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.