Saturday, January 27, 2007

"Your Mother is crazy!"

Yeah, C, tell me something I don't already know.

Here's the latest story - two weeks ago my mother's land line crapped out. Now, she's a thoroughly modern 80 year old, so she got on the cell phone to report it and then called both ME and C to report the horror of it all! Here she is, behind the security patrolled walls of a gated golf course community, with ONLY HER CELLPHONE! Yes, it's laughable, but the not so laughable part has emerged.

Two weeks later, she apparently read in the newspaper that the strip shopping center near her neighborhood (coffee, fitness, wine, you know the usuals) was broken into on that same weekend.

Obviously, these two events are related! The thieves broke into Winos R Us or whatever, and then scaled the wall of the gated community and walked several blocks to screw up ONLY my mother's phone! No, seriously, she spent an hour explaining this theory to my cousin C. She has convinced herself that this is true. She's in DANGER.

No, this isn't Alzheimer's. She was like this when she was younger than I am now. I could tell stories, and someday I will.

It's funny, sad and aggravating, all at the same time. She needs medication but won't take it. (Been there, tried that.) She is far away and it's a pain in the ass, but I'm scared of moving her closer to me, because Orlando has a legit crime problem and I don't want her to be the teeny 80 year old victim of a mugging. She's safer where she is than anywhere I can think of short of the very nice retirement place (NOT a nursing home, and very pricey) she's never consider, because they'd try to make her socialize and my mother is paranoid.

So Cousin C continues to be my ally in this, she "gets it" - because my mother is the kind of crazy that, if you met her for lunch in the afternoon, you'd think I was some sort of monster making up these lies about my poor, sweet little mother! C also confirms my theory that my mother LOVES to be the way she is, she gets genuinely worked up and upset, I don't mean to imply that she is faking it, but she goes far out of her way to find things to be worked up about. Unless you have spent quality time with someone with this mental quirk you can't imagine how exhausting and stressful it is for her audience.

It is very stressful. It is very hard for me because I grew up with this, and my childhood was so twisted, I never could count on normal parental behavior from either of my parents. My mother thought the TV people were sending messages only to her throughout my high school years, and my father didn't deal with this because he kinda got off on controlling her, and through her, me. I was there to "take care of my mother" - oh, and commute to college and work too. Any wonder that I dropped out of college, married young and headed for California? It took me 15 years to get my BA in a field I wasn't even particularly excited about, and yes, I DO attribute that to my parents, because their crazy really did divert me from having dreams of my own.

So I'm 48, and I'm finally able to have dreams of my own - if I can just remember how. And I still have the crazy mother to contend with, and I'd like to say that she's not my job, but she is. There really is no way around that. So even now, my dreams aren't mine.

Oh, and I have a new and annoying neighborhood Issue to contend with - my dog is too loved. As I was writing this, children were beating on the door. They wanted Murphy to "come out to play." Murphy is not allowed out off the leash so that means I have to go out and supervise this. I have dinner in the oven and I'm daisy fresh after 6 hours of housework, and I do not want to do this. I want a glass or three of merlot and dinner and my knitting. I am afraid I was a little bit short with them this time, I am honestly tired and exasperated that they are treating my dog like a kid. He's not a kid, kids! He's a small breakable dog with no sense of watching for cars and I can't turn him loose with you. Again, it's funny, but it's also weird. Would these parents PLEASE get these girls dogs of their own? Please? I am single, my kids are grown, and I'm the neighborhood playground and provider of cute dogs to play with. How did this happen? Today it's the girls wanting to play with Murphy, yesterday the neighborhood boys (the most uncoordinated bunch of kids I've ever seen) were playing ball, or attempting to, and spent half of their time tromping around in my shrubbery looking for said ball. I used to laugh at the crotchety old women who hated the neighbor kids, but damn, I may be joining that sisterhood in a few years.


Kerstin said...

"C also confirms my theory that my mother LOVES to be the way she is, she gets genuinely worked up and upset, I don't mean to imply that she is faking it, but she goes far out of her way to find things to be worked up about. Unless you have spent quality time with someone with this mental quirk you can't imagine how exhausting and stressful it is for her audience."

YES, I can imagine. Distance is critical for your sanity. Is she also competitive with you?

Funny how you say no one would believe it. Sometimes I have a hard time believing it because people who suffer from this need for drama can also be quite charming and loving when they are not in the grip of whatever mental beast is residing within.

No answers here. But you do have a right to live your own life, C.

dragon knitter said...

my second ex-husband was certain that the world was out to get him. probably still is (dont' know, have no contact with him, and since he gave up his parental rights, i don't have to!). you just have to deal with it as it is, since you can't divorce her.

as far as the grumpy old lady, at least you didn't accuse kids of scratching up your driveway with plastic wheels on rollerblades. the lady across from where i used to live actually called the police on the kids in the neighborhood. we called her the cow lady (as in "she's having a cow again"). she eventually had a stroke and had to go to a nursing home (imagine that)

Bess said...

Well sweets. I hope you explained to el Jeffe about the first weekend in May. How it is sacrosanct. Inviolable. 6 days off straddling the weekend. No compromise. Turn OFF your cell phone. Tell the kids you’re incommunicado. The firemen will put out the fire and Cousin C will soothe your mom. You can take her out for the weekend as recompense. And maybe buy her some gorgeous silk crochet yarn or something equally sinful. Because you need a break.

Says the lady who's parents compete over who can be More Sick.

Sue Woo said...

All that behavior gets her attention she craves. After all, if there were no dramatic scenes, what would there be?

Catherine said...

So true, Sue. But she really works herself up until she believes these things. And yes, Bess, that first weekend in May is looking better and better to me! I'll have to clue in Jefe that this is non-negotiable. 6 days sounds good. :-)

Amie said...

My father does that, but projects them onto me. He was the inspiration for all those "worst case scenario" things that came out a few years ago. I grew up knowing every single story about women who stepped into her car and had someone lying underneath waiting to cut her achilles tendon. I tell him my calcium levels are low (because, apparently, I'm an idiot) and he starts talking about the permanent damage. He tells me he's fine with me being here alone if Oscar's out, but is convinced someone is going to break in and be waiting for me when Oscar is locked in his bedroom. It's really a wonder I ever leave the house for anything other than calcium supplements.

And enjoy Murphy's popularity. My parents' puppy Jackie had the neighborhood kids coming over to ask if she could come out and play (they have an invisible fence). Then one of those kids got a puppy, and Jackie would sit just inside the fenceline and just gaze wistfully at them, wondering why the fugsalt they were playing with that puppy and not her....

needlefingers said...

Didn't you like CottonEase? You may already know, but it's back.

Nice colors, too.