About My Mom

    My Mom's name is Ruth Katherine Tilley (Richardson is her maiden name).  Everyone calls her Kitty, like since she was a kid.  Is it a cat thing?  I'm not sure, and to be honest, I've never asked.  I know she used to wear cats eye glasses as a teen.  Of all of my direct family (me, my brother and my parents) she is the most stable.  Of course when I say stable I mean that she exhibited the least amount of characteristics that would lead people to think she was crazy.
    Life has been pretty tough on her.  Her father was in the Army, but left before she was born.  He was a prison warden so they moved around a lot.  Something can be said for the case that like personalities attract.  My father is a mobile minded person, so is mom . . . there you go.  Shortly after my brother was born in 1971, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a degenerative nervous system disease of which there is no cure.  It only gets worse.  I have no memories of her being able to walk unassisted.  When I was young, she could get around with the aid of a walker, but as time progressed, she had degenerated to a wheelchair.  If there was ever a definition of a strong woman, that would be my mom.  Many of the traits I have, I get from my mom.  I tend to identify more with her than my dad.
    I know her parents love her but I always got the feeling they were dissapointed with her.  After she got MS, they were concerned about her health.  That is cool, but their problem was that they treated her like an invalid.  This caused her to rebel against them, and there is a definable rift between them, but they still love each other.
    My mom takes no shit from anyone.  She's a cool chick.
    Here are a couple of examples:

    When she was younger, she played powder puff football.  She had John Madden (of FOX TV) as her Economics teacher at Allen Hancock Community College.  he dated a DJ, and I was given her 45's (records that is).  She could roller-skate like a mo fo.  She got Roy Orbisons autograph when he was considered sexy.
    She was and is a homemaker.  There was a time when I used to believe that she had regrets about not doing something "more important", but time lets you look back and take stock.  Let me tell you, there is no harder fucking job than being a homemaker, especially with the little shit heads that my brother and I were.  She had to be a paramedic, especially during those times when I walked into the living room with a blood trail.  She had to deal with two boys and a father who acted like one . . . wrestling that broke furniture, food fights at the dinner table, convincing the neighbors not to sue us (she could have been a lwayer).  I'm ashamed to admit it, but there were many times when David and I took advantage of the fact that she was in a wheelchair.  We actually taunted her when she couldn't catch us after we mouthed off or got in trouble.
    But Doug help you if she caught you.
    She has this Ninja-like skill where she can find the most sensitive part of your body, grab hold of it with her fingernails, subdue you and then magically produce a wooden object to beat you with.  Sometimes it would be a ruler or a yardstick, most often it was a spoon, but either way, she'd give you a nice little whack on the ass or your fore-arm, and you went from smart mouth, to tears.  This might be considered child abuse today, but that's a load of shit.  I never got a bruise, I never got a broken bone, and in perspective, it wasn't all that painful, it just got its point across.
    She has a great and warped sense of humor.  She'll laugh at anything.  I'm sure that is partially a coping mechanism, but they was always laughter in our house.  Most people don't understand that.  ALl they saw was the down side of everything.  When we went to North Carolina during my dad's "I want to go back home" phase, the relatives just didn't get it.  They felt awkward around her, they felt the cripple jokes were "just wrong", even when they came from my moms mouth.  Plus that goddamned concept of southern hospitality, which actually means, don't say anything bad, don't rock the boat, don't be controversial.  Oh and if you are a woman JUST SHUT YOUR FUCKING MOUTH!  I hate the south, and I know my mom hated it, but she loves my dad and she dealt with it.
    Now I know things have been tough for her.  I know that under the joking and the sincere smile, she hurts.  Physically, I know she hurts.  She can't walk, she can't got to the bathroom normally, she is constantly fighting infection.  She can't do the normal things that we take for granted.  I know this.  She knows I know this.  I know that the constant moving around, the continual leaving behind of belongings and memories hurts her.  I can see it sometimes.  But I know she loves my brother and me.  I know she still loves my dad.  It doesn't need to be said, it's understood.  She has sucked down the pain because the gain is greater than the pain.
    Some nuggets of what I've taken from my mom: Return To My Twisted Side of the World