Monday, November 23, 2009

Trying to do "the right thing" but it's not working

I am trying to do the right thing with my mother, but it's not working. I set boundaries and I hold to them, but she's not living in the same reality as I am. When my grandmother died, she picked a fight with my brother. Now she's coming after me for Thanksgiving.
In the "try to do the right thing" department, I agreed we'd see her for Thanksgiving. My husband, daughter, and I cannot go to my mother's apartment though because of the cigarette smoke and the cat. I've told this to my mother many times. Likewise, I know my mom wouldn't be comfortable in our messy house, and would have difficulty with the stairs leading into the house. So I picked a neutral zone for the Thanksgiving meal. I found a restaurant and made a reservation for us. I told my mom we'd treat because I know it's out of her budget, and we'd give her a ride because she doesn't have a car. This seems like the "right thing" to do.
My mother isn't happy though. She wants to be in control, and she wants to cook us Thanksgiving at her apartment. This is not acceptable though as defined by our boundaries and she keeps pushing. On Friday night there was a message on my answering machine "The weather forecast looks bad. Are you sure you don't want me to cook? I really don't mind". I haven't called her back yet. The "weather forecast" is for a "chance of rain". It's not bad at all. If the weather forecast were for a snowstorm, we would either a)stay home or b)use our 4-wheel drive, pick her up and go. The worst miles of the trip are from our house to hers. Once we get to her house, the roads are easy, all state highways and good town roads etc. It's the 7 miles from our house to civilization that are the hazard. So there is no way to use the weather as an excuse.

I am prepared to let it go. We are doing our best, I am doing my best, to offer neutral ground. She can take it or leave it. I told my husband that if she cancels, I'd still like to go. I know we could cook Thanksgiving at our house for just the 3 of us, but I'm in the mood to go out. After our lunch, we'll stop by my father's house so my daughter can thank the chickens for all the eggs that they've been giving us lately. Sounds like a good plan to me.

I also realize that if Thanksgiving plans blow up, we might not see my mom for Christmas either. Seems strange to think that she'd be local and we wouldn't see her, but I've gotten used to it with my brother.

Deep breath. Let Go, Let God. No expectations. Live and Let Live. Only 3 more days.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sorry I've been MIA

Sorry about being MIA. I hadn't realized that it was so long ago since I last posted.
We were busy last weekend visiting my dad and his friend and then we went apple picking. I was trying to get to a lunchtime Al-Anon meeting this week, but it didn't happen. I did spend some time talking to another friend about "crazy mothers" and that helped lift the weights from my shoulders a little. A lot of us grew up with crazy mothers. My dad does a better job than I do of taking it in stride, maybe because his mother's craziness wasn't directed at him. I don't know. I did finally manage to get Thanksgiving plans worked out so that I can see both my parents on the same day so that's good. I started gearing my daughter up for it today. I'll work on it a little at a time for the next week I think. Anyway, it's a relief to have the holiday figured out. Last night I put some holiday music on for a little while, and listened to an Elvis Christmas song. That put me in a great mood too. I meant to comment on Scott's blog, and I meant to comment on Syd's blog within the last week, but somehow I never got around to it. I've been reading, I've just been quiet. A lot of times I like quiet. Quiet is good and peaceful. This morning my daughter and I turned off the tv for a little while and just talked. It was nice. So that's where I'm at today- trying to find some inner peace, hush the noise and the chaos, and just be still. Maybe if I listen long enough I'll hear something good.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More sad news

My dad was on Google chat today. I asked about my paternal grandmother. He said she is going to get the Gold Cane in a few days for being the oldest resident in town, but she doesn't really want it. She's still upset about losing her sister (understandably). He also said he doesn't expect her to see green grass again, meaning she'll be gone by her next birthday in March. I'm not sure if I'll visit her tomorrow or not. My visits do little to comfort her. I am probably going to try to write her a short note though and let her know I'm thinking of her.

Meanwhile, tomorrow is Veterans Day. My dad is a Vet, and there are thousands of vets out there. I may not "celebrate" but I'll be thinking of them in my heart. My daughter has the day off from school so I'll be doing something with her, raking leaves, visiting friends, playing at the park, not sure what... but my thoughts are with all those families with a family member in the service and with all those families who have a vet at home too.

In honor of... In memory of..... my heart goes out to you.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I tried to see her

Saturday marked 2 months since my grandmother had passed. I thought about that as I left the house late Saturday morning to head to the grocery store. I knew I'd be passing by my mother's apartment so when I got far enough out of the woods to get a cell signal, I pulled over and I called her. She was home. I invited her to come with me to run some errands and get some groceries. She accepted the invite and a few minutes later I was at her door. When I got there she had a bag full of stuff for me, and I protested a little. I really don't need more stuff from tag sales or whatever, but she insisted, and I could see in the pile was my grandmother's college diploma. So I dutifully put the bag in my daughter's car seat, and accepted it. My mom was talking non-stop so I really didn't need to say much. Evidently she was expecting to see a friend of her, an ex-boyfriend, but he was supposed to be at her house 2 hours ago and hadn't shown up so she figured she'd been stood up. As she chatted away, we drove down the road. Then she saw his pick-up truck. Quick! Do a U-Turn! There he is, headed to my house. So I pulled over, waited for traffic, and then brought her home. He was just about to knock on the door as we got there. I let her out, kept the bag of memoirs and tag sale stuff, and said goodbye. I'll try again another time I guess.

There is a long history between her and this ex of hers, and it's not for me to post it. They go back a long way, and there have been times when I've been angry with him. However he did show up at the burial for my grandmother, and that was nice of him. He didn't come to the funeral service, or the reception afterward. He just showed up at the cemetery, quietly, and then left. I know she regards him as a true friend. I guess it's good she has someone to reconnect with up here when she's feeling lonely. They're probably drinking together too, but I have to let that go.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Here's a thought for today

"The shell must break before the bird can fly." -- Tennyson
(And this is where I found it:

I just came across this, and it is so true for many of us. I want to say especially for Al-Anon people, especially for adult children of alcoholics who have been building that shell their whole lives, but really it's true for everybody. Many are afraid of breaking that shell. They don't want to expose the world, or themselves to what is underneath. I know I have days where I feel like that, and maybe today is one of them. I can't really tell you why. My pain isn't worse than anyone else's, and right now my life is in a good place mostly. I just feel it. I'm procrastinating on things I promised to do, and I feel like I'm not where I belong, but there is nothing I can do because I don't know where I'm supposed to go. Fly? Fly where?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Just a quick post today

Yesterday's post was kind of long, and I apologize for that.

I was grateful last night to get home and NOT have a message on the machine from my mother.
I am grateful that my grandmother got out of the hospital yesterday and is back to the nursing home.

I am trying to focus on "It is what it is" today because things aren't great, but I know I have to let them go. I don't have control over a lot of things at work and at home. I'm not happy with the way things are, but it's beyond my power to make the world bend to my wishes. So "it is what it is".

Monday, November 2, 2009

the Monday after Halloween

Today I'm grateful for Scott's blog. I need a reminder sometimes to remember what I'm grateful for and reading his blog helps me do that.

I'm grateful that I remembered the slogan "Take what you like and leave the rest" today. I am feeling like I'm getting information overload on Mondays sometimes. I have RSS feeds set up on at least 3 different email accounts and sometimes I get behind. Today I had over 1000 posts on libraries, writing, and books waiting for me. I ignored most of them. I don't need it today. Fortunately my RSS feeds for Al-Anon are caught up and easier to digest. I actually look forward to reading them and saved them for last.

In the "things never go as planned" department, we made some adjustments over the weekend. Friday night we went straight home since we were all tired from the day before. On Saturday my daughter said she was not interested in the Fairy Princess Garden or whatever that I thought would be so much fun. She wanted to find a pick-your-own-pumpkin patch instead. So we tried to do that. We searched for several hours, riding in the car, and couldn't find one. Maybe it was too late in the season. Oh well. She also said she did not want to see my mother, and we decided not to force her although I came pretty close.

We did have a great time trick or treating in a neighborhood that we hadn't gone to before, and my husband had a good time and none of us minded the rain. So hoorah for that! Coming home, overtired, hungry, wet.. that was another story, but overall we had fun!

Still in the "not as planned" department, Sunday didn't go as planned either. My daughter did not want to see her grandfather for dinner, and although I was very disappointed, my husband offered to stay home with her. This turned out to be a blessing. My paternal grandmother ended up in the hospital on Saturday so after having dinner with my dad and his girlfriend, the three of us went to the hospital to see her. I had not seen her since Christmas (mostly her choice). My dad was surprised that I had actually listened to him, and gotten him what he asked for for his birthday. Hmm.. kind of a back-handed compliment I guess.

My dad is a very loyal son. When we got the the hospital, he washed his hands, checked in with the nurses, looked at grandma's monitor (numbers were high), and then went in and gently woke her up and made her more comfortable. He did exactly the right things. He is a man who really knows how to LISTEN, and does it much more beautifully than I do. I wish I had his magic.

I feel sorry that he spent Halloween and his birthday at the hospital, and really didn't get to enjoy his special day. My grandmother will be fine, and will return to the nursing home today or tomorrow. I'm standing by my belief that she has a few more years in her and will live to be 100 or 101. I don't think my dad always believes me.

I am grateful that my husband was willing to let me go for so much of Sunday. Between seeing my dad and doing the grocery shopping, I wasn't home much on Sunday. I think my husband had a bigger dose of one-on-one time with our daughter than he ever has on a weekend. I was grateful for the time off, and grateful for his support.

For what it's worth, we didn't see my mom over the weekend, but I did try to see her Sunday when I was out grocery shopping. I stopped at her apartment on my way to and from the grocery store, but she wasn't home. I left her a small bag of candy in her mailbox. I hope she knows it was from me. If not, oh well. Let it go.