Monday, April 30, 2007

My horoscope for today:

"It's time to face facts: Someone's been taking advantage of you. Deal with it or you'll be giving them tacit permission to continue. This behavior is immature, but you need to stand up for yourself. "

Why, yes, Horoscope, I did visit my mother! How did you guess? And I was definitely in the mood to take your advice, even though I didn't read it until I got home!

It was the first time she'd seen me since I damn near died, I was not allowed to drive until recently, I schlepped halfway across the state to see her, and she spent the first two hours complaining and telling me all of her problems - none of them are real problems, they are just the normal issues of life, but to her, Oh God, It's AWFUL! Eventually I got her to talk about other things, current events, my kids, whatever, but though she told me that SHE was so upset by my damn near dying of a brain hemorrhage, what would she do? Never in any of it did I have any sense of motherly love, other than in how it made her feel. Never did she express concern for me or her grandkids.

It's so weird, it's hard to describe to people with normal, caring parents - it's like nothing exists outside of how it makes her feel - oh yes, she is so GLAD I'm okay, but only because she would have felt really bad if I'd died. It would have been terrible for her. She would have been miserable!

That's so comforting. I, however, would have been dead, and my kids would have been left to sort out the mess, which would have included dealing with her, even though she and my father virtually ignored their only two grandchildren while they were growing up.

Number of nights the kids were invited to sleep over by grandparents in their entire lives: 0.
Number of times grandparents offered to babysit kids in their entire lives: 0.
Number of times grandparents failed to show up for their only grandkids' birthdays - many. One memorable excuse was that the dog had a vet appt.
And on and on, for decades. And I know they knew it wasn't normal, they had friends with grandparents the same age as theirs, who took their friends camping and boating and had them for the weekend and took them to theme parks. And I feel so sad that my kids were screwed out of fun grandparents by being my kids.

She made noises about not being sure about where she should live. I was silent. She made noises of confusion about what to do next. I was silent. I am leaving her to figure this out for herself - I've spent decades making suggestions and offering help. I have nothing left to give. Yet the reality is she's 81, and I'm the one the social workers will call and possibly arrest for neglecting her someday. But right now she's physically healthy, mentally competent other than her anxiety and need for attention, and even she isn't sure she should move, she is comfortable where she is. I think she is starting to accept that I will not let her live under my roof, and that is a Good Thing. I'd be happy to assist her in moving wherever she will be happy, I would not object if it is closer to me, but I swear to God I felt my blood pressure skyrocket today, and I am not gonna live like that.

As on every visit, she walked me through where all of the important papers are, so when she's gone...and I pointed out that her aunt made it to 93, so she probably has at least a decade left in her and she ought to figure out what she's going to do with it. Yes, I am that blunt with my dear little elderly mother. She appeared to listen! The positive side of all of this is I think I made at least temporary headway - she's now thinking about staying with Cousin C for a while when C gets back from Greece. Did I mention C is a freaking SAINT?

MDS&W is next weekend! I'm so ready to get away.


Ginnie said...

I am sorry that your mom doesn't act like a mom. Especially now, when perhaps you could have stood to have some mom concern. My mom is similiar, but only a fraction of how your seems, and I know how much it annoys and at times, hurts. So, we will now sing a chorus of "Thank God for COusin C".

Catherine said...

C is the greatest in so many ways, but a big one is that she GETS the issues with my mother, she is 16 years older than I am and has been an observer of this craziness since before I was born. She pointed out a couple of things the other day that I hadn't realized - things she saw as an observer while my kids were growing up. When she was around to observe, of course - she seldom was, because my father couldn't stand C. I understand why - she had his number, and couldn't stand to see the way he controlled my mother (and tried to control me). So it took his death to get her back in her aunt's life - C was always the Favorite Niece, and she uses that influence on my mother. As she points out, she can say things the daughter can't.

Sue Woo said...


Those social workers will not arrest you, haha! They will help you find what you need. If they don't call me and I will. You are not legally responsible for her care. I see so many people who think they can care for elderly parents and they can't. They don't have training or stamina for round the clock care. Fear not.