Growing up, coping with mom

Chelsea Synder and Chelsea Synder

It’s that time again. The summer has quietly drawn to a close and all over, young people are returning to school with eager minds, bright eyes, hearts full of hope and a couple pennies in their pocket as they reach for that goal of a better and brighter tomorrow. Oh sorry, I accidentally confused students with early twentieth century immigrants. Happens to the best of us.With the sentimental air of “back to school” time in mind, I have also been reminded that it is time for another ritual that is uniquely Chelsea: my mother has disowned me for the eighteenth time. That’s right. If you ask my mother something innocent such as, “How is Chelsea, your daughter?” she will quickly and bitterly respond with, “I have no daughter!” You think I’m joking, and sure enough, this is the humor section of the page, but I kid you not. Yesterday my mother screamed into the telephone, “DON’T CALL THIS HOUSE EVER AGAIN!” Hey, it saves me cell phone minutes, so it works for me.To understand the situation, you must first realize: my parents are insane. Most people have had fairly typical childhoods — maybe their parents got divorced or something crappy like that, but not many people have had to deal with problems more extreme than a curfew or no good snack foods in the house when they brought friends over to watch TRL. In all frankness though, it has become my honest belief that my parents are from some distant planet, or perhaps the moon, and only recently chose to settle in northwest Ohio and breed. All I can say is that it is fortunate that I can hide all of my pain inside, like a suicidal clown.For the time being, mostly due to my current bitterness of the situation at hand, I shall focus on my mother. Until recently, I have never really elaborated on the pain that it was to be raised with a crazy woman as a female role model. For example, on a nightly basis after Mom came home from work, she would misplace something and then begin to rant and yell about how either my brother or myself put it someplace on purpose or stole it from her for the sake of draining her patience and (limited) sanity. Sometimes on trips to the store, she would leave her purse in the car. When she later realized that she didn’t have it, she would repeatedly accuse my younger brother or me of taking it until we cried or she found it in the car. That was fantastic, because we would then be accused of stealing her money even if she found her purse in the car, where she herself had left it. This sort of stuff has lasted my whole life, from my earliest memories to college. It still happens when I go home to see my parents, but since I moved out it has gotten a bit easier to say, “Arrgghh, you are being crazy, mother.”Of course then she gets angry and won’t talk to me until I apologize and tell her that I was only joking.Another fun aspect of my devoted mother was her tendency to fear and despise any and all things categorized as “drugs.” Unfortunately for my brother and I, part of what fell into the “drug” category were over-the-counter remedies for things like headaches, colds, the flu, and various other childhood ailments. As a result of this, I remember several very dramatic fever-dreams encountered at young ages after which I woke up screaming and drenched in sweat. I never looked at Fraggle Rock the same way again.I really could go on at length about the many ways in which my mother is nuttier than a fruitcake. She is one of the most interesting people I know, but it was absolute hell growing up with her, and her behavior in the past year has not added to that sentiment. I at least hope I have convinced you that my mom is a head case. Perhaps in my next column, I’ll elaborate on the case of my father, just for the sake of balancing the playing field.