Call Your Mother

Some Saturdays fly by, but it doesn't help when I don't crawl out of bed until just after noon. I try to resist planning for things to happen on Saturday, because it is my only explicitly unstructured day of the week, and I enjoy not giving that up. As a result, I generally plan to do all the things I don't tend to plan to do. I can't think about that too hard without falling into a feedback loop of hand-wringing.

I've put off laundry for days, and the food production aligned itself so fresh bread and fresh hummus happened at the same time. The sky is pressing a slow, drenching cold rain onto the earth, and my mother sent me a text declaring herself as having a couch potato day. I don't understand how anyone can purposely have a couch potato day, because there are few things that agitate me more than sitting in front of a television for more than ten minutes.

My father flew to China to spend a few weeks with his family, and my mother asserted that this means I have to call and text and email her so much more because he's out of reach. If she wanted to claim that she was lonely and needed the contact, I would have been less annoyed about the request, but it was bundled with her anxieties of getting robbed, slipping in the shower and hitting her head, or having a stroke on the kitchen floor. Given that she lives a five hour drive away, I'm not sure how sending her a text message every day would allow me to prevent those things from happening to her. In any case, within the first day that she was left alone, she used up all of the minutes on my phone plan for the month telling me about her grocery shopping.

I wonder what she did for the two weeks when my father and I were both in China. I'm conflicted between wanting to give her the support she desires and wanting to believe that she's not so emotionally helpless that she can't deal with being in the house by herself for a little while. I'm conflicted between letting myself get stressed out for two weeks so my mother is less stressed out, or taking care of myself by not allowing her to monopolize my energy when she requests hour-long phone calls every day.

And I'm sad that there are two states that cannot exist in harmony. Either my mother suffers, or I suffer.

29 March 2014 16:03

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