Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Family, revisited.

I am, once again, at the lake. Oh, the weather has been glorious! The journey here was uneventful---no moose---although Gluten Free Jen and her children traveled with me across the state. I don't believe I've spent better than seven hours with a six-year-old and an eight-year-old, in a car, traveling to a vacation house, immediately following said children and their mother's ten-day adventure with their grandparents, but I must say, I have a deep and profound respect for parents of small children at this moment.

Not to say I was bothered by the children. I really wasn't. I've actually fallen in absolute love with these kids. But my lord...they are relentless little people, aren't they? I got to be on the outside, really, because the kids were more focused on Mommy than me, but was like my terrier with a Bully Stick. And my friend stayed so calm! This is what mother love is, I guess.

I wonder when my mother stopped experiencing that emotion.

My parents arrived late on Friday evening, about five hours+ after we got their. Rex, GF Jen's lovely husband, had arrived beforehand and helped prepare dinner and wrangle children. [This is their term. "Rex will wrangle the kids." I do not believe there are any actual ropes or branding irons used.] My parents didn't arrive in time for dinner and in preparation for that, we'd set aside some of the dinner for them.

Was Mom delighted with this? Oh, thank you for asking. No. No, she wasn't.

In fact, I believe it's safe to say Mom wasn't delighted about anything, particularly me in the entire time she was here. It was 48 hours of unrelieved negativity and criticism. You think I exaggerate, beloved invisible friend? Are you smiling to yourself and wondering if this is simply hyperbole for dramatic/comic effect?


Dad left early the first morning for a golf game. Yes, he is a clever fellow. Golf and his hearing loss have been key success factors in 47 years of marriage. [An audiologist told him his hearing loss was restricted to the tones of a woman's voice. Coincidence? You decide.] When he arrived back at the cabin from his game, I went out to meet him. I'm not sure what my face looked like at that moment, but I know my hands were clenched into shaking fists and my eyes were about twice their normal size. Dad immediately, and kindly, took Mom to a nearby restaurant for a cocktail. They returned just in time for dinner.

During the cleanup of the meal, my mother and I "discussed" her general unhappiness with the amount of work she puts into the lake cabin, the dearth of assistance she receives and the absolute absence of appreciation for all of her efforts. [By the way, all of this--yes, all--was apparently my fault.] After much time and several moments of my use of a low and intense tone of voice talking with Mom [you know the tone I'm talking about...] I finally told her she had options in regards to the cabin.

No, I don't know why I bothered. Do you want to know what I said or not? Thank you.

1) She could just stop coming to the cabin and let other people deal with it. [Yes, she glommed onto this one and acted like I'd stolen her dolly and kicked her puppy.]

2) She could change her attitude and be joyful in what she chose to do with her time at the cabin. [No, I'm not holding my breath, either.]

And this is the biggie:

3) She could continue on as she had been doing, get herself a big, wooden cross, put it up in the front of the cabin and just climb on up and perch there.

The opportunity to say this to my mother almost made the two days of hell worth it.

Almost. Not quite.


  1. 4) She could hire a team of cabin-cleaners who send her pre-visit livestreaming inspection videos so that she can offer corrections and know the cabin will be pristine upon her arrival. [likelihood of this one? Anyone? Bueller?]

  2. "CLIMB UP AND PERCH ON IT" Beyond awesome!!

  3. Oh you poor poor girl. I'm not sure it will be any relief to you, but my mother's mom (my grandma Roma) was like this to my mother for the bulk of my mothers life, but did improve dramatically in the last 10 years. They were able to finally have conversations that didn't have directives, and didn't leave my mom in tears. No promises, but its possible your mom could mellow out and be "less irritating." Just be glad you don't go walking around sporting all that negativity... that would really suck.

  4. To address first question...Motherly calmness & patience is limited by the biological clock....about the time the little darlings become pubecent...the loving mother becomes menopausal. When this is remembered...its easier to deal with the high school years. So I've been told anyway.....This does not apply to you experience with your mother....just general observation.