

My mom’s answer, “Well that’s what The Bible tells us.”

WTF? That’s not a fucking argument. So my response was that there are a bunch of things The Bible tells you not to do that people, including her, seem to ignore. 

Her answer, “Well all those things are in the Old Testament. 

SO IS MOST OF THE STUFF ABOUT HOMSEXUALITY, DAMMIT! Plus it’s still part of your “Bible”. Is that how you pick and choose?

In the end there was no real conclusion. My mom gave me a book called Even Good People go to Hell that went straight into the recycling bin when I got home.

The topic never came up between us again.