Oy Vey

I’m not jewish – I not any religion actually – but this expression seems to perfectly describe today’s topic.

Today is my mother’s birthday.

I don’t like my mother very much.  But, as a dutiful daughter I am taking her out to lunch.

My mother was, by her own admission a difficult child.  My grandmother was the spoiled baby daughter in her family.  My grandmother was ill prepared for managing a household and raising a child.  Then there were two more daughters and things got worse for my mom.  She was sent off to boarding school.  Quite a feat since this is Canada and boarding schools were few and far between (unless you were native – but that is another topic completely).  The boarding school was 3 hours away from her home – certainly not very conducive to weekend visits.

In her teen years, my mother partied, got pregnant, had a shotgun wedding and quickly found herself with 2 children by the time she was 20.  Given her virility, my dad got a vasectomy.

My childhood was marked with lots of parties.  Waking up in the morning and finding people passed out all over the house.

Alcohol was my parents’ drug of choice.  They would start drinking as soon as they walked in the door after work.  Drinking and driving was common.  I realize now that both my parents are alcoholics.  High functioning alcoholics, but alcoholics nonetheless.  When I introduced my ex to my parents he accepted the drink my father gave him. And the next drink and the next one.  By the fourth drink (rye and ginger) he came to the realization that he could not keep pace with my dad and learned to sip or alternate between soda and a ‘drink’.

My mother is very critical.  All in the guise of being helpful.  She points out when I gain weight but never when I lose weight.  I must not have oiled the truck since it has so much rust.  G (as a baby) is crying a lot is she ok? Is this a new recipe – it tastes funny.  Boys are so much easier to raise. I often confronted her on all her negative comments and was told that I was simply being too sensitive.

I’ve tried over the years to develop and maintain a relationship with my mother.  Even after she outright told me that she didn’t like my toddler daughter very much.  My daughter was always (and still is) very attached to me.  She didn’t want to go to her grandmother – ‘she smells [of smoke]’.  I’m sure G could sense her grandmother’s disdain for her.  On one visit my mother brought a gift for my son, but not for my daughter.

Still, today I shall take her out for lunch.  I’ve taken stronger meds so that her comments can float past me and disappear in the wind.

And when I get home I will be grateful for the love of my kids and my friends.

And I will hug a tree.


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