Monday, October 30, 2006

Long time no see, so here's a Loooong one.

So my mom came to visit...


In the past, the news that my mother was coming to visit would reduce me to tears. For hours, if not days. It is so stressful for me, because the whole relationship is just soo thoroughly fucked up.

It wasn't too many years ago that I decided I just needed to grieve over the fact that I had no functioning Mother, per say. Be sad about it and move on.

I was sad.

I moved on.

Then she came to visit.

It's hard. I can't just tell her not to come, because she needs to see her grandbabies and they need to see her. She needs to see me. It reassures her. I, on the other hand, spend the visit on tenterhooks wondering what kooky thing she'll do next. Because she is kooky, and not in the cute too-many-cats kind of way. She's kooky in the tells-stories-and-believes-them kind of way. In the she's-so-borderline kind of way.

She gets it from her dad.

But that's besides the point. The point is that I go most of the year living in my happy mental suburbia, but when she visits I'm plunged into this wacky amusement park where I'm forced onto a roller coaster I DON'T WANT TO RIDE.


I decide to leave her with the Boy and the baby for an hour while I go to a Doctor appt, in part because taking the baby would make it obvious that I don't fully trust her, and I don't want the hooplah such a revelation would bring. I come home to find that she's tried to give the baby tylenol. Even though I told her yesterday that the baby didn't need it. Even though we've talked about how the baby doesn't like "tastes". So the woman who can't see well dosed fruity flavored stuff into a cup and poured it into the baby's mouth, who proceeded to gag and barf. All this because the baby was rubbing her gums.

But I responded with, "It's no big deal", because in the grand scheme of things it's not. Then I saw the red smear on the bottle nipple and realized she'd given the baby children's strength liquid. I knew that things were probably ok, because it's actually more dilute than the baby drops, and she barfed anyway, but I did get the serious look and voice whilst I dug out the bottle and asked if that was, indeed, what my mom gave her. Then I had to ask how much she gave her. To which she responded "I'm a nurse. I wouldn't give her too much. I'm a nurse." She showed me how much she gave her, and I asked if she was sure. That's when she started to cry.

Here's my perspective:
Mom tells stories all the time. She tells you what she feels, not what happened, so if she feels like she gave her a tiny bit, that's what she'll say, but who knows how the hell much she really gave her.
Yes, she used to work as a nurse. I would expect a nurse to know the difference between children's and baby strength, and to call a Dr or pharmacist to get the correct dose for whatever she's using. I got out the baby stuff and did the math to make sure Peanut would be ok, and the dose Mom says she gave would actually be half of what Peanut would actually need.

Here's her perspective:
She wanted to pull some kind of a rabbit out of her hat during her visit. Do something for me that I couldn't do for myself. She doesn't believe she can be loved for who she is, she has to give people reasons to love her. She figures that she can give Peanut some Tylenol and make her happy and calm (she thinks it makes babies sleepy). I'll come home and say, "Look at the blissed out baby, how ever did you do it?" and she'll say "See, I told you! I gave her tylenol. You were wrong and I was right" and then I'll love her because she's so wise.
Instead the baby pukes, the grandson worries, the daughter comes home and hints that you may have poisoned your grand-daughter, and then totally dismisses your claim to fame as a nurse. It's all gone to hell in a hand cart.
You cry.

So I assume the role I always do with her at times like these- that of the comforting mother. And I pat her back, and I say it really isn't a big deal, no one got hurt, and I'm not upset. And I make a big deal out of not being upset, and trying to find things to do with her that will cheer her up. And it works, in the sick, fucked up way it does.

This was the big fiasco of the visit, but there were numerous small strangenesses that even Boy noticed.

And it's not just her. After a visit with her I notice how alike our voices are. And I wonder if I'm stretching the truth ever at all. If I seem to be losing my faculties at a steady, slow rate. If, in short, I'm turning into my mother.

She wants to come back for another, longer visit, since this one was so short. I don't know how I'd manage. For the first time in nine months my milk production was reduced because I was so stressed. Moving a month after the baby was born didn't do it. Getting the house ready for the mother-in-law's visit didn't do it. Living in this messy house didn't do it. Just knowing my mother was coming for two days was what reduced my milk output by 30%.

Simon says we'll just have to be creative and think of a reason she can't stay. I know that would be wise and fair to us, but so help me I just can't say no. Her feelings will be hurt, bad, and I won't be near her to pick up the pieces. She needs to see her grandbabies, and she needs to feel loved by me. All I can hope for is that it was stressful for her too, and she'll think twice about a longer visit.

Be grateful for all the healthy relationships you have, I know I am.


me said...

I know just what you mean. My relationship with my own mother is very strained, and it bothers me that it is that way. But I can't fix her. Actually I have the exact opposite problem, she never wants to visit. I even asked her once to come watch the kids while hub and I went away, thinking she would enjoy time with them, but she decided against it. It hurts, but I just vow to make my relationship with my kids that much better.

Esereth said...

Oh wow.

The thing about your mother saying what she FEELS happened instead of what did happen? That is my mother. Absolutely, completely. It's exhausting. And watching your voice to see how similar it sounds, and watching to make sure you aren't exaggerating, I do all that, too.

I guess we do think a little alike.

You can't keep her away. It would cause more pain than satisfaction, and you'd regret it. Just try to bring her down on your own terms, when you're ready.