Sunday, November 9, 2014

An Introduction To My Mother

Friday my mother called and asked us to come over and clean out her gutters and change the light bulbs in her vaulted ceiling.

I thought I was going to be able to put it off for a couple of weeks but J47 wants to get it over with.   

He is a much better person the I am.

I wish I had this great, safe, loving relationship with my mom.  I don't.  

Also, I'm kind of freaking out about using the word "safe" in the sentence above.  There's a couple of blog posts there....

About five minutes into our visit today we will get into an argument with my mother about the fact that she needs to find an electrician because we changed all four of the lightbulbs in the living room just months ago and now they are shorting out again.

I tried to have this conversation with her Friday and she got petulant and put out with me.  She insisted that, 'No!  You have NOT changed THESE lightbulbs."  

OHMYGOD.  Yes,  yes we have.

At some point she will complain that we made her buy a ten foot ladder because using her  six foot ladder meant standing on the very top which obviously is extremely dangerous.  

She kept telling us it wasn't because she didn't want to spend the $150 on the ladder.  We suggested she hire a handyman who already had the ladder but she didn't want to do that.  

So she bought the ladder. And she will complain about the cost today.

She will also complain that I won't let her clean out her gutters because it's to dangerous even though she thinks she would be OK.  Even though she has weird and random dizzy spells and even though the doctor told her to NOT CLEAN THE EAVES BECAUSE IT WAS TO DANGEROUS and that he has seen elderly people fall from a height of three inches and end up with a broken hip.

Even when she was younger and possessed her facilities (although, really, did she possess her facilities?  Some would argue not) she never believed anything we said, was always right about everything and has always been extremely stubborn.  

Now when I tell her she is remembering things incorrectly or not remembering them at all she gets scared that she is getting old.

OHMYGOD.  She is old.   She is terrified of getting old.  So if you imply that she may be suffering mentally or physically from the normal aging process she panics and gets angry.  She gets defensive. 

The truth is she is sad and lonely and has been pretty depressed since she moved here three years ago.   Things are not the way she thought they would be.  She is horrified that her house is SEVEN miles from my house.  Even though before it was a 12 hour drive.

She thought she would be popping in every day unannounced for dinner.  But we don't have dinner the way she expects us to have dinner.  

The relationships involved are so complicated and fraught with tension.  The relationship between me and my mom, between my mom and husband, between my kids and my mom.   She is a difficult woman who doesn't want to change and all of that is made worse by her age.  Which you can't tell her because she gets angry.

I'm not a very good daughter either.  I have a hard time dealing with it.  I can't talk to her about anything going on in my life.  The anxiety and depression.  The job stuff.  Stuff with the kids.

Believe me, I've tried.  I'm 47 years into this relationship and I realized many years ago this wasn't getting fixed.  I did my therapy.  I asked her to do it.  In fact, I found her a therapist and she saw her once or twice.  She told me that SHE HELPED THE THERAPIST.  I am not making that up.

So we limp along and I try to do what I have to do.

A terrible thing to admit.


Sarah said...

You know I completely get this, yes?

Common Household Mom said...

Oh, man-o-man-o-man. This sounds like my mother-in-law. Everything wrong with her life was our fault. And she is terribly frightened of and angry at being old, or seeming old, even though she IS old.

There are so many topics that have been off-limits with my MIL, and now with my own mother and aunt, for slightly different reasons.

It sounds to me like you are a good daughter. You do therapy and change light bulbs and climb ladders and endure listening to angry old ladies. There is nothing wrong with setting limits on what you are willing to do, and for the rest it does require limping along, I think.

I appreciate and admire that you have been able to say how things are, in this space. I can't talk about this kind of stuff on my own blog (almost went too far in my current post), so I doubly appreciate being able to comment here.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Oh, that sounds tough. She must feel so angry, wanting to be in control and not having it. You are demonstrating so much compassion to her, and it's TOUGH to love people when they are unlovable.

Bibliomama said...

It's not a terrible thing to admit AT ALL, although I'm sure it's difficult. I'm so sorry - I think not having that foundational relationship be safe and supportive must make a lot of other things in life harder than they would otherwise be. Do what you feel you have to for her, and protect yourself however you feel you need to.

smalltownme said...

What a difficult situation.

On a lighter note, my kitchen light bulbs blow out all the time. I started writing the date on them when I replace them. The last one lasted only 4 months. But it's not the wiring, because some have lasted years. Cheapo bulbs.

Karen Jensen said...

Mothers and daughters--hard stuff. My mom was mentally ill. (So am I, come to think of it.) We did have a break through in the last few years of her life, and we did love each other dearly, but it was still tough. Glad you're talking about it. That helps. And remember, love is a verb. You may not feel loving, but you are being loving. You are being a good daughter.