I Didn’t Want to Call Mom

Yesterday was my Mom’s 83rd birthday.  This is the first year in a very long time that I haven’t celebrated with her.  I did call her.  I called her not because I wanted to, but because I felt I had to.  For me this is an important distinction.  It wasn’t a long conversation, because I wasn’t up for it, and all it did was put me in a bad mood.

I thought about writing everything that happened to cause this situation, but that would be too long, and also upset me.  Basically, the way I see it (and I’m sure she sees it in a different way), moving in with her Boyfriend changed it all.  I encouraged her to move in with her Boyfriend, and thought it would be a good thing.  There is no way I could have known I remind Boyfriend of his deceased daughter who he had a bad relationship with, so he doesn’t like me, Husband or the girls.  My Mom told me as way of explanation for why we felt he didn’t want to be around us.  Nice.

So, it went from seeing my Mom every weekend, and having her do all sorts of things with us to only seeing her when she could convince Boyfriend to spend a few hours with us.  Then she started to berate me for perceived insults against Boyfriend, and was always mad at me, and made me feel that nothing I did or my family did was good enough, or right, or acceptable.

My Mom also called my brothers and told them a lot of nasty things about me trying to break up her relationship, and being mean…I’ll leave it at that, though she said much worse.  My brothers have been fairly cold to me, and one of them started to ream me out, except I pretty much hung up on him to stop it.  Plus I was crying.  I was worried about some things my Mom had mentioned about Boyfriend, such as it was a mistake to move in with him, and that he knew all her financial information and told her what she could spend money on.  My brothers blamed me for the problems, and said my Mom was happy and Boyfriend was great.  My brothers also live out of state and give my Mom a lot of phone advice, but never actually fly out to visit or help her.  That was left to me, so I have no idea what has been going on since I stopped talking to her in September.

When I called yesterday my Mom acted like nothing was wrong, and just wanted to get together because she misses me and the girls.  Mind you she hasn’t called, hasn’t apologized for saying some really nasty things, hasn’t apologized for ignoring the girls (she completely missed Little One’s birthday, which really made her sad), nothing.  Husband pointed out that is how my Mom is, but I can’t pretend nothing is wrong.  I can’t pretend that she pretty much ignored me when I was not able to get out of bed for a month, and instead of helping would call and yell at me because I wasn’t nice enough to Boyfriend.  When I needed her for support to get through a hard time she only made everything worse.  I know she is elderly, I know I am supposed to be better than this, but right now, I just don’t want to be around her.  I know I don’t want to do this to my girls, and I hope they never feel I let them down in the way I feel my Mom has let me down.

Husband was wonderful last night in helping to cheer me up, and didn’t say a word when my dinner was chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, and found Star Trek:  The Wrath of Khan for us to watch on TV (I am a huge Star Trek fan).  Then teenagers descended upon us (and the girls weren’t home from cheer practice yet) and that was the final piece that put me back into a good mood.  Something about the kids coming over, being comfortable at our house and eating everything in sight is just enjoyable.  It gets so loud I can’t hear anything, but the loud is laughter and happy talking, so I don’t need to really hear, I just smile at the chaos.  I’m not a perfect Mom, I don’t think there is such a thing, but I do my best, I love my girls, and I love the extra kids Husband and I have come to worry over and care about.  These are the people who make my life happy and extraordinary.

Guilty for No Guilt

I have not invited my Mom to Thanksgiving this year, and I don’t intend to.  I should feel guilt, or sadness, or something like that, but what I really feel is stupendous relief, and some confusion that I don’t feel guilty.  I almost feel guilty for not feeling guilty.

I would probably have to have some sort of communication going with my Mom to invite her, which isn’t currently happening.  Again, I should feel some sort of guilt, but all that is there is relief, and the nagging feeling something is wrong with me for not wearing a hair shirt over this.  But I enjoy not having the big boulder on my shoulders weighing me down, even though I know at some point it will be back.

I admit that I did make a conscious decision to just not contact her anymore back in October, because I couldn’t take how awful she was making me feel about myself, and that every encounter left me crying.  And I’m not even a crier.  Once I realized I didn’t have to respond to the hurtful text messages, and I didn’t have to call her and be given a list of my wrongdoings and shortcomings I cut about 80% of the emotional stress out of my life.  I was quite startled the day I realized how much better I was doing because I wasn’t communicating with her.

But now the holidays are rolling around, so of course I briefly thought about her, and just as quickly let that thought go.  Last year she only came for dessert on Thanksgiving, and it was awkward and uncomfortable and full of her snarky remarks about our meal that she didn’t eat.  We were all relieved when she left.  Thanksgiving will be a long day as it is, and I don’t see any reason to make it longer than it needs to be.

All of this really goes against what I feel a good daughter should be and do.  I want to support my Mom, and be there for her, and make sure she is taken care of.  And I have done that, especially after my Dad passed away.  I truly feel it is important for parents to continue to be involved in their children, and then grandchildren’s lives.  But if the parent is only causing bad feelings on the part of the child and the grandchildren then being a good daughter might just have to be secondary to being a good parent and plain old self-preservation.

For all the relief at the absence of the stress I can’t shake the feeling something is wrong with me for feeling this way.  Not enough to contact my Mom, but enough that it is in my mind.  Okay, maybe what is really in my mind is the dread feeling that she will just appear at the door in the late afternoon on Thanksgiving, expecting to come in and be met by open arms.  She does that kind of thing.  I don’t have a clue about what I would do if that happened.  Somehow, I don’t think running away screaming is really an option.