Sunday, January 23, 2011

...and elderlies are like children

i have often held the view that overexposure to my mom gets to be frustrating.

so when my wife said she was going to fly my mom out for christmas/new years for five weeks, i said, "oooookay." with my eyes wide and a certain lack of confidence.

my wife was going to be gone for a week of that time, early in the visit. now, o thou beloved non-existent readers who have repeatedly returned to watch the decay of this tiny rotting carcass in the woods of the world wide web will know that i never do well when my wife is gone. it isn't as bad as it was the four summer months that she was away to parts east. i learned alot during that time. i give myself a routine, a purpose for each day. but i still spend however long she is gone generally exhausted, and mildly hungover.

the point is, when my wife is gone, i have a routine, and it works for me.

having my mom there completely messed up my routine, and i spent the days while she was gone trying to figure out how to keep my mom entertained.

the five weeks slid rapidly down from there.

in many ways, my mom is like one of the kids. she waits to pounce on something you say so that she can interject with a story she is dying to tell that really has nothing to do with the original conversation in the first place. matter of fact, much like the kids, she is barely listening to what you say, except to find that moment when she can talk about something wants to talk about.

my mom has long eaten her meals and told stories at the same time. everyone does this. but my mom, in a neat and gross twist, rather than saying a sentence and waiting to tell more until she has chewed her food, or at least tucking partially-chewed food into her cheek and hiding her mouth while talking, my mom will chew and talk, and move the food around her mouth. i learned a long time ago to be looking elsewhere when we eat and she is talking. however, that doesn't stop whoever is across from her from occasionally getting pelted with bits of chewed food.

my mom doesn't know how to eat at home. what i mean by that is, if she is hungry, she immediately thinks, "let's go out." i had met my weight goal of 195 (and surpassed it actually) and then frequent meals out gave me ten pounds back.

i like to drink. this comes as no surprise to anyone who has read a couple of these posts. my mom enjoys being on vacation with us, because she will have a kahlua and cream or two every night. but as a couple weeks go by, my mom start making little digs about how much i drink. now, i wait until the kids are in bed. on weeknights i might have a couple. one day, i am getting a nasty cold, and skip the nightcap. since i wasn't making myself one, i forgot to ask mom if she would like one. a few minutes later, i hear, "you're not drinking tonight?" in an expectant kind of way, as if to say, "i want a drink." you can't have it both ways, mom. i either drink or i don't drink.

despite the fact i clean every day, she seems to think i live in squalor. pointing out that i need to clean this, or pick up that, or put those away. usually while i am already busy doing about ten other things. one day while i was making lunch for the kids, for instance, and trying to bus the kitchen at the same time.

but the big one is when she starts involving herself in how we raise the kids. no. 1 had a very bad day at school. he acted out. several times. then he was acting out at home when he should've been writing out the punishment paragraphs that he scribbled all over earlier at school. he's scribbling on them again. he is blaming anyone and everyone else rather than taking the blame for his own actions. i have calmly, collectedly, and with a bit of wit and humor (thanks, dad), tried to rectify the situation, tried to get no. 1 to understand the consequences of his actions, and he simple wasn't having it. what am i left with? well, from experience i know that the only thing that is going to get no. 1 to break through his funk is a solid display of dominance. and yes, when i do it, the wiseacre part of my brain runs a picture of two wild birds, their feathers flared in an attempt to look bigger than they are. and that is almost exactly what it is: i get in no. 1's face, i yell at him loudly, my chest is out, my arms are back. it is almost surgically effective.

but behind me i hear my mom, "honey, i think maybe you need to go upstairs for a moment."

no. no. what i need to do is impress on my oldest that things don't always go his way, and that choosing to act out against others when they don't is the wrong choice. and the only way to do that is to step into the bastard dad role. i am not hitting the boy, or touching him in any way. i am not calling him names. and i have already tried the calm, loving approach, and it failed miserably. i tried it a few times. i am left with the dad whose eyes flash lasers, whose voice booms like thunder, and who is clearly not allowing any leeway for goofing off, acting out, or in any other way defying what he is saying right now. i sure as fuck don't need my mom diving in mid-tirade to call me out like i am still the age my oldest is now.

my display is effective with the boy, and he does his homework calmly. he is relaxed. he turns his day around, finally. and i tersely and succinctly explain to my mother that i was never not in control at any point the entire time.

which didn't stop her from butting in again a few other times.

i love my mom. and despite the scathing nature of this post, i still will. i always will. and i accept her shortcomings, and as a result, try to stay away from her enough so they don't become the kind of issue that they did this last visit.

thanks for letting me vent here, which is sometimes the only place i can get it off my chest without hurting feelings that don't deserve to be hurt.

darth sardonic

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Blogger stella said...

I have just spent well over 30 minutes reading your posts and I love your writing- the subject matter, style and voice. I am tuning in from now on. . . .

12:16 PM  
Blogger darth sardonic said...

well ty very much stella, i am glad you are enjoying it and welcome to the tiny clan of "non-existent readers."

3:15 AM  

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