Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Put On A Happy Face

ARRGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! My mother is driving me crazy!!! What else is new? I thought we had this move to Florida all sewn up. But deep down I thought it was all too easy, and it was. My mother seems to have decided she couldn't bear to live with my sister because she thinks she would be used by my niece and nephew as a free babysitter. This came about after she'd invited both of them to visit her at the same time with their lively little girls. If you're not used to having young children around, four of them under the age of 7 at the same time is a bit much.

How much my niece and nephew have used her as a babysitter is up for debate. I emailed my sister to give her the heads-up on what's happening. She emailed back to say she'd warned my mother about having the girls all at the same time, and that apparently my mother had only been left with one of them once. Also, my mother has apparently been talking to her twin sister, who doesn't want my mother to move closer to her own children. No, my aunt wants my mother to live with HER children. I don't know why.

But this is my mother. She is such a Gemini (and I don't mean to offend Geminis. I love Geminis. My son is a Gemini). But they change their minds so often. She has, through the years, gotten us all riled up about whatever and then backs down when we try to get her to take action. It's very frustrating. Presumably, she's done this with her sister as well. Last year when my mother was visiting my sister, she had not quite a heart attack, but the beginnings of congestive heart failure. She was extremely swollen and bloated and couldn't breathe properly. My sister got her to a dr. who took her off the statins she'd been prescribed off-license for her tremor. The statins weren't for cholesterol; she doesn't have high cholesterol. They caused the wheezing and breathing problems. She had to stay longer than planned. Her sister phoned my nephew and said if they didn't let my mother go, she was going to get the sheriff to come and set her free. Yes, really. Now, what sort of conversation prompted that response?

So she's gotten all of us upset on her behalf and trying to come up with a plan of action to improve her living conditions. And she doesn't want it. I'm tempted to just leave her to it. The bottom line is she moved away from us all those years ago. She had the mental breakdown and got addicted to the sterazine which made her a zombie. She moved closer to her sister. She wants to be near her sister more than she wants to be near us. She puts barriers up to prevent us from getting too close. We are not perfect children, but we aren't awful children either. When she put out the call for help, we responded. I think it's very generous of my sister to want to open her home to my mother. However, two of my (grown) nephews and one of their children live with my sister. It's not a perfect situation. My nephew's little girl has problems because her mom (from whom my nephew is divorced) took drugs and drank while she was pregnant with her.

While I'm out there, I will try once more to get my mom to see a lawyer, assess her financial situation, do what I can. And then I will try no more, and they can take her out of that house in a box if that's what she wants. I am weary of all this. I hope my children never feel the frustration, anger, disappointment, betrayal, and rejection that my parents have caused me (because my dad is whole other kettle of fish).


laurie said...

ai yi yi. i feel for you. my mother moved out of the family home the day my dad died and never looked back. grief? maybe. liberation? more likely.

it's hard when they behave in ways that seem irrational to us, especially when we are growing more responsible for their well-being.

good luck to you. would it be ok for her to live near her twin, rather than with your sister? or would she get pressed into babysitting her sister's kids?

it's a tough one. but there's only so much you can do. advise, help, encourage.... but she still gets to choose.

Kelly said...

YOu are doing the right thing. Parents are no easier to deal with than children and are in many ways less manageable...fingers crossed for your trrip!

J said...

Oh, dear.

You are such a good daughter to keep trying to help and do the right thing - but it is true that one can only do so much. I can imagine the frustration.

I have no advice - I have only issues with my own mother and those would start to play into anything I might try to say - and you don't need *that*! So I'll just say good luck and hang in there and all that. A glass of wine might be appropriate, too.

When do you go there and how long will you be there?

Lizzie said...

Oh dear, I do so feel for you. I, too am a Gemini & suspect that my own offspring can't quite pin me down enough but I'm not sure what I can do about that. I do think that you needn't feel any guilt at whatever stance you may take. And try not to work yourself up into knots about your mother. Do let us know what transpires...

Lizzie x

DJ Kirkby said...

Oh my goodness! How frustrating! It sounds like you are doing all the right things though, thinking of you..and of your poor mom who must be feeling so confused.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Laurie: The thing is my mother thinks her twin wants her to move in with her so she can wait on her (my aunt has always been the dominant twin). And my aunt HATES my dad and doesn't think much of us either. Also, she's always trying to get my mother to give any heirlooms to her kids, rather than us. One of my cousins, who I like a lot, actually gave back a dish my mother had given her.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Kelly: Once again thank you for being so encouraging.

J.: We leave the UK on Friday and arrive in Wyoming on Saturday, which is the day one of my cousins is getting married and my bossy aunt thinks we should be there.

Lizzie: Thanks and I will let everyone know once I know something.

DJ: I never think of my mother as being confused, but she must be, mustn't she.

Anonymous said...

I assume you're appreciated. You have a lot of worrying there and I think you are a wonderful daughter. Your mum is lucky to have you. You can only do so much before you have to back off and leave her to it. Take care and I'll be thinking of you.

Crystal xx

BSkove, Publisher said...

Wait a minute! You just described my mother: My mom is a Gemini, shares all the traits you described (tho come on, admit it, you left some out) but she was in Akron, Ohio this past week! Could we possibly be sisters but with different fathers? Because I'm sure we share the same mother. and (to further elaborate on our similarities - I'm in my early 20's, yet saddled with a mid-40's bod!
"J" is right - a glass (or two) of wine sometimes helps. As does a sense of humor, a loving child or two, and an understanding spouse.

lady macleod said...

Now I, have a headache and I don't even know the woman. Post like this make the whole not-having-parents-thing feel quite good I must say:-)

You are being splendid. Please don't forget to acknowledge that. I think you and the sister should have a sister's weekend in Monaco. I hear the King is at loose ends....

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

CJ: Thanks very much. More on this to come.

bskove, publisher: Welcome. How nice to find a long-lost sister. Are you also a Capricorn? My sister and I are and we both collapse in despair sometimes at our mother.

Lady M: Please don't let me be the source of any more headaches for you. Yes, Monaco would be nice, and I believe Albert quite likes Americans.

Stay at home dad said...

Kelly is right I think. Unformed kids are a doddle compared to dyed in the wool parents.

Your last sentence rings very true for me too.