Saturday, December 29, 2007

exhaling

It seems like I've been away much longer than four days.

I feel the need to say once again, unequivocally, I love my parents. Starting a post this way seems a bit like beginning a statement with "No offense, but..." Clearly whatever comes next will be insulting. And yet.

Being at my childhood home puts me in a difficult emotional place. In my grown-up real life, I don't much entertain adults who are often intentionally vague, deny their own needs, and/or indulge in passive-aggressiveness. (I add the qualifier "often" because I fully admit that on occasion I have muttered Fine when I'm really not and I have accepted the role of Martyr for A Day more than once). On a regular basis, that kind of behavior is jaw-clenchingly tedious at best, murderously aggravating at worst. When that behavior comes from one's own mother, it's easy to a) worry & fret that one might be headed that way and b) suppress screaming so hard that one's head is heavy with agony. Both are exceedingly difficult.

There seems to be some kind of hypnotic brain-bending that goes on in my parents' house. It's like the field of poppies in "The Wizard of Oz" - I walk in, happy to see everyone, it's Christmas! I love my family! Then my head starts to hurt and my vision gets fuzzy; I'm not a capable adult anymore. I forget to take off my shoes, I forget to have my kids take off their shoes; where are we putting our coats? - Oh dear! Who is talking so loudly? Why can't we turn off the TV now? How about now? No one can play outside because it's raining; we don't play in the rain here because it's too cold and there's mud. Please stop running, and lower your voices. You can't eat that because it's only for breakfast/later/someone else. Am I sure I want to wear this? Why do we have to go shopping/visit people/watch TV again? I can't think; everything is hard; I need to lie down for just a minute.

Ahhhhh. It's so much nicer here where I can say what I think & mean and people's feelings aren't hurt, or if they are, they say so. And then I can apologize and be sorry without guilt, or I can respectfully disagree. There is no gossipping about anyone's hair or clothes or bad habits. To be very fair, my mom is quite generous with us (almost too much so but then again, that creates guilt - why won't you take these things things things I bought for you?) and she has tried harder during the last few visits to offer excursions that don't involve going to a hundred stores for no real reason or stopping by acquaintances' homes unannounced just to say "Hi! Here is my daughter and son-in-law and grandson and granddaughter! They're from Portland!" (We're really not).

But it can still be so exhausting. I hold my breath for days, waiting to get back here for fresh air.

9 comments:

Mrs. G. said...

I'm going to suggest that next visit you pack a Ziploc bag of those poppies and chew on them before entering the family residence...they're said to have calmative properties.

I so get this post. I really do.

Linda said...

I am with you on this one sistah! Fortunately for me this was our year to visit my in laws, where I am not a whiny 12 year old, but an articulate adult. Next year however, it's my turn to take the bag of poppies OK?

bloginmyeye said...

I knew we must be secretly related.

Lisa Milton said...

I don't know when or how, just yet, but we may have to have a debriefing.

I am weary too.

stephanie said...

Thank you, fresh air friends. My brain feels better already...

brandy101 said...

omg, and here I was today, stewing about my Christmas visit, which sounds eerily like yours!

I feel so much better knowing I/we are not alone with these sorts of issues!!!

Happy 2008!

katydidnot said...

this may well be my favorite post you've ever written. it's prefect. now breathe. your words made me feel.

Kat said...

Wow. This was me, just last night, " suppress screaming so hard that one's head is heavy with agony." with my super social mother. She was angry. She was saying she was fine. My poor little sister has to live with that but at least she has me to tell her its not her - and I can tell my mom she's being passive agressive, just like Grandma, and that snaps her out of it for 10 mins or so. Breathe breathe breathe!!!!!

Shanon said...

love this my friend....you know I have a mother just this way.....my sympathy....wait, I have a mother just this way.....ugh!

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails