Seven key points of change in Denise’s (Janelle’s mother) life:
When she was five her father died from a massive heart attack.
From the age of 9-14 she endured both physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her step-father.
At 14, she started drinking to escape the pain, then moved out of her mother’s house to escape the abuse.
At 15, she began dating an older man who introduced her to drugs and prostitution.
At 20, she got pregnant and had her daughter.
At 21, she took a job as a waitress but couldn’t kick her drinking & drug habit.
When she was 26, she married a long-haul truck-driver she had met at the diner she worked at. She stopped doing drugs, but started drinking more heavily to compensate.
At 35 she separated and divorced her husband because her daughter said that he kissed her and tried to grope her.
At 37, she joined AA to finally quit drinking and turn her life around.
Yeah, that’s nine. I know; I can count.
Now that I have these key points of change for the protagonist’s mother, I’ll have to make some decisions about which ones to reveal and from whose point of view. I imagine these details about her mother’s life being revealed through conversation between mother and daughter as they begin to build a relationship.