Friday, May 06, 2005

Mum

Warning: this digressed into a pretty bitchy, negative post

I’m going home tomorrow for my friend’s wedding shower (expect a future entry soon about how much I hate the wedding-industrial complex and its effects on my friendships). It also happens to be Mothers’ Day. Blech. My mom is crazy and we rub each other the wrong way. That woman can push my buttons like no one else and she brings out the worst in me. My hackles raise and my temper is always one spark away from igniting when I see her. Respect for my dad is probably the only thing keeping me from speaking my mind to her and getting disowned again.

Besides being crazy, my mom is also a bitch. Other people’s mothers are reputed to say "If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all." My mom instead chooses words to salt wounds. We spoke on the phone the other night and she was laughingly recalling how she was ‘teasing’ my cousin about how he will never get married or have kids (he wants both) after his long-term relationship recently dissolved. I told her that she had been rude and mean, but she honestly couldn’t understand how her comments were anything but funny. Bitch.

She gloats when bad things happen and always foresees the worst-case scenario. Classic ‘supportive’ quotes from this bizarre woman who bore me:
"You’re not smart enough to go to college"
"You blew it, and should drop out of college and work in a factory."
"My daughter is the worst student ever."–to the chair of my department at the swanky awards ceremony honoring the outstanding graduate [me–sociology] from each of 13 college departments.
"Why do you talk so silly?-- you know you won’t graduate from law school"–holiday dinner during my first year of law school.
"You’ll never be a lawyer."–many times during law school and afterwards when I was unemployed.
"Well, you haven’t started working yet."–upon hearing that I was offered and accepted my current job after a long unemployed stint.

Add to this a ton of crazy behavior to sabotage happy events and her efforts to always be the sodden blanket squelching sparks of excitement and optimism. I honestly can’t remember her being supportive instead of negative and criticizing.

If there is a way for her to make a complicated, strained situation out of ordinary events, she will jump on it with gusto. Since I am going home this weekend, I want to see my paternal grandparents [no crazy gene], and asked her what the Mother’s Day plan was, explaining that I need to leave in the very early afternoon. She said that the Gpa had suggested going out for lunch (too late for my plans). I suggested getting reservations for brunch, but she didn’t think there were any places open for brunch. WTF–Mother’s Day is a huge brunch day!!! As an alternative, we could host my Gparents for brunch at my parent’s house–because that would be more flexible to conform with whenever my ride decided to leave.

She acted like this was a huge dilemma, when needn't be at all. For some reason she seems to behave as if my Gpa is some sort of dictator who will pitch a tantrum if his every whim isn’t satisfied. He isn’t. She kept saying, "if I can’t get early enough reservations, then we’ll just keep it a secret from them that you were home." Umm.....NO. I want to see the Gparents. I am the only Gdaughter and they adore me–my Gma will be tickled to see me, and will certainly arrange her schedule to see me.

How does my mom respond? She decides to make it a ‘surprise’ that I am home and she is making brunch. Apparently she lied to them about having dinner reservations. They will show up at my parents house to the ‘surprise.’ My Gpa will grumble because he was planning on treating for the dinner; Gma will exclaim with horror that she didn’t bring a dish to share and they will both act awkwardly--feeling bad for coming empty-handed, and embarrassed about being ‘tricked.’ My mom will spend hours on Saturday night and Sunday morning cooking* a feast to feed an army, and then will breezily laugh and say that it wasn’t any trouble and completely ignore their awkwardness.

Despite the above, everything will be Fine. My Gparents will be excited to see me and it will be nice to catch up with them. Gma will have ‘granddaughter gossip" to brag about for the next several weeks and she will consider it a good Mother’s day. Still, it will suck to see my Gpa slightly emasculated by being tricked and not being able to take us out for dinner, and hear my Gma bemoan about the pictures/scrapbook/whatever she would have brought for me to see, if only she knew I was home. I should probably just give the Gparents a call and let them know I’m coming and tell them to pretend to be surprised. Oh the drama and the deceit.

Another gem from our phone conversation was after I told her that I bought the Hbar. Her response: "Oh," and then she started babbling for 20 minutes about a necklace she bought. Later she said disappointedly, and in all seriousness, "so there’s nothing new in your life." I swear that unless I tell her "I'm getting married!" or "I'm pregnant!" she will consider my life stagnant and worthless. Graduating from an elite law school, getting a good-paying job, moving and becoming a partner in a business apparently aren’t noteworthy events.

If I ever start turning into her, please help me with a:
Bitchslapping,
Intervention,
Bullet.

Can this be put in a living will?

[I, of sound mind, order that upon the event that I demonstrate symptoms of morphing into my mother, symptoms that do not diminish in response to regular Bitchslapping or Intervention, then I shall be shot down like the rapid dog I have become.]

Mum has developed a new weirdness recently whereby she acts as if she has maternal instincts more mammal than reptile-like. What this means is that she feels that she has the right to complain like other mothers do when their adult children don’t give them enough attention. First, the phone works both ways and any perceived lack of communication should be borne by both parents and children. Secondly, us kids spend far more time and effort to visit them, than they do us. Third, when we kids are home my mom will often pick fights and/or spend ridiculous amounts of time watching TV or surfing the internet. There is little to indicate that she values spending time with her children. Additionally, what the fuck are we supposed to talk about? We have so little in common it is absurd. Our values, lives and interests have almost no overlap and there isn’t affection or mutual respect for one another. Finally, at least in relation to me, her actions have long since revoked her maternal rights and privileges. People reap what they sow–and she has a garden of emptiness and bitterness to tend.

I don’t think Hallmark makes a Mother’s Day card to adequately express my feelings. They should start a new sub-category called "obligatory". Along the lines of, Birthday: Humorous, or Get Well: Religious, I want to look under, Mother’s Day: Obligatory. This would be great for cranky mother-in-laws, trophy-wife step-mothers, or any other mother-like relationships that lack warmth, but need to be recognized to prevent strain on other relationships. The "Obligatory" cards could have a boat motif–as in, "I’m sending you this only to prevent rocking the boat."

Oh, yeah–I see construction paper in my future tonight! Guess whose mom will be getting a homemade card from her *doting* daughter?


* I would love to help, but if there is one thing that I have learned, it is that my mom and I need to stay the fuck out of each others’ kitchens. Besides, she bitches that the food I cook is weird and tastes bad–stupid, bland farmtown pallets.

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