Thank you for reading another volume in the Pretties TCOAA (The Child of An Addict) Addiction Series. I decided to begin this series when I realized how many people were curious about me being the child of an addict. This was just life for me growing up. I never realized until I became an adult, that I didn’t grow up like everyone else. Yes, I had friends with parents that were amazing. I knew that my childhood was different, I just didn’t realize that it was interesting or a learning experience for other people… Read the Full Back Story here
Throughout the course of my childhood, my mom had many, many boyfriends. None as infamous as the “prison boyfriend”, to this day I believe my mom had a fighting chance at recovery and he took that all away, now my mom is addicted to crack, same as cocaine just smoked instead of shooting or snorting. My mom and he were on and off till about 1994. About 1993 my mom, prison boyfriend, and my new half-brother moved to Florida. My mother now was a full fledged crack addict. Not only had my mom abandoned Jamie and I but now my little baby brother. Just a baby left to be raised by my Great Grandmother in her 80’s at the time. I don’t think prison boyfriend was in Florida very long before he left my mom and went back to Missouri. My mom then began her life on the streets.
During the years of my mom now residing in Florida, and I in Missouri. Of course now by this time I am about 12-13 yrs old and my mother’s addiction is no longer a secret to me. I would call my grandmothers and they were always so sad to tell me they hadn’t seen or heard from her, but we all knew what she was doing. My mom was a full blown crack head, living on the streets, prostituting herself for drugs, shelter, money, and food. Living out of bags, not knowing where she would sleep at night or even if she would be able to sleep.
My paternal grandparents lived in Florida as well so from time to time our dad would take us there to visit and vacation. We would also get the opportunity to go and visit with our maternal grandmothers in the part of Florida where my mom was. When we did get to visit them, our whole visit was consumed with finding our mom. My grandma would drive us around for hours and hours, through terrible parts of town, where ever she had heard my mom was spotted last. We would literally knock on doors of crack houses, stop strangers on the corner, asking if anyone knew of my mom or could at least get word spread around her daughters were visiting from out of state and wanted to see her. Sometimes we would succeed and get to spend a few precious hours with her before she had to run off and get her fix, most of the time we wouldn’t. One time we found her in this shitty little motel, where someone had told us she had been staying even giving us the exact room number. We arrived, knocked on the door and this huge black man answered the door and said NO she didn’t stay there and she wasn’t there. Sadly we went back to the car, our grandma had us write a note to go and give the man just in case he ran into her. When we knocked on the door my mom answered the door, she was there the whole time, we got to spend less than an hour with our mom that day. She wasn’t anyone, I had ever known, just a drugged up, a cracked-out shell of her own self. I couldn’t help but stare at her and wonder what she goes through every day. Was the man who answered the door her pimp, does he beat her, does she do things against her will, has she ever been raped, has anyone ever tried to kill her, do the clients she sleeps with wear protection, does my mom have aids????? These are the things I was thinking as I was looking at my mom.
Our last visit in Florida when we got to see mom, I was 19 and Jamie 17, we also had our now 6 yr old brother with us. We borrowed my Grandma’s car because my mom actually wanted to see us, so we were going to pick her up and go to the mall, just like a regular family. Our grandma thought it would be a good idea, our mom had just been in jail for a few months, so she believed my mom was clean. We picked her up, looking at her she looked great, she had weight on her body, she was bright eyed and seemingly excited to see her 3 children. We headed to the mall, when we pulled up she said ok you guys go on ahead and I’ll meet ya all in there. Right at that moment, I knew it was too good to be true and my mom wanted to smoke crack. I sent Jamie and my little brother in ahead of us. I couldn’t believe we just picked her up and she couldn’t even go to the mall with her own children without needing to smoke crack. She had to she said, she just had to. She then begged me to help her find something in the car to push her crack pipe with, I did. I don’t know why I did, but I did I sat in the car with my mom while she finished smoking the last of the residue she could scrape out of her pipe, then we went in. I didn’t care, at that point in my life all I wanted was a mom, my mom, I would have done anything she asked me at that moment in time.
The reason the title of my story is Mugshot Mom is because once the internet came into my life about my junior/senior year of high school, I could get on the jail website and just look up her name and there she was. The woman I had been searching for all my life. Her name came up more than 20 times all with different mugshots. Now I could see my mom anytime I wanted, but this woman wasn’t the beautiful mom I once knew. I would sit and look at them for hours and hours, examining every aspect of every picture of her. Her hair styles, her weight or lack thereof, sometimes she would be under 100 lbs. Other times she would have black eyes, crack pipe burns on her lips, I got to watch her teeth rot out right before my eyed in mugshots. I would stare at her pupils, knowing if they were big she got picked up high. I would read every last detail of her charges, mostly drug possession, and prostitution. I would stare at her blue eyes, identical to my own. I would stare at her hair, her colic on the right side of her bangs just like my own. I often wondered would this be me, would I repeat everything my mom has done. I mean we look alike, and people always told me, you are just like your mama. Was I?? Would I be like her?? Would I act like her, would I repeat all of her mistakes?? Would I be her one day?
My mom continued in her addiction until about 2007, my mom finally got clean and I was at the time a 25 yr old woman with a child of my own. My mom has been clean now for almost 8 yrs, my mom will however always be an addict, and I an addict’s daughter. Do we have a perfect relationship? NO! I feel as though I never bonded with my mom and there is just nothing that can turn back time and fix that. Has my mom apologized?? Yes, over and over again. Do I forgive her?? Yes, yes I do!
October 15, 2015