I have been absent the last couple of days. I spent some quality time with my family and took some much-needed me time. I’ve now gotten caught up on my reading and I’m ready to move forward.
My husband had to wake me up sometime early this morning because I was crying in my sleep. All I remember of the dream was that I was being restrained and sliced with razors by Kim and Jack A. and being told that I couldn’t do something though I don’t remember what the ‘something’ was in the dream. I will get back to this in a few minutes.
In a previous post, I mentioned that my sister and I are ten and a half years apart in age. She was born when I was ten years old. Some of you may remember my ‘Sanctuary’ post and Suzie was born just after that period in time. I can almost coincide the conception of my sister to the time frame when the physical abuse started. My sister used to call me ‘Momma Sissy’ because I was forced to watch her as a built-in babysitter…
I was in fifth grade and school had let out for the day and instead of my step father being there to pick me up, my step father’s cousin was there to walk me home. My sister had been born. From the first day that she came home, I remember hearing her cry at night and when the crying wouldn’t stop, I would get out of bed to go check on her. For the first couple of days, I thought my mother was just too tired so I would go wake her up and tell her sissy was crying. She would get up and take care of it and then I could go back to bed. Shortly after, my mother got the bright idea to show me how to make a baby bottle to feed Suzie. After a while, when I would go to wake my mom up, she would tell me to go make the baby bottle. Eventually it got to where I was feeding, burping, and changing my sister anywhere from three to four times a night. At ten years old, I knew more about babies than any of my friends.
When I was in eighth grade, we moved from a really bad area close to downtown to a country town that was almost a two hours drive north. If I went on a walk, Suzie was ALWAYS in tow. At twelve years old, I had a woman (probably in her thirties) ask me if she was my daughter. I guess I had gotten so used to Suzie being around that the question didn’t faze me. I said no that she was my sister… Another time a different woman made the declaration…. PLEASE TELL ME THAT’S NOT YOUR DAUGHTER! Of course I said no, that she was my sister. It just didn’t occur to me to mind what people thought.
Because I was Jack A. and Kim’s built-in babysitter, I missed out on sporting events and sleep overs and the things that a teenage girl is supposed to get or experience. The dream that I mentioned in the opening paragraph is just one of its many manifestations of being deprived of a ‘childhood.’
When Suzie got older and had a voice, she learned that if she TOLD on something I did or didn’t do for her, she could get me into trouble. Back then, I know she didn’t understand the depth of the ‘trouble’ that her tattling caused.
Jack A. was in a bad mood and when he got home from work, his typical thing was to check to make sure that I had done my chores. We had this little work shed, probably 5 x 5, in the back yard when we lived ‘in town’ where there was some hay for the dogs to sleep on. We had two back at this time. From the time that I had changed the dogs water (probably an hour before he got home) the bowl had been turned to mud.
One of my dogs would drink his water only when his two front feet were planted IN the water bowl. When Jack A. made his rounds, he found the mud. I had learned, by this point at least, that it was pointless to resist punishment. I wish I could say that I was strong enough, that I overcame… but this is my embarrassment. I know it is un-warented and illogical that I’m embarrassed by my lack of resistance, I still am.
When Jack A. discovered the dirty water… he called me outside. It was his routine to do a ‘walk through’ and any problems he found, I would be ‘called’ to order. I was used to this so my face was a mask. Showing no emotion. This time, when asked what was wrong, I told him the water was dirty. Then he asked:
Then why didn’t you clean it?
I did, but the dogs stand in the water when they drink and they’ve been digging.
HE KNEW the dogs did that and still….
No, they wouldn’t have gotten it that dirty if you cleaned it today. Try again!
I don’t know what to say. I know I cleaned it.
CLEAN IT NOW!
I didn’t even dignify this with a response. I just did as I was told and he went in the house to watch TV. When I was done, I went to my room to start my homework. Chores were my priority… not school. Chores and my sister were my two primary responsibilities and then IF I had time, I could do homework. The covers on my bed had been removed. I went to the living room because this was unusual. I asked Jack A. if he did something with my covers and his response was that:
Yes, I removed them. You are sleeping out in the shed until you understand the conditions that you make the dogs sleep in.
This was only after a one hour lecture over how to properly take care of dogs and the conditions pets are made to live in isn’t their choice.
I know some of you are reading this going… Wait a minute! Jack A. believed that dogs and pets should live in better conditions than I did. I wasn’t his real daughter and he made this apparent verbally and literally. This isn’t as bad as being forced to eat dog poop but it was still bad enough. There was enough room in the shed along the back wall that had some shelves with enough support that I could sleep on the bottom one. This kept me off of the floor of the shed and semi away from bugs. I got a spider bite during the seven days I was made to sleep outside.
Where was my mother in all of this? Well, she was working and away from home from Monday through Friday and returned home Friday evening. I remember something being said along the lines of, I should have been eating outside too instead of sleeping and then I would have been getting a real dose of how badly the dogs were treated.