Saturday, December 1, 2012
I have started, stopped, re-started, deleted, re-written and completely killed this blog four times or more. I started writing about the new change in mom and then I started thinking about the ways I've been changing. Adapting, I guess, is the best word. I don't want to paint anyone in a bad light. But I promised honesty and I will be honest, even if it makes me cry.
The week started off good but ended a bit rough. Each day is a bit different and that's okay. I can roll with the punches with the best of them. I've worked in the mortgage field, childcare, retail, banking, customer service in a call center .... I know that no two days are ever alike. I've been fired and laid off, had my heart broken by the man I thought would be my forever, lost friends due to differences of opinion or lack of contact, am having my house foreclosed on and lost my best friend/big brother 5 years ago. I've lost myself along the way and I have found the real me in the process. I can handle whatever comes my way, I am a survivor.
On Friday we were putting the Christmas ornaments on the tree. I was handing them over to her and letting her put them where she wanted. We were singing along to Bing Crosby's Christmas CD and reminiscing about the stories behind each ornament. We took a break for lunch and all was well. She was silly and gentle. She was cracking me up. After lunch we finished the tree and I went down to take a nap. When I got up, she asked when we were going to the Post Office, I said "No, not till later." And then it happened... BOOM!
Mom's mood swings can happen like a freak lightening storm on a beautiful summer day. BOOM from silly to bitchy. BOOM from sassy to tears. BOOM from gentle to MEAN. And I don't mean sarcastic mean, I'm talking the kind of mean that slices my defenses. The kind that makes me turn or walk away so she doesn't see me cry. And yes, I know it's the disease ruling her. But let me give you a history lesson....
When I was 16 my mom found a note in my jeans pocket while doing the laundry. This note was one I'd been passing back and forth during my social studies class. For a 16 year old note, it was tame... my friend and I had been rating the attributes of the males in our class. And we rated on a scale of 1 to 10 if we'd sleep with said male. No biggie. Not that uncommon for a girl of 16 to talk about. But holy hell my mom BLEW! She screamed at me for over an hour. In that hour I found out what she thought of me. I will never forget being told that I was a slut (I was a virgin till 18), that I was no better than a common working girl, that I was useless as a woman and that she hated me because she didn't raise me to "rate" men or to be a piece of trash. This wasn't the first time I'd heard that my mom hated me. And it wasn't the last. She has always known what words would draw the most blood and get me to tow her line.
So while the disease can bring her to tears and make her a bitch at the drop of a hat- the mean has always resided in my mom. I have come to understand her childhood better as I've grown up. The rose colored glasses of my childhood have been removed and the grandfather I thought was gentle and loving was not always that way. I have learnt from others what her life really was. She was raised by an alcoholic father and a mom who followed the rules set by her husband. Her anger came from her father. And I used to have no handle on mine, but that’s another blog. I forgave her years ago. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to be on this journey with her. God gave me the fortitude to forgive and I am grateful he did.
That being said, I hate the mean in her. And when she's frustrated or not getting her way, the mean rears its head. Sometimes it's aimed at Dad, but mostly at me. On Friday, that mean came whipping out. She commented on my being overweight, that I can't keep a man and that I'm a rotten daughter because I only want to keep her locked up in the house. She was lashing out at me because I answered her question wrong. And I know her mean streak will get worse as time goes by. I will need to stiffen my heart to it. But right now, it doesn't make it sting any less. Those are the days when I reach out to you- my readers, my supporters- for strength. Because I am not a teenager anymore, and telling her to go fuck herself isn’t the answer. Stomping away in anger or letting my mean streak fly isn’t going to help either.
My relationship with my mom has never been what some mother-daughter relationships are and should be. I never counted my mom as my best friend. I typically didn't confide in her. That may be why at times I get frustrated now, because what I would say to my dad (who I do consider one of my best friends) I can not say to my mom. From my teen years on, I confided in my dad. My mom and I don't have that built in language. Dad and her do... after 44 years (45 on Jan 6, 2013), she can look at him and say one random word and he knows what she's talking about. I know it's why she gets frustrated with me. I don't know her inside and out like he does. I lived three states away for the last 5 years. I talked to her daily, but not about things that mattered. Now, I talk to her daily about things that matter to her. And I'm learning her language.
I moved to Colorado on 9/7. It’s been almost three months. I'm adapting every day. I have learnt that if mom misses General Hospital her day is "off". I have seen that routine is very important. I am changing how I speak to her and with her, about her to dad when she's present- she gets insulted very easily. I am realizing that some days she cannot stand to see me on my phone checking FB or texting. I have learnt how to "hide" it from her on those days so that I can still be there for my loved ones. Other days, she wants to know what my family and friends are saying. She loves hearing about Logan over at the "Crumb Diaries". She laughs at the things "The Apocalyptic Ginger Chronicles" posts.
She's changing every day. And so am I. I'm becoming gentler with her. I am learning to not use the word "NO" in any sentence if I can say "we'll do that later" or "how about we do this" instead. The word "NO" even if it's an innocent "no that doesn't go there" is one of the words that can cause the BOOM to happen. I am developing patience, (it's about time!) with her and myself. Most importantly, I'm adapting to this disease and the journey it's put us on.