My mother and aunt are driving me nuts…Bringing up my Ex; being mean to the waiter; and fucking old pet names…Fuck, and they just brought up religion and how I don’t call enough. – my texts to a friend during my Mom’s special day
It is a cliche to say that parents drive their adult children crazy. It just so happens, in my case, to be true.
I met up with my mother at 2:30pm Sunday. It was Mother’s Day, therefore a nice meal and a movie were required. After picking up my Mom’s friend, a woman I call my aunt, we headed off to a seafood restaurant they both love.
As is predictable for a weekend holiday, the place was packed. We arrived around 4pm, but didn’t get seated til after 5. They wanted to wait; I just wanted to eat.
My aunt passed the time reading her Bible. My mother got into a conversation with a woman. I stood around, pacing slightly, trying to get my mind off my stomach. Eventually I pulled out a book, which helped a little.
As we waited for the buzzer to go off, I tried to be the good daughter. The whole day, of course, was about me playing that role.
When we finally were seated, our waiter cracked a joke “informing us” the restaurant was out of crab cakes, their claim to fame. Bad call later, we ordered and waited a little more. Our salads and bread came out, as well a Margarita I ordered, and suddenly everything was better.
Even so, as we finished up our appetizers, my mother complained to myself and my aunt, wanting her entree immediately. I said nothing as I noticed how hard the wait staff was working, how they quickly got butts into seats, served their customers, but also helped one another. The restaurant was dancing over fire but not getting burned. I was impressed; my mother was impatient.
Our conversation veered to politics. My aunt and I often speak on the subject. The presidential race came up, as did the North Carolina Constitutional Amendment.
I then found myself going off on a tirade, saying how upset I was. I talked about how gay marriage has nothing to do with religion. How marriage, when it comes to the state and most of history, is a legal contract. How gay rights is about civil rights, trying to protect partners from vengeful families, keeping children with the parents they know and love, making it so no one can discredit another’s life.
My aunt talked about how her mind changed on gay marriage.
My mother was noticeably silent.
As the waiter cleared our appetizer plates, my mother asked for her gift. It was the usual, a gift card to her favorite makeup store. She had insisted, as per usual, that I also buy her a greeting card. My mother loves them; I hate them. To me they are a waste of paper.
As I handed over her card, I remembered how I hated picking it out. I read sentiment after sentiment and thought how much I didn’t feel the bullshit written. I found one that didn’t nauseate me and bought it.
When our meals came, I inhaled my food. I had ordered a smaller portion than both my mother and my aunt, not wanting to have leftovers. I finished all my food before them.
As I sat and waited, I knew I had no desire to see the movie they’d chosen, Think Like A Man, a Steve Harvey (read: black) film.
On a cultural level, I am pleased that someone besides Tyler Perry has put out a film for the black audience. Still, though, I knew it would be two hours of pandering to black cultural norms, not to mention I’ve heard Steve Harvey’s thoughts on women and relationships. We differ, greatly.
As the check came, I paid. My mother and aunt gave me some cash to go towards the not small bill. As we left out, it was decided we would not, in fact, see the movie. My aunt had to be to work at 11pm and it was already 6:30pm. By the time we drove her home, it was after 7.
As we parted, having already set another date for the three of us getting together, a promise was made. We are to see the movie then. Great…
I drove my mother home. We hugged, as we are both huggers, and parted.
The whole time I was with my mother, all I wanted to do was scream. But I didn’t.
I really wanted to talk to her about therapy, about the progress I’ve made, and how I think she could benefit from counseling. But I didn’t.
I didn’t want to tell her she taught me love is being someone’s doormat. I didn’t want to say that I never want to be like her, loving a man who could not give the life I wanted or deserved. I didn’t want to say how angry I am at the both of them, how part of my progress is acknowledging my anger at their fuck ups, how I now recognize the massive effects their fuck ups have had on me.
But I didn’t say any of that because it was Mother’s Day.
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