Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"You're just like your mother." SAY THAT TO MY FACE!

I love my Mom very, very much.  We've had a bumpy but loving relationship my whole life.  She has a salty mouth, a wicked, morbid  sense of humor and is very charming.  She has very little patience, will complain about a beautiful day, can manipulate like a champ, and is stubborn as all get out.  She loves the finer things in life, but can get down and dirty on a farm frighteningly quick.  Mom is an unrepentant feminist, but pines over an asshole who treats her like complete and utter shit. Cam thinks her Grammie is the Bee's Knees.  First smile?  For Grammie.  First laugh?  For Grammie.  I don't know what it is, but children love Mom.  Can't get enough of her.  I know she keeps kibble in her pocket for her Pug, maybe she keeps cookies in her other pocket for babies....

She's an enigma of sorts, being able to go from one extreme to the next and back again in the blink of an eye.  We argue frequently, and no one can get my Irish up faster.  She's a button pusher, and being that all my buttons are placed where SHE put them, she gets me good.  On good days I am proud to be my mother's daughter, on others, I curse the universe for dumping me in the wrong family.  But it can't be the wrong family, because we are too damn alike.  I have never met a stronger, more stoic woman.  Still, watching her for 7.5 weeks while my Dad lay dying, I was struck by how childlike my mother could be.  Almost unbelievable optimism...which then just became denial.  Mom wasn't who she had always been.  She was vulnerable, and unsure of everything.  It was a very ugly and messy grieving period.  One day black with grief, the next bright and optimistic, ready to move on.  And she did.  Then Breast Cancer rolled back in after a 25 year retreat.

The last several weeks have been exhausting for me.  For the first 10 days I was with her everyday.  Spent the night every night when she came home, save for one.  We had a blow up after a week, and I haven't spent the night since.  I learned a valuable lesson: don't hide pain meds from your mother.  I did it out of concern.  I wasn't being a COMPLETE asshole.  Last thing I wanted to do was come back to find her laid out like Heath Ledger with empty pill and wine bottles.

I went home to have dinner with Rob, she had been off pain meds for 24 hours, so she was pretty lucid.  I called to check up on her after dinner (we live less than 1/2 a mile away from each other), and she was fine, going back to bed.  Cool...I could watch some TV with my husband, relax a little.  Went back to her place around 10 that night, and saw an angrily scrawled note asking about her meds.  Just as I was about to settle into the sofa, I heard the clipped, angry voice of my mother from a darkened room.  I was instantly 15 again.  "Where are my pain pills?" as she then started grumbling under her breath, but loud enough for me to hear "I birthed two children"..."I am not 12 years old".  I fessed up that I took the pills with me, but with a 15 year old's attitude, and slammed them back on the table.  I had hit my limit.  Patience gone, I started stalking around her place collecting all my goods.  I start looking for my blanket.  Yes, I am almost 40, and have a "special" blanket.  That is an issue for another day.  I see my blankey, on the floor, splayed out in front of the sofa.  I am pretty sure I screamed "WHY IS MY BLANKET ON THE FLOOR LIKE THAT?!?!?", as I stood there indignant and shaking with rage.  She said quietly, with no emotion in her voice: "I spilled something."  Sweet jesus.  She spilled something?  And used BLANKEY to clean it up????  My mind was reeling as she said "I thought it was you sisters."  Damn you woman, that was another button pushed, this time one meant to make me laugh?  Probably.

Righteous in anger (NOBODY puts blankey on the floor!!), her parting shot was "why are you so upset?  You're acting like a little baby."  I literally choked on my words, but managed to spit out "YOUR WELCOME!!!" with as much venom as I could muster, and slammed the door on my way out.

Not my finest hour.  As I was descending the stairs from her condo, I was awash with shame and guilt, but was also still extremely pissed.  By the time I hit the front door (a mere minutes later), I was seething.  Rob, not so good with deciphering moods, started laughing and said "Back so soon?".  It was then I broke down and started sobbing.  Anger, anxiety, frustration, fear, all came tumbling out in the form of a very snotty nose and leaky eyes.  Rob was a very good husband that night.

The next morning, I bit the bullet, and called to apologize for my behavior.  History has shown me, Mom does not EVER apologize.  And will only make the first move if a big-ass bottle of wine is involved.  All was okay between us again, or maybe not.  She has a very long memory, and a bank FULL of resentments.

One day I will tell her how the first night I slept over with her she insisted someone else was in the house.  Luckily she now lives in a small condo and I had secured all the doors moments before, and was confident that was nonsense, or I would have freaked the fuck OUT.  Or how she was constantly asking me every two hours for more pain meds, in the middle of the night, then getting highly incensed when I refused.  How she became so constipated from the Oxycodone that she begged me to find the turkey baster(?!?!?!?) to, in her words, "help your old mother out".  How for at least 7 days, she slept nearly 24/7, and talked through most of it. 

So yes, I love my mother dearly, but it's complicated. 

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