I walked up the stairs and knocked on the door. My mom lived above a row of small retail stores and a laundry mat. The door opened. There she was. My heart was racing. We fell into this awkward moment and both of us just stood there not knowing what to say. I don’t know what I expected her to look like. She was so skinny and short. She had rough hands with painted nails. Her hair was thin and dark. She didn’t look like the person in the pictures my grandmother showed me when I was little. My mom was vibrant, healthy, and happy in those pictures. This woman, I didn’t recognize. She looked like a poor, struggling homeless woman. I instantly felt sad for her. I had this overwhelming desire to“fix” her.
She gave me a hug, invited me in, and she went to sit on her bed. I shut the door behind me, walked into the area that served as her bedroom and living-room and I took a seat across the room. Before we even started to chat, my mom pick up her beer. I watched as she quickly guzzled it down and went to find herself another. We sat there for a moment, staring at each other. We both were taking in the moment waiting on each other to start small talk. I couldn’t speak. I wanted to scream! It was only 10:00 a.m. and she was drunk. Instead, I showed her compassion and kindness, just as I would a stranger. This woman who abandoned me ten years ago allowed me to stay with her for hours. Why now? Why didn’t she want me back then? Why didn’t she stay with me when I was 8?
It was only later, when I became a parent myself, that I found my answer….