I've been trying to be more positive and compassionate toward my mother since my father passed away. She makes it so damn hard!!!
I didn't want this blog to be solely whining about my state of life, because there are aspects of my life that I truly love. I love the home life my sons and I have built for ourselves since moving back to the US. I love spending time with my new friends and all the new things I do now. I love my work (when my mother lets me do it!). I feel like I'm really healing after getting divorced and I'm starting to see a vision for my future that I look forward to fashioning for myself. But you know when you're driving and see something in the distance that really peaks your curiosity and you know you're moving forward and you're going to get a really good look at it, but there's this giant 18-wheeler truck that keeps getting in your way and you can't seem to get around it? That's my mother!
I spent three hours grocery shopping with her yesterday. We had a nice time together. It wasn't a planned trip. First she asked me to get three things for her at the store on my way to her house after I stopped at the bank for her to get her some cash. By the time I got to the house, she had her Social Security check ready to be deposited and she wanted to go to Smart and Final to get some dried beans for her pantry (they have great pricing on their beans). So we went back to the bank, and then stopped for vitamins downtown at Sheri's, and then went to Smart and Final, and then to Safeway. I think I heard the story about how Jim (one of my father's friends who has been so incredibly kind to us and does things for my mother around the house, and lets Mom feed him twice a week...really, he's a saint!) refuses to eat my mother's offering of a sardine sandwich and how he will only eat fish at McDonald's. I'm hearing this story for like the tenth time.
I really had to get home. I had plans. Grown-up plans. Adults actually invited me out! Not me and my kids. Not me and my mother. Just me! There was going to be wine! And scintillating conversation! I needed to get home because I was going to make a kick-ass appetizer, a savory chard, onion, bacon and Gruyere bread pudding. Perfect for having with wine. And I needed a couple hours to make it, and the party was to start at 4, and it was 2:30 by the time Mom was done with me! And I explained to her while we were meandering through the bean selection at Smart and Final that I had this thing to go to...with a business client...at 4.
And about five minutes after mentioning this thing I had to go to that afternoon that Mom started complaining about something caught in her eye, that it had been bothering her all morning, and she couldn't get it out. And she fussed about it a little more at Safeway as we looked for the organic chicken tenders. And she said she would try to flush it out with Visine just as I was bringing in all her groceries and helped her put them away.
And she mentioned it again when she called after I got home, as I was doing the prep work on the bread pudding half an hour later. And then she insisted I call her eye doctor for her to find out if she could come in and get it looked at right away. On a Friday afternoon. No, the eye doctor wasn't actually in, and I was redirected to Mom's primary care doctor, who also wasn't in. But his office said I should take her to the emergency room because that's where they had the equipment to deal with eye stuff...
(This is where the desire to swear crops up...it's not a part of my daily vocabulary. Only two people in my life have angered me so much that I wanted to swear. I'm no longer married to one of them. The other one keeps reattaching the umbilical cord to me.)
I spent four-and-a-half hours in the ER to have two little eye lashes removed from my mother's eye. And I had to hear about how Jim wouldn't eat my mother's sardine sandwiches once more. And I missed my party. And Mom neither thanked me nor did she apologize for screwing up my plans. But she did invite me in to have some boiled greens because I hadn't eaten anything all day (I was saving my calories for the wine and appetizers). I turned her down and went home, made myself an omelet with chard, onion, bacon and Gruyere cheese (it was delicious) and I watched Numb3rs on Netflix till I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.
Today I have to go get some antibiotic eye drops and go back to Mom's house to drop them off. She'll probably try to get me to stay and eat boiled greens. But I'm going to turn her down. I have a lot of work to get done before I leave for my trip next week. She knows about the trip. But she won't talk as if it's really happening. She says things like, "When are you taking the boys to the airport?" And I remind her that the boys and I are leaving for three weeks. And then she says something about how she's probably going to die next week. Or that Dad came to visit her in the night and told her he'd come for her to take her with him. I don't doubt that sometime just before I leave she'll have a gallbladder attack. Or some other life-threatening event. Every time I have to leave to attend a class or a business conference, she's about to die. She's not abandoned. My sister is available. My godmother is available. Jim is available. I'm even hiring a home health nurse to check on Mom every day. But she'll still be on the verge of death, and I'll still get scolded for not calling her every day while I'm gone.
Because I'm not going to call her every day. Because I'm going to be on vacation!!!! From her!!!!