I'm sure most people in my life are aware that I've never been really close to my biological mother. You see, my mother & father split when I was 6yo. For whatever reason(s?), my father ended up with full custody of all five children (I am the fourth born; there is a 10 year span between oldest & youngest bio children -- EP, DC, JS, me, & TW). My father moved my stepmom (aka: Mama) in when I was barely 7yo, and by December of that year (I was 7 1/2yo), they were married. Mama came with her own baby girl (18m when they got married - my sister, K); making ours a mix of six kids.
Kudos to my Mama -- she took on FIVE extra kids because she loved my father. She also loved us all as her own, which became more & more obvious as the years passed. From as early as I can remember, I called her "mommy" or "mama"... but never in front of my mother. I knew, even at age six, that it would be frowned upon, or that my mother would be hurt by that fact. But, I think she knew anyway.
Regardless, I grew up untraditionally ONLY in the fact that my father was custodial parent, and my mother was non-custodial. That was even more rare back in those days than it is now. In talking to my younger brother (TW) & to my dad about some of this, I know my memories are pretty accurate... my mother had a wide berth with regards to her parenting time, and chose not to take most of it. When she did come around, she was the traditional "Disneyland Parent". My mama took on the role of mother in every sense of the word.
At some point, DC moved in with our mother (I think she was around the age Princess is now -- 12 or 13?); later EP moved out (as an adult) and JS was a handful so she moved in with a family friend two hours south to finish out her high school there. This left my parents with three kids (from six to three -- ahhhhhh). On the rare occasion TW & I would go see our mother (school clothes shopping, movies, a few trips by plane somewhere, etc), my parents got a bit more of a kid-break.
Fast forward to the summer prior to my senior year of high school. Dad wanted to move to South Dakota, but I wanted to finish my high school years locally. We made a deal in where I would move in with my mother (who lived in the next town over) and dad would sell me his car so I had reliable transportation to continue schooling at my same high school (& get to & from a job). My mother bought the car from dad, and told me that when I was 21 (I had an inheritance from my maternal grandmother coming then), I would have to pay her back -- with 9%/yr interest.
Same thing when I borrowed money to move out after I graduated. This, imo, is NOT the way you treat family... but that's how my mother operates. Oh, I paid her back alright... hoping the next time I need to borrow money, I didn't have to ask *her*. Unfortunately, my ex-husband was a huge thorn in my side & cost me over $75,000 (not all of it borrowed, but a big chunk of it, and she was the only one financially able to assist) during our long dragged-out divorce process. My mother was there, again, with legal documents this time -- 9%/year interest, with threatened legal action if I didn't pay as agreed.
During my divorce process, I also felt that because my mother loaned me all this money, I *had* to share much more with her than I really wanted to. My now-husband saw how much stress this caused, and did everything in his power to help me pay her back. She was one of the first debts we paid in full when his mother died four & a half years ago.
(Part Two will continue this story)