Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Grief from Grainne

You’d think a king…er… Empress… wouldn’t have mother issues… I suppose before I go any further I should warn off those of you expecting my typical literary blog… this is rather a random gripe, a grumble, I’m grouchy with grief from grandparental kvetching (not MY grandparents, mind you… my children’s). And before anybody protests, which 98% of those who know my mother might be inclined to do, I will give the disclaimer that she is a wonderful, kind, generous person… with too little ability to keep her opinions to herself, lousy communication skills, and a vendetta against my husband for having the balls to marry her daughter. I suppose had it ceased with the wedding vows I might have forgiven it as a well-meaning attempt to lead me down a different path (though ANYONE who knows me gets that telling me I am WRONG is the WRONG way to go about getting me to change my mind, and you'd THINK my mother would know me…) But it has continued… I met my husband twenty-one years ago in September and we now share two children, and she STILL can’t be civil. So my parents came for a visit, my mild-mannered, friendly, always-civil step dad, who for more than a decade seemed to calm the whirlwind that is my mother, but somehow has ceased to be effective there, and my mother. There were grumbles about the flower bed--the one facing the street that is the all-important ‘first impression’ (I grew up understanding that if things LOOKED okay, then everyone would think they WERE okay). It looked nice in May when the bulbs were in bloom; it is currently admittedly shabby. I explained that we chose to put our effort on the vegetable garden… I only have so much time. She looks incredulously at me, telepathically asking well WHY DOESN’T HE DO IT THEN? He… my husband, is our primary parent, cook, homemaker, chauffer, lawn keeper, and currently a student, and HE happens to disagree with me about the virtues of eradication (he would like chemicals, I have begged him to refrain) so the flower beds have ended up MY domain. But you know what? I want fresh vegetables MORE than I care about curbside appeal--we're not selling. More than that, I want to sell my NOVEL and write NEW novels more than I ever want to garden again. There are grumbles about the dog, He’s too fat--the vet says so, so we have replaced most of his treats with carrots… my mom whimpered and sympathized about how if it was up to HER he’d get the treats; they’d just go on extra walks. Oh yeah? YOU try to walk him extra. He WON’T go. Corgys do not bend to the will of mere mortals. As it is, he will only walk with my husband who takes him twice a day. But the clincher for me… my husband the student, is taking a math class. He is math-phobic (I know there must be a formal word for this, as I’ve known too many people who have it) and it is the first time he’s had it in thirty years. So I was assisting him and my mom filled in the rest of the steps in a tone that implied “any dumbshit knows that”. Well I happen to have had to tread very carefully for a very long time to get him first to try, then to NOT QUIT, so that was the last thing he needed to hear. I turned and glared furiously, made a zip-lipping motion and she seemed completely oblivious as to how rude she’d just been. Now I want my mom to be able to visit. I want my kids to have a good relationship with their grandparents. But what would REALLY facilitate all this, is if my mother would just grow the hell up or at least begin therapy to discover WHY she can’t seem to be nice to this one individual who happens to be flawed, but also a loving father and husband. After all, what better could you ask for than that?


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Oh....that's a hard one. You don't want to deny your kids a relationship with their grandma (or vice versa), but you don't want your kids to pick up on her attitude toward their dad.

Not sure how to advise on that one, Watery---best of luck to you on it.


Watery Tart said...

Thank you, Elizabeth! I have made a long list of her wrongs and am letting it sit for a couple days so I can rationally make it more constructive. Mostly though, I just needed to vent. My creativity is sapped.

(it will return though, and I have a long list of must-read stuff in the meantime)

Joris said...

Arithmophobia - Fear of numbers ;)

Carnimire said...

Tam tam, You are describing my mother aren't you.

And you have nailed one of my mother's biggest issues - after so many years, she hasn't got over the fact that he had the guts to marry her daughter. That he has given her two lovely grandsons is something she chooses to forget.

Just a couple of days back, when I told he surprised me with a chocolate cake on my birthday, it was met with such a lukewarm response, I had to unnecessarily add 'and it was a cake he doesn't even like, and which he refused to even taste'. That was ignored, but a minute later she brought up something else he did or didn't do and then said 'but that is your problem - you married him. now you live with him.'

Did I even insinuate otherwise? Sorry, rant!

Watery Tart said...

Ack! Yes... I've been debating whether I'm brave enough to invite my mother to read... Mine is rather passive aggressive in her approach to how she says things but that DEEP SADNESS at how she finds me drives me NUTS. Anything wrong... His fault... (including character flaws in my children)--hello mom, do you remember that the center of the world selfish thing is ALL ME?

(thank you, Joris!)