My mother arrived at my birthday party that she organized four hours late. When I got there, the party wasn’t set up. She showed up under the influence of drugs and left during the party to use drugs again. My sisters didn’t come, and most of the expected guests didn’t show up either. Only around nine people attended, and many of them left when the party took a turn for the worse.
I was deeply affected by the experience. My sisters have their own significant traumas that prevent us from having a strong sisterly bond. They tend to become angry over minor issues and easily cut off communication when I try to calm things down. My mother prioritizes drugs over me. Consequently, I had no choice but to sever ties with my entire maternal side of the family, including the sister I share a father with. This situation has left me feeling wounded and sorrowful.
I am a 20-year-old female, and my mother ruined both my birthday celebration and my relationships with all of my sisters. I was born to a woman who battled a crack addiction, starting her journey into motherhood at the age of 15. Despite having children, she continued to pursue a party lifestyle and neglected my older siblings. She was still using drugs during my pregnancy, leading to my birth while experiencing withdrawal from crack (please don’t feel sorry for me; there is nothing wrong with my health, just an inclination towards strong emotions and addictive tendencies).
Additionally, due to her HIV status, she had to undergo a C-section, and she transmitted the virus to my father. Unfortunately, his excessive drug use aggravated the situation, and he passed away when I was in sixth grade, around 2016. I discovered his lifeless body in his room. My mother wasn’t present during this time, as my father didn’t want her around me due to her drug addiction.
Addicts are skilled at deception, and she couldn’t break free from her drug use. I spent my childhood moving between my grandparents’ and aunt’s homes, as well as my father’s. After his death, my mother suddenly reappeared, saying all the right things at the right moments. I had no reason to suspect she was still using drugs. My grandmother restricted her interaction with me, but when I entered high school, we started to reconnect bit by bit. By the time I graduated, I had the opportunity to strengthen my bond with her. While things were mostly fine between us, ongoing family conflicts between her and my sisters persisted, fueled by their inability to move beyond past issues and set aside their differences.
Now, fast-forward to the present day. My recent birthday was marred by unfortunate events. My mother wanted to throw me a birthday party, as I had never really had one before. She assured me she had everything planned, so I expected things to run fairly smoothly. She sent out the party information to all my friends, stating that the party would begin at 6 PM. However, when I arrived at 7:30 PM, nothing was prepared, and only the DJs were present. I had been dropped off by my grandfather, who was also puzzled by the lack of attendees. I called my mother twice, receiving no response.
After five minutes, she called back, informing me that she had just gotten into a cab. I was taken aback by this revelation. I managed to stammer out, “Um… okay…?” before ending the call. I glanced at my grandpa, shaking my head in disbelief. Just then, my best friend showed up. I exited the car, making my presence known to her so that she wouldn’t leave me alone in this situation.
We spent some time together, waiting for the party to get started. The DJs eventually set up a table for the event. The music was excessively loud for the small space, so we found ourselves constantly going in and out of the event room. Later on, my boyfriend arrived, questioning the absence of guests. It’s worth noting that my mom lives in the same borough as I do, The Bronx. Despite this, my friends and boyfriend made the effort to travel from Queens, yet she still hadn’t arrived! Frustration and emotions welled up within me. My boyfriend suggested that we step outside to smoke a little and unwind.
Finally, at 10 PM, my mother made her entrance. However, there was still no food. She greeted me, embracing me with her full weight, causing discomfort as I was wearing heels. I asked her to step back. She proceeded to decorate using the small box of decorations she had. By this point, some of my aunts and cousins had also arrived, witnessing my mother’s behavior. They reluctantly joined in to help her, mainly for my sake.
Nonetheless, they were visibly upset. Due to hunger and thirst, some guests started ordering food and drinks from other stores. I found myself apologizing and venting to my friends about the chaotic turn of events. In that moment, I chuckled a bit, almost incredulous at the situation. As the party picked up, my cousins tried to lift my spirits by encouraging me to dance, joined by my friends.
We danced briefly, and when the food finally arrived, we managed to grab a bite. However, things began to take a strange turn. My mother and her sisters repeatedly left the party to go outside. I learned afterward that she had been smoking crack and had even arrived at the party while under the influence of the drug. This was the real reason behind her absences. None of my sisters came to the party, as they despise my mother and predicted that she would ruin it for me. Even my aunts approached me, asking if I was truly having a good time when it was clear that I wasn’t; I was hurting.
Most attendees had left by this point, unable to bear witnessing my mother’s embarrassing behavior any longer. I was left to serve the remaining food, hand out birthday pins, and affix them to people’s clothing. Just when I thought the party was finally over, my mother became irritable and demanded, “What about the cake?” I was baffled by her forgetfulness. My friends, my boyfriend, and I stayed behind for the “Happy Birthday” song, although there were no candles, dimmed lights, or any other celebratory elements. Eventually, my friends and I left, and I once again apologized. They assured me that their perception of me hadn’t changed. Although this comforted me to some extent, I couldn’t shake off the lingering embarrassment.
One of my sisters had actually warned me that something like this might happen, but our relationship wasn’t strong as I had only recently started getting to know her, similar to how I had recently reconnected with my mother. Our communication had spanned only a month or two, and she had already made unfavorable impressions.
My mother had described her as bitter, which I had believed due to the unkind words my sister had used against me and the lack of sisterly support regarding my mother’s intentions. In hindsight, it turned out she was right, and I had been wrong to doubt her. However, she also indicated that she would cut me off, emphasizing her self-sufficiency. I struggled to understand how this was my fault. Another sister, who did my nails for the party, became upset with me when I couldn’t immediately send her photos of my nails. Unbeknownst to her, the nails she had done broke off
shortly after I got home. She could have taken a picture earlier, but it was already midnight by the time she was done, having started at 1 PM. She grew agitated and angry for no apparent reason, stating that she didn’t want photos and that she disliked the nails. In a rush, I had to leave and take an Uber, which used up the money I had set aside for her tip. I explained that I couldn’t provide the money right away, but I intended to give her half of my paycheck when it arrived. Given that I only earned $400 every two weeks and was a student, I thought she understood the situation. Sadly, I was mistaken.
Recently, my sister posted a negative message about me. I reached out, apologized if I had hurt her, and explained the circumstances surrounding our disagreement. After that, she blocked me. I assure you, I hadn’t deceived her in any way. I had asked her about a suitable tip amount, and she had responded that she didn’t know. If she had provided a specific number, I would have given her that amount immediately.
However, since she didn’t, I assumed I needed to offer more than just a tip. My sister is 25, and I’m 20. Throughout my life, she had always been intimidating and spoke poorly of me. She was consistently unkind, adopting a hostile demeanor, while I tried to be sensitive to her feelings and circumstances.
Unfortunately, she never reciprocated this kindness. I feel deeply hurt. She blocked me, my mother refuses to apologize, and my sisters are not speaking to me. I’m grappling with overwhelming pain and emotions because, honestly, I haven’t done anything wrong. I merely wished for a birthday celebration and for my sisters to be there, yet they didn’t come. I longed for a family gathering on my birthday, as I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet much of my extended family.
However, I now find myself without a mother, without sisters, and only my younger brother who resides in another state. It’s disheartening that everything has to be so dramatic, easy to sever, without mature conversations.
Despite consistently offering apologies and explanations, they never extend the same courtesy to me. Perhaps it’s a twisted form of fate that this revelation occurred on my literal birthday. They were never truly good for me. It’s painful to finally comprehend this reality. Drugs mean more to my mother, and my sisters are too burdened by their own traumas to embrace sisterhood.