My mother and I have entered a new stage in mother-daughter relations. It reminds me a little of what it was like when I was 18 and she was 40, when I would often pose the thoughtful question: "Mom, why do you have to be so negative?!" And the thing is, she was never really negative; I was just born with an instant reflex against anyone who tries to be the boss of me.
My mother being annoyed these days is understandable. I see my (fulltime working) parents once a week when they feed me dinner after taking care of my kids all day. I don't have time for a lot of things, including friends outside work, exercise, and my own writing. When I do have time for a visit with the parents, I bring the party with dog, kids, and bags of laundry, "So, what's for dinner, guys?"
There was also that brief period a few months back that I didn't let my mother see or speak to her grandchildren. I made the mistake of letting a very exciting baby secret out of the bag to my kids before my brother had a chance to make his special announcement to our parents. I knew that if I let the kids have any Grandma contact, I would totally let down my brother.
The worst moment was the day I knew my brother was going to make the call from Germany; my mother called me that morning, starting to cry, "What's going on? Why won't you let me speak to the girls?" I panicked, Uh, don't worry, Mom. We're just busy - tell you what. . . why don't we call you later? OK? Bye! Talk to you later! . . . I did feel a little guilty when I could still hear her talking as I ended the call. So, yes, she has reason to torture me.
And believe me, my mother can hold her own with payback. I started feeling something new that might be contentment, which I shared with my mother who's been there for me through some tough times. My mother's response was, "You might never be in a relationship again . . . you might never find the right person for you . . . for the rest of your life." Huh, maybe things aren't that great afterall.
My mother has started throwing around words like menopause and middle age, and even worse, menopausal middle-aged (are those even words that describe a person?). On our way back from Cavalia last week . . . wait, there's a better way to tell this story.
Yesterday, I had an email exchange with Mathilda in Germany, who I haven't heard from in a while. I was a bit concerned because my parents seem to think that my humor might be offending Mathilda and I need to tone it down and be more respectful of the grandbaby in progress. Mathilda didn't seem offended in our email exchange so this is how I followed up:
to be honest, I was worried I really did offend you. My parents are completely paranoid people and i'm really embarrassing them lately. my mom was calling me a menopausal middle-aged woman w glee the other day when we took the kids to this horse circus show. i was like - mom! you wouldn't want to hear that when you were 41. we were laughing but still.
then she got out of the car and i noticed that a mound of pink cotton candy had fallen and partially melted over her crotch like a candy mirkin. still makes me laugh thinking about it . . .
I sent my reply to Mathilda before I realized the email was copied to my mother. Doh!
I talked to my mother a little later, and as usual, we laughed about it. My parents were signing paperwork to make a down payment on a condo for the kids and me before driving down to Southern California to try to talk my grandmother with failing health into a rest home. What completely paranoid people. I should be the one who's paranoid. My mother said in a quiet tone before getting off the phone, "Now I have something to make you feel guilty about for a . . . long . . .long time."
Well, if it's gonna be like that, I might as well share a text I received from my mother recently. It was her second in a series:
"with her beautiful black tall warm blood horse like in the show xxmom"
I wondered if she was sexting me, but she didn't seem to find that funny. Probably too busy planning rebellion strategy for her footsoldiers. See what I'm dealing with here?