I've been trying to dig up parts of my childhood that I can remember. Somethings I just don't have a memory for. Pictures I don't remember ever being there. It seems to help me remember more if I record what I do remember. If that makes sense.
I remember almost nothing of my mother but an alternately ignoring then intrusive figure. I was wary of her at all times. When I was ignored I felt safer but I was afraid she would forget I existed. I would wait breathless for the sound of our busted muffler as she was always late to pick me up from school. Then when I heard it I would feel anxiety rise in my throat as I wondered what kind of mood she'd be in. Sometimes she'd be in a good mood, wanting to go do something. Mostly, she just seemed tired and put-out at having to pick me up. Sometimes she was in a semi-rage, a slow boil. I would hold myself in as tightly as I could so I wouldn't make it boil over.
I remember times when I was sick and she would still drag me around town if she felt like it. Usually to buy something for the house or herself. I've laid in the back seat of our station wagon many times sick with a headache, fever or nausea just waiting for her to come back so we can go home. I didn't like her around me when I was sick. I just had this feeling of 'please go away so I can rest.' She never stayed long, luckily. She resented me being sick. That she had to care for a sick child. I was 8 and had a terribly cramping and painful stomach and came home from school about 10 am. I felt better about 2 and went outside to play. She was furious. At age 12 I had a 103 temp and missed my band performance. I had a solo. She was mortified I was not able to perform. She gave me the silent treatment for days.
I remember I learned to do self-care things for myself at a pretty early age. When she brushed my hair she pulled it roughly, making no effort to smooth the process. When she cut my fingernails she would twist my fingers around painfully so she could 'get at them' better. She would rub the freshly cut nail back and forth roughly. This was almost unbearable for me and I protested. She said she had to make sure they were smooth. She always cut them way too short because she did not want to do them again any time soon. They would often bleed she cut them so short. When she curled my hair for church she would inevitably burn me with the curling iron and then tell me to stop squirming. (I hated curls, she insisted until I was about 16.)
She seemed to delight in hurting me in all sorts of little ways. If I was laying down her way of getting my attention was to grab my toes and twist and pull them. If she ever tickled it wasn't gentle. It hurt badly. If we were alone I might get a slap across the face or a pinch. She took after me with a hot clothes iron one time for bugging her while she ironed. I fled. A smack with the hairbrush or cooking utensil awaited if I got in her way while she was busy. She would force me to look into her eyes while she spit venom at me by gripping and twisting my jaw till it ached. She didn't leave marks though. She was a perfect mother and perfect mothers don't leave marks.