Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Different Mothers Day Story

I recently began reading The Artists' Way. I won't get into the book too much right now except to say that it is a twelve week course in unblocking creativity. The very first assignment you get is to write morning papers every day. This means to write out longhand three pages every morning. It's to be written quickly, in a stream of consciousness manner with no attention paid to grammar, spelling or neatness (thank goodness....it is in the morning after all!). You just write whatever pops into your head; no planning it out. It doesn't have to make any sense.

So today was my third day doing the morning papers. It's interesting what comes pouring out before I'm fully awake. Today being Mothers' Day, my mind went straight to my mom. And out came a bunch of anger and frustration. Not over anything in the past really. I have gotten over childhood stuff. She was the best parent she knew how to be and for the most part she provided the basics. There was a lot missing on the emotional side of things. But I figure I'm way past all that and have learned to find my support, esteem & unconditional love elsewhere.

But what's eating me now is her refusal, even at this point in our lives, to spend any real time together. And honestly, our relationship being what it is, I wouldn't be that put out except that it means I also don't get to spend any real time with my dad. My mom has always been the one in charge between the two of them. Whenever Dad wants to do something that she doesn't want to do, he either has to practically wage war to make it happen or just gives up. Mom digs in her heels like nobody's business. And to think she has always accused ME of being stubborn. Pot.....meet kettle. Anyway, more often than not, poor Dad just doesn't have it in him to put his foot down.

Since we moved to Tucson 4 1/2 years ago they have never come to visit. We've made seven or eight trips back to Indy in that time. It's a huge expense to travel and we are not made of money. But family is important enough to us that we find a way to make it happen. I still have two children and a grandchild back there as well as other family. I'll be damned if I'm going to just not see my family! But it would be really awesome if for a change they would come out and see us, for so many reasons. My parents don't have an endless travel budget either so I wouldn't expect too much from them. But the kicker is that every single winter they go to Florida for a month or so. There they visit old friends (like from back in their school days) and some relatives (mostly cousins I think). They even visit my dead grandpas' second wifes' (also dead) son who wasn't even "part of the family" until I was almost 40 yrs. old.

But they can't come out here to visit their own daughter. .......................   Now my mom would argue that because I am the one who moved away, it is my responsibility to be the one to make the trip. I have heard her say things like that before about other relatives. But that argument is blown completely out of the water by her own reasons for going to Florida. Almost a year ago, on one of the rare occasions when I was talking to my dad on the phone (because Mom owns the phone too ya know!), Dad told me how much he would love to come visit us and wanted to try to make that happen before too long. And on our visits back to Indy he breaks down every time we go to say goodbye. He hugs me so tight and cries his eyes out. Mom does what she does. "Well it's been nice seeing you; wish it didn't have to be so long in between" said as she scurries off. I'm not saying there isn't any emotion there but she damn well isn't going to let me see it! It just kills me because I know good and well that if Dad had his way they would be out here in a flash.
My parents are in their late 70's. Trying to change my mom at this stage is pointless. She's not only distant but I sometimes seriously question her lucidness. I posted (on facebook) a picture of her holding her newborn great grandson just three years ago. She asked me who the baby was, my son or his son. She couldn't tell from looking at herself in the picture whether it was current or from over 25 yrs. ago! Yet she's ALWAYS been a bit strange like that. Just a little outside of the loop. Makes me wonder if she hasn't lived a life with some level of undiagnosed mental  disorder.

But I digress. Point is that my parents are getting on in years, I don't know how much longer they'll be around and yet much as I would love to be with them a little more, it's just not happening. And especially because of my dad that makes me incredibly sad. So on Mothers Day this year I am sad because I miss my dad.

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