Currently reading: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, Potsdam: The End of the World by Michael S. Neiberg, Mozart’s Wife by Juliet Waldron, and re-reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Current Weight: 164
Current Mood: Stressed / Hopeful / Debating if I want to be an adult
Finally, for the first time since April, they have stabilized my father. I know that doesn’t sound like an inordinate amount of time, but when your family is receiving call after call after call demanding action on a situation we have no control over; trust me, it’s a long damn time. This has involved multiple hospital visits, arguments with health care professionals who may know more than me in a medical sense, but sorry I pull rank in terms of medical history and knowing the patient.
We have begun what I have started referring to as the Dementia Dating Game which involves various facilities coming to interview him to see if he’s a good match. That’s fair. I screened my husband in a similar way…
Does it work? Does it mesh? Does it fit? Does it ripple the water in the most minimal way and if it does ripple the water, is the pattern at least a pretty one?
My job at this point is to be the safety net and sometimes kick in the head to my mother. She had a meltdown last week about some dimwit who in the big scheme of things, should mean nothing. This person has been a perpetual thorn in the side; a naysaying, one upping, decades of judgment, straight outta Nagville – queen of petty. Yet somehow, someway, my mother is upset because after 50 plus years she realized this person doesn’t care.
ORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR, this is complete misdirection and what my mother is really upset about is the fact that her anniversary is around the corner and her husband is there but still M.I.A. Let the rational me ponder on this for a minute and see which one wins out.
So in a nice, kind, gentle and loving way punctuated with a couple of F bombs and a jab or two about said queen of petty…I made my point and my mother made her silent but undeniable stand. She’s had enough.
There are times in life that we are handed toxicity. We all know that the news is fraught with it – except you Thailand – well done. Even if said toxicity is served up in a pretty etched margarita glass with a tricked out, colorful paper umbrella peeking jauntily up from the drain cleaner cocktail that was handed to us, it doesn’t mean we need to drink it. Sometimes said cocktail is handed to us by a stranger, sometimes it’s a friend, and sometimes worst of all – it’s family. Dealing with family crises is hard enough without embracing the sheer idiocy of the clueless lot of rare individuals that need to insert themselves in a given story or a feeling or a life that has nothing to do with them or worse – they somehow make your moments of weakness a bitchy commentary like something out of TMZ.
My mother comes from a generation which thrived on guilt. She’s not quite a baby boomer but qualifies to be their older sister. Her mother was instilled with a sense of guilt and doom and gloom and a feeling of wrong doing that permeates the very air she breathes by her own mother. In her own way, she tried to hand that down to me, not out of cruelty but out of a sense of this is what mother’s do. My generation was coming up in the time of post war, post hippy, semi-Watergate, post blind faith in government. We watched the news about Gloria Steinem and women going to work and the morphing of free love as what was interpreted as a morally void movement to the actual empowerment of women having the same choices as men in whichever path they wish to take. I accepted much less of the guilt that my mother’s generation did. And to keep this lunatic familial line going, in my own way, I guilted my daughter a time or two as she came up in age of Clinton-gate and impeachment hearings and Britney Spears working her good old good old stuff in a school hallway while looking like a little Lolita. Again, there was a difference in translation in actions for her generation as we saw the rise of marketable and profitable women. Powerful women. J.K. Rowling, Oprah Winfrey, Indra Nooyi, The Spice Girls, Mae Jemison, Madeline Albright, Janet Reno, Hilary Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg who all in their own ways showed strength, power, resilience, and grit. My daughter’s generation (the Millenials) level of clarity was so much more than mine and more jaded than mine and she effectively bought into it that time honored maternal tradition of GUILTING even less than I did. But ohhhhhhhhhh doubt, it’s in our DNA. We speak guilt fluently. And while I was systematically breaking this revelation down to her while on the phone – I sensed the inaudible click in my mother’s thinking that noted that she, for the first time, decided that she simply didn’t need to take this crap anymore. We have issues going on that don’t require input whether passively or actively. Or passive aggressively. Or passively flaunting or whatever the hell the agenda of nastiness is these days.
In life I tend to be rather solitary in problem solving. I believe that you knuckle down and do what needs to be done. I also don’t invest a lot of time in blame. If you did something own it. If you didn’t, open your mouth and defend yourself, but for the love of chocolate and Harry Kane’s kickin’ foot – stop blaming everybody else. I’m old school – I know.
I believe in dealing with your own and letting others deal with theirs. I’ve seen enough to know that I can’t change anyone’s mind, only my own. I’ve had enough of toxicity this year.
Come hell or high water, my father will be moved. I could waste my time worrying about the fluff that doesn’t matter, or I could be his champion and advocate. I could choose to look forward and not back.
I don’t really think it’s much of a choice. I don’t doubt what I will do. I don’t feel guilty about defending myself or my family. I don’t choose to continue sipping toxicity. And while I don’t always enjoy these choices, because they bear the weight of family loss and struggle; they are the choices I have made and will only alter if needed.
Matchmaker, matchmaker…make me a match….just don’t give me a guilt trip.
PS: Mom, I know you’re reading this….I love you. We’ll be alright.