Monday, August 2, 2010

Mom, go home already

Warning: This is a more personal post than I usually do, and it's not that nice; it may not paint me in a particularly positive light. It's also pretty rambling and less edited than my usual. It's better suited for a personal diary than a blog, but I do these posts from time to time to sort of air my thoughts. Basically, you will probably not be interested in this post. But you're welcome to read on if you are.

As of the publication of this post, my mother has been in Honolulu for 24 days, 11 hours, and 5 minutes. And I feel like she really needs to pack her bags and go home right last week. Seriously. I was totally ready for her to go last weekend, but now after this weekend I am so sick of her I'm going nuts. Really, I've almost started crying a couple times thinking about it. Wednesday, when she finally will leave on a jet plane, cannot come fast enough.

Don't get me wrong, I love my mother dearly, and she's really quite a nice person. And things could be a lot worse in terms of how much she's disrupting my life here. She could be staying with me, sleeping on my floor. I could be the only person in town she's visiting; her main duty this trip may actually be to help out her parents, who are 90 and 88 and need some help around their retirement home apartment (sorting out junk from their closets, driving to various doctor appointments and such). She also has other relatives here to see, and even some old friends from high school to have a lunch with here and there. So it's not like she is with me all the time.

Still, out of the last eleven days (beyond that it all starts blending together), I have had ten dinners with my mother. In that many days I recall having four lunches with her; lunches are a little lighter because I have the excuse of work during the day. And the dinners aren't just quick meals. I have become her evening entertainment, so she will be with me from whenever she gets her hands on me until maybe 9:30 or 10 when she goes back to her aunt's house where she is staying. It was all I could do during the week to keep her from picking me up straight from work (No, Mom, I will walk home. I'll call you when I want you to come over). You may be thinking, Hey, it doesn't sound so bad to be treated to dinner so many times! and it isn't bad (except for my waistline). But five of those ten dinners I've had with her were actually at my home, with either my food or leftovers (craftily planted in my fridge so she'd have an excuse to come over for dinner). And only one of those five dinners were invited. The rest were bullied. In most cases, my mom lays out her options so as to make me feel even worse about not giving her dinner than I feel about giving her dinner: "Well I don't know what I'd eat because I left my lunch leftovers in your fridge..." (Right... And why did you do that, huh?). Or: "Let's see, either I can eat with you, or I can have my parents steal me scraps from their dining hall." And then there are the self-invitations. One evening after I'd already spent lunch and all afternoon with her, she dropped me off back at home, and just sat around in our house for long enough that the Housemate offered her dinner. Tonight she actually she came into my house and told the Housemate that I had invited her for dinner when that was definitely not the case. But he did happen to be cooking something at the time. Lucky her.

See, what I usually do for dinner is snuggle up on the couch with the Housemate and watch a TV show (lately we've been making our way through The Big Bang Theory). But thanks to my mom, this is something we haven't been able to do since...I guess two weeks ago Tuesday. This is my mom's vacation, not mine. I'm a person who needs a little "me time": some time alone (or with my boyfriend) where I can watch TV, surf the internet, etc. If I were on vacation, that would be one thing. But since I am working, I have to make the most of my free time. Basically, this is my real life, and it is being disrupted.

As much as I've been annoyed by the endless dinners with my mom, she told me tonight that she is actually doing it in order to pay me back for the big favor that I have done for her (so she claims; I think most of the dinners we've had together have been to spend time with me and/or because she had no better options). What favor? I have lent her my car. "How much do you use your car? It costs so much to rent one--I'll be in Honolulu for a whole month... And you know Dad's job isn't looking so stable at this point, and your brother is still in college..." It's all true, though I am a little ticked to learn that they are going to spend a week in Tortola later this month (their very well-off college friends have a house there that they've been invited to, so it's not quite as expensive as it sounds). But anyway, since I walk to work, I only regularly need the car to go the grocery store, and my mom assured me that she could give me the car when I needed groceries, or she could take me to the store (ooh, even better).

It wasn't so bad not having my car for the first week or so. For the first week and a half, both my parents were here, and I took off three days of work to vacation with them. The Housemate was away for a number of those days on a research cruise, and I was happy to have my dad here because he hadn't come out to Hawaii when I moved here last summer (unlike my mom, with whom I had a few bad spats that month that I still stew about from time to time). A week and a half is a good amount of time to have one's parents visit.

But as the weeks have gone on, I have really started to realize how much I need the car. My car is freedom. I am so past having to ask my mom for permission to go to the grocery store. There are a number of errands I've put off because I didn't want to have to ask my mom to borrow the car. Sometimes I want to lend my car to my boyfriend so he can go surfing. Sometimes I want to go to the movies with my boyfriend. Sometimes I want to go to a party. Sometimes I want to go to the beach. Sometimes I just don't want my mom to have an excuse to invite herself into my house for dinner.

At least my mom isn't staying at my house. My mom could not guilt me into letting my mom sleep on my floor. "I feel bad about staying a whole month at my aunt's house. I don't want to intrude too much on them. Do you think it would be possible for me to stay at your house for a little while?" I resisted, and luckily my dad took my side. My house is not all that roomy, and with the other housemates in the house it would have been awkward.

Furthermore, if she were sleeping over, that would mean that I couldn't sleep with my boyfriend Housemate, which would have been a sad missed opportunity because our other roommates moved out last week and have not yet been replaced, so we've got the place entirely to ourselves. And I wouldn't even have been able to sleep with him with her in the house if she did know that he's my boyfriend. Ah, there's the other complication that is driving me crazy. It seemed easier at the time not to tell my parents that I was sleeping with the Housemate. I didn't want the questions, the cautions, the judgments; and the Housemate, meeting my parents for the first time, did not want the scrutiny, either. But it means that every moment that I am with my mom--and this has been a lot of time--I have not been able to show affection for my boyfriend. It's a huge pain.

So there's my rambling explanation of why I'm so ready for my mom to go home: the dinners, the car, the boyfriend. What's more is that she actually wants to go home herself. Last summer she was here for a whole month as well, but so was my younger brother, so they could always do fun stuff together even when I started working. But this time she's alone. She has been complaining to me about the amount of time she's been spending with her parents, and I can definitely relate. She knows I'm annoyed about not having my car. I think she's finally realizing I'm annoyed about all the dinners. She's starting to feel bad about it all. Even she thinks her vacation should have been one week shorter. But she's stuck here until her plane leaves.

Mom, you're wonderful, I love you, it's nice to see you, please leave.

Oh, and I'll see you for dinner tonight. You'll drive by my place around 6:15, right?

4 comments:

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cassey said...

Parents can be soooo annoying. I hope she leaves soon and things get better.

Hezabelle said...

Oh, mothers. So much easier to love when you don't see much of them.

Vanessa said...

Oh, boy, I feel so sad for your mom! ^^
Don't get me wrong, I can totally relate to you on the matter, and you even seem to have a better relationship with your mother than I have with mine. In your place I would be wishing for her to go soon too, I need time for myself everyday, I'm kind of a loner, I'd be going nuts for not being able to do it for so many days in a row, geez!

The thing is, I am a mother too, you know... oh, you didn't. :P
Well, though I'm still in my early thirties, I have a teen boy, and since my pregnancy I started seeing the world from a different perspective (of the annoying parent, sadly). So I can relate to your mother too.

My guess is she just wants to spend her time with you, that's the final reason she's there all the time. You live away from her but you're still her baby (and always will be, got to live with that, we can never forget when we held you in our arms and changed your diapers and used to teach and protect, the memory lingers, becomes part of us). She wants to look at you, touch you(I know it's so annoying, please bear with it, it's a deep need we have, you'll understand someday), to be amazed and happy to see how you've grown and are being successful , and also make sure everything is fine. Also it could be a bit of guilt, to make up for something she did wrong (and believe me, it's impossible to do everything right, it's like a nightmare and a delight to be a parent, probably the bit of guilt will always be there)

Hopefully she'll have company to share her attention next year or reduce the number of weeks, it seems she's realizing the overstay. As a mother I ask you to be strong and endure it not letting her feel bad, it's only a couple of days more, right? It's best to feel a little bad for a little while now than a lot bad when you can't have her around anymore.

One more thing, she probably knows, or is guessing about your relationship with the Housemate. It could be that she's with you at night to protect your virtue! ^^
Well, that's something she'll have to deal with for a year, now. If you manage to make her know that you're well in between the lines, it should be fine. She could even be ready to hear it straight from you in the future (or not)!