Mom’s Visit | Day 2

Hello, friends. I am so exhausted. My mom has been in Illinois for three days now, though we’ve been visiting for two, and I am already emotionally drained. The first day was nice. She got to meet Liam, and the four of us took a road trip, and we all caught up and whatnot (you can read about our first day here)… but yesterday, it was just my mom, Liam, and I… and it didn’t go as well as our first day.

WARNING: This will be a looong blog. Grab a drink, adjust your butt, and go pee now!

To be fair, it was a decent day. It could have been worse. Kyle worked 10-6, so it was literally just my mom and I all day, and I got zero time to myself, or any alone time with my son (which has certainly thrown us for a loop), because she wants to come over early in the morning, and I just don’t have the heart to say no, or make her wait. She came over about an hour before Kyle left, and we all just sat around, chatting politely, and playing with Liam’s blocks. After Kyle left for work, my mom asked if we could go to the park that Liam and I always walk to. I was hesitant, because it was very hot and sunny, and close to Liam’s nap time, but I slathered Liam in sunscreen and we drove there anyway.

Since Liam and I usually walk to the park, we get out of the stroller at the park, and he doesn’t really know the rest of the park. We parked in the parking area, pretty far from the playground. Liam started running away from me, so I grabbed Liam’s hand and said, “The playground is over here, bud.”

My mom then turned to me and said, “Don’t drag him, just let him lead the way.” But her tone… her tone, guys. Like she was scolding me. I ignored it, but it definitely put a damper on my mood. I don’t know why.

Once we finally got to the playground, Liam ran to the swing immediately. As usual, the rest of the playground was in the shade, except for the swing, which was in direct sunlight. I don’t like it, and try to limit his swing time, but it is his favorite. After a few minutes standing by the swing, my mom started complaining about the sun, and saying we should let him go down the slide. I told her that he really only likes the swing, and would fuss if I tried to get him out so soon. She stopped and returned to the shade of the tree.

A few minutes later, she came back and started trying to take pictures, but was getting frustrated because they weren’t coming out right, or Liam wasn’t looking at her… because he was on the swing. Eventually she gave up and went over to the playground, where she proceeded to repeatedly slide down the largest kid’s slide, screaming, “Wheee! Wooo! Yaaay!” at the top of her lungs, and urging Liam, who was still perfectly content in his swing, to come and slide with her.

It was so embarrassing. It reminded me too much of all the embarrassing moments I had endured in high school with her.

A little while later, kiddo gestured for me to take him out of the swing, and my mom thrust her phone at me, and tried to wrestle him into her lap in the grass so she could get a few pictures. He was not too happy about that. He was trying to push her away, but she wouldn’t let him go, and he eventually caved, and we were able to get a few nice pictures. I have told her a dozen times that he will warm up to her eventually, definitely before she leaves, but this was only the second day. He still doesn’t want her holding him, and he especially did not want her restraining him to her lap when he was trying to play. There will be plenty of opportunities to get pictures that won’t involve making him angry.

All day long, she just seemed so impatient with everything. I just kept thinking, you’ve had a child, remember? Do you not remember how toddlers are? Especially with strangers?

Then we went back home. Liam had his lunch, and went down for a nap, and my mom proceeded to drive me absolutely nuts with every word she said.

Me: Mom, I’m making coffee, do you want some?
Mom: Only if it’s already made.
Me: Well, I’m making some now, do you want some?
Mom: Um, well, I don’t want you to go out of your way.
Me: … I’m up. I’m making some. Do. You. Want. Any?
Mom: I mean, I guess…

YOU LOVE COFFEE. YOU ARE AN ADDICT. I AM OFFERING YOU SOMETHING THAT I AM ALREADY MAKING. WHY ARE YOU BEING LIKE THAT?

Then, instead of sitting in awkward silence for a few hours, I decided to put something on for us to watch.

Me: Do you want to watch something? What kind of shows to you watch?
Mom: I don’t watch TV, I’m too busy.
Me: Okay… what about movies? Want to watch a movie? Netflix has a million.
Mom: Oh, what about American Idol?
Me: Oh, no, they don’t have American Idol…
Mom: Oh… I don’t know then.
Me: Okay. Um, movie then?
Mom: I don’t know.
Me: Well, what movies do you like?
Mom: I don’t know.

She was acting like a pouty toddler, and it was getting frustrating, so I just decided on one of my favorite comedy specials. Everyone loves comedians, right?

Five minutes into the comedian’s special…

Mom: *sigh* She isn’t funny. I don’t like her.
Me: Okay… what do you want to put on then?
Mom: Nothing. I don’t know. This is fine.
Me: Fine.
Mom: *long sigh*

Silence.
*In my head* Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

Nothing has changed. She is the same as I remember 4 years ago, and 4 years before that. She thinks that everything she says or does is so damn bothersome, that she can’t have any opinions. Any time you say anything against her, even if it is in the politest way possible, she just shuts down, and she gets pouty, and then it becomes bothersome. She thinks you’re constantly angry with her, for no reason. She just can’t act… normal. It’s like we are constantly stuck as strangers, butting heads over everything and nothing, and going nowhere. We don’t even feel like family.

Anyway, we spent most of Liam’s nap in silence, except for when I tried to help my mom work her iPhone, which has been an absolute pain (I hate iPhones!) After about two hours of Liam’s napping, she started saying that she was getting impatient that he was still asleep. I already told her a dozen times that he naps for 2+ hours, but she just kept saying, “Wow, this is the longest nap ever…”

I eventually went in to wake him up, which he was not happy about, and we went to the mall to visit Kyle. She wanted to stop at Dunkin Donuts and get coffee, and something for Kyle and I. I told her I didn’t want anything, which set her off on a pissed off rant about how she brought hundreds of dollars that she wanted to spend on me, and it made her angry that I didn’t let her buy me everything, everywhere. So I told her I would get a smoothie, since that is really the only thing at DD that I like.

Guess what? They were out of yogurt. Yup. My mom was not happy with this at all, and said some snide comments about how, “that never happens at my Dunkin!”. I opted to not get anything, but she got a medium coffee… but then, she didn’t get cream or sugar in her coffee (she didn’t ask for any, she forgot, it was her fault), so went inside in a huff, and ended up getting a large coffee as an apology.

We got to the mall, just as Kyle was taking his lunch break, and the four of us headed to the play area, which was packed with kids, mostly over the age of 5. Almost all of them were too big (according to the height rules) to be in there, and most of them also had their shoes on, and were running around and being a bit reckless. Two moms actually left in a huff because their little ones kept getting bumped or knocked over by these bigger kids, whose parents were paying zero attention to them.

Liam was perfectly content standing by us, as he normally does when there is a lot going on, and watching the other kids. He loves it. He ventured out a few feet at a time, surveying the area, while Kyle told us about his day thus far. Then he had to go back to work, and we were back to three.

Then… this.

A family came in with two young girls, both about 6 years old, and a toddler boy. One of the little girls was in a motorized wheelchair, which she got out of once they were in the play area. My mom, who has zero filter on her mouth, or any idea what is and is not appropriate to say out loud, said the following:

Mom: I see a wheelchair, but there is no one in it.
Me: One of the little girls was in it.
Mom: One of those two in the dresses? They look fine to me.
Me: Just because she looks fine doesn’t mean there isn’t something wrong, mom.
Mom: I’m just saying, don’t spend all your money on a wheelchair like that if there is nothing wrong with your kid.
Me: You don’t know what’s wrong with her. Stop it.
Mom: What? I’m just saying. She looks fine.

Then she proceeded sip her coffee in silence. I was annoyed, and thoroughly embarrassed, because while I don’t think the girl and her parents had heard her, I was certain that other people had.

I cheered on Liam while he climbed around the play area, and my mom continued to sit in silence, watching everyone but her grandson.

The family with the girl in the wheelchair got their stuff together to leave, but as she were leaving, the young girl accidentally bumped another young boy with her chair. He was fine, and didn’t even cry, but her and her parents were very apologetic, even as the boy’s dad comforted them and told them it was perfectly fine. They were all smiles. Everything was fine.

Well, for them. My mom was upset about the whole thing, of course.

Mom: That wouldn’t have happened if they didn’t have their daughter in that unnecessary chair.
Me: Stop.
Mom: What?
Me: Just stop. That’s a very ignorant thing to say. It’s none of our business.
Mom: Fine.

Then we sat in silence, until I picked up our stuff, thoroughly frustrated, and proceeded towards Sears to say goodbye to Kyle. On our trek to the other end of the mall, we passed by several stores again, and she tried to force me to let her buy me stuff, when I had already told her when we passed by the stores the first time that they do not carry my sizes. She was not pleased.

I swear, I’ve had to repeat everything that I’ve said to her at least three times, and answer every question twice. I don’t know if she just isn’t paying any attention to what I’m saying, or she is forgetting it all immediately. Either way, it keeps making her angry with herself, which puts her in a worse mood.

We went to Subway for dinner, the first thing she agreed to eat all day, which was uneventful enough, but then we ended up going back to the mall afterwards, because my mom lectured me again on wanting to spend all her money on me. I tried to look for a pair of decent sneakers that didn’t cost a fortune, since I’ve had mine for years and they are totally worn out, but didn’t have much luck, which only seemed to aggravate her further. It feels like she has been upset with me for no reason on this entire visit thus far. We left empty handed.

She didn’t stay long after dropping Liam and I off back at the apartment, and I am trying to limit how much time we spend together today, because honestly, I think I need a break. I need some space. I politely told her that we could meet up later in the afternoon, after Liam’s nap, because I had some things to take care of. I haven’t cleaned anything in my apartment, or spent any alone time with my son, in days. I just want to sleep, and snuggle, and relax, and breathe.

Hopefully today is better… we’ll see.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

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Mom’s Visit | Days 0-1

Day 0:
Hello, friends. I had mentioned in a previous post that my mom was coming to visit me, and meet her grandson, for the first time ever. She was due to arrive in Illinois around 4:00 pm yesterday, and should have arrived to her hotel around 7:00 pm. We decided that she would not come for a late night visit, as Liam would already be in bed, and she would probably be tired anyway. The morning of her departure, I remembered that I hadn’t given her Kyle’s new number (my phone has been out of minutes for ages), and messaged her around 6:00 in the morning, well before she left for the airport. Unfortunately, my mom did not check her computer before she left, and did not know that she could check Facebook or her email on her new iPhone, and this created a few problems.

We waited around for a call or a text, and started getting worried once 8:30 pm rolled around, and we hadn’t heard anything. She hadn’t seen my FB messages, and I was worried she hadn’t seen my emails either. At 9:00 pm, I remembered that I could check her flight online, and discovered that she had been delayed in Detroit for 3 hours, and hadn’t even landed in Illinois until 8:07, much later than scheduled. She wouldn’t even be getting to her hotel until after 10:00. We waited some more, but never got a call. I assumed she just went to sleep. We watched several episodes of The Adventures of Merlin, which we just started watching Netflix, and then went to bed.

Day 1:
We woke up this morning and realized that we still hadn’t heard from my mom. Kyle decided to re-read the email that she had sent me last month, and discovered that she had actually given me her phone number, which I didn’t think I had. Kyle texted her, and we figured out our situation, and then we showered and got ready for her visit.

Her hotel is only a few minutes from us, so her drive was short, and then she was here. Kyle and I were nervous. Kyle had never met, or talked to, my mom, and didn’t know much about her. I hadn’t seen her in over 4 years, and our last meeting wasn’t the greatest. It went surprisingly well.

We greeted her, we exchanged hugs, and Liam cried immediately when she sat near him, which we expected. I gave her the birthday drawing that Liam had made her, as well as the card and bracelet that I had gotten her, and we took some pictures together. We decided to play with his Mega Bloks on the floor, and within minutes, he was building towers with his grandma. He warmed up to her quicker than most. We had some coffee, played some more, and decided that we should do something, so we went on a looong drive to the Fox Valley Mall, about an hour and 20 minutes away. Liam sat in the back with my mom, which made me nervous, because I thought he would get upset, but he was surprisingly comfortable, and even played with her for a while, before falling asleep. We stopped to eat lunch at Golden Corral, since my mom had never been, then continued to the mall.

We love walking around malls, especially when they are enormous. And this mall is enormous. Three stories, and massive. We forgot Liam’s stroller, since we were taking my mom’s rental, and it took us forever to find the rentable strollers. Once we did find them, it was smooth sailing, and Liam was much more behaved. We went into several stores, like Lane Bryant, Torrid, a gaming store, and a few others, and my mom tried to coerce us into letting her buy us everything we passed. We politely declined several times, and she finally stopped, but I know it will come up several times over the next few days.

After three hours walking around the mall, we left for home. The ride was uneventful, and we talked about Kyle’s job, my mom and her boyfriend’s plans to build a new house, and the future and potential moves for us. It was pleasant. We got back to our area, and stopped to get some dinner at Steak ‘n Shake, another first for my mom. Afterwards, we went to Target for a few things, and I got to see my good friends Aubrey and Lindsey, who were both working that night. I introduced them to my mom, and they got to see Liam, who was happy to see them as well, and proceeded to be an absolute little flirty ham. It was SO cute. Then we said our goodbyes, as it was almost bedtime for the kiddo, and came home.

My mom said some goodbyes, and we told her how to get to her email and Facebook on her iPhone, so that she could keep in touch better, and upload the pictures that she took today. My mom has been in the state for a day and a half, and I thought it would be terrible… but it has been surprisingly nice. Her questions and energy can be exhausting, especially when they are deeply personal, and we have been estranged for a while… but it was okay. She will be here until next Saturday, and I won’t always have Kyle with me for morale support, but I am hoping that it continues to go well.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

Daily Prompt 1/12/2016 | Some Things, A Clock Can’t Fix

Daily Prompt 1/12/2016 | If I Could Turn Back Time

“If you could return to the past to relive a part of your life, either to experience the wonderful bits again, or to do something over, which part of you life would you return to? Why?”

I’m a firm believer that you should try not to dwell on regret and what-ifs, because you can’t go back and change them…. but with that being said, I’m definitely guilty of it. Honestly, if I had the opportunity to go back, I don’t know that I would want to relive anything, or to change anything, for fear of changing the present. What happened in the past should stay there, and in my case, much of it was quite unpleasant, and I’d rather forget. High school was hellish, my family was a train wreck, and even after I left home, a lot of bad things happened… mixed in with a little bit of good. In the present, I have great fiance, who loves me, despite my many flaws, and a beautiful baby boy, who is the light of my life, even on days like today, when all he wants to do is scream.

But sure, I think about the what-ifs all the time, I just try not to dwell on them. What if I had been closer with my mom growing up? What if we told each other we loved each other more often? Would I have retreated to the internet, and given up on the world outside of the computer? What if I had never met my ex, Matt? Would I still have pushed so hard to go to college? Would I have left the country? Would I have dropped out? What if I had never moved to Illinois, and moved back in with my mom instead? Would I still be stuck in my hometown? Would I have ever fallen in love? Gotten engaged? Had a baby? Would I even be alive?

It’s mind-blowing.

But… I wouldn’t change anything. I suppose, the one thing that I dwell on the most, is my relationship with my mom.

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My mother and I were quite estranged for most of my life. Actually, almost all of it. She had a rough childhood, and I feel like her lack of a steady parental figure (she was bounced around several foster homes in her younger years before being returned to my grandmother, though she never told me why) partially attributed to her immaturity, and the distance between us. But she was hardly a bad mom. I always knew that she loved me, in her own way. She worked hard, put food on the table, clothed me, took care of me when I was sick, etc., but there was little warmth in our relationship as I got older. It got worse when she got into a relationship with an unsavory, abusive character (my now step-father, who isn’t such a bad guy anymore), and I resented her for it. On one occasion, I demanded that she put me up for adoption, which reduced her to tears.

As I got older, we grew more distant, sometimes going days without acknowledging each other’s existence. Things that I needed my mom for, she was unable to provide. We never talked about boys, or relationships, or sex, or birth control. We never talked about school, or my interests and hobbies, or the future. Nothing. Because of this, we know very little about each other. I think her lack of effort to reach out to me, or show any kind of interest, made me resent her more, and feel like she didn’t care about me. I acted out, made bad decisions, stopped caring about school, and retreated more into my little, online world than ever before.

She managed to come to my graduation, but left only minutes into it, because her boyfriend had a headache or something. She never saw me get my diploma, or my award that I had earned, and there isn’t a single picture for me to cherish and look back on from that day, aside from two or three snapshots of my friends in I in our caps and gowns during rehearsal. I even had to wait outside the school for a long time afterwards for her to pick me up. I was incredibly hurt and frustrated, and she didn’t understand why. I think that was when I made up my mind to leave.

I never talked to her about applying for college. I never talked to her about having been accepted into every school that I applied to. I never talked to her about buying a plane ticket to Missouri, so that I could visit my boyfriend (who I had met online), before we embarked on a 3-day road trip to Canada for college. One week before my flight, I asked her if she could bring me to the airport. I tried to act as though I didn’t care if she didn’t want to take me, but I was sad. I was 18, and old enough to know that if I left home, I probably would never come back. I don’t think she understood that.

I left home 8 years ago, and have only gone back once, in 2012, to surprise my mom for her birthday. It didn’t go well. After the first couple hours of hugs and tears, she was back to being the immature, passive-aggressive person that I had always known, and I ended up spending the last few days of my visit at my father’s.

Since then, I have had a son. My mom is now more a part of my life than she has been in many years. Well, my son’s life. This is her first grandchild, and despite the fact that the first year of his life is coming to fruition, she has never met him. She showers him with gifts from afar, and comments on his pictures on Facebook, but never really reaches out to ask about him. In fact, and conversation I try to spark with her ends in her rushing off with some excuse, sometimes right in the middle of a conversation. Closure was never our thing, I guess.

Maybe it’s just me? Maybe we are mutually to blame? I don’t know. I guess some things never change, but… maybe they should stay that way.

Thanks for reading.

Jan