Friday, November 27, 2009

full of thanksgiving

I experienced my first Thanksgiving without my father and lived to tell about it...

The day was kind of tough at spots, after the food was prayed over and we all sat down to eat, my mom pulled an empty chair out from the table, as if she was preparing a place for someone to sit. It was awkward in the same way that it was for her to have a tea setting next to my dad's recliner in the living room (which I noticed has disappeared...I ignored it, but I do wonder where it went and mother got a new living room set, so I'm assuming the old recliner just didn't match...) Anyhow, no one sobbed or made a big deal out of anything, which I appreciated. We kept it lighthearted and joyful for the most part. My brother was plainly in some sort of mood...I'm not sure if it was sadness or irritation. He rolled his eyes on several instances throughout the afternoon...I'm not sure if his fiance had gotten on his nerves, or if he was hiding his sadness about my dad, if my mother was getting on his last nerve, if he was just irritated because dinner wasn't on the table until an hour and a half after it was supposed to be, or what. All of those things were kind of getting on my nerves honestly, but the Lady had kind of prepped me for it beforehand, reminding me to just be thankful for what and who I do have.

Speaking of being thankful, in the past I've always been able to rattle off a list of things that I'm thankful for while only mildly feeling truly thankful for it. But since losing my father, I have grown some genuine appreciation for people and things and the life that I live. I feel the pain that others feel when they comment about the holidays being bittersweet. I never truly tasted the bitter before this year. While my parents were divorced, I didn't love spending the holidays with one parent or another or having to divide up the time, but it was a piece of cake compared to this though. Some of my classmates from high school, a brother and sister pair, had to unplug their mother's life support this heart went out to them in such a way that I didn't know was possible. I thought about them all day, along with everyone else I know that's missing a parent. I know that a lot of people were raised up with just one parent for various reasons, but I have a LOT of cousins that don't have a father in their lives. I always said that I was thankful for having both my parents with me and around me, but never felt it like this. It's one thing to have had to lay a parent to rest when you're a small child or to be adopted by a lifelong single woman, but it's quite another to have to just live with the fact that your father elected to not be in your life. I'm beyond thankful for the fact that my father was in my life from the moment it started and never once opted out. Too many people don't have that reality...

The Lady reminded me this morning to be thankful for the fact that I even have my mother and she's so right. I definitely am thankful for my mother. But she can sure work a nerve. I honestly feel like she isn't happy unless she's telling me to do something. Whether it's hand her this, go over there and grab her that, put this in there and then put that in here, bring her some coffee, clear the table, find the baby's pacifier, help load the car, hand her her purse, help wash dishes. Every time I turned around, she was ordering me around. And it's like that every single time I see her. I was in high school the last time I lived at her house, but it's like she forgets that I'm not 12....every time we're together, she just orders me around. I get tired of it. Her sense of humor is a lil more serious than mine is and sometimes I laugh directly in her face about something that she's said or done and she gets offended. It gets on my nerves because it's not with evil intent that I'm laughing. Either it's genuinely funny or it's just a joke...but she gets so serious about it. Like brother accidentally left with my mother's car keys in his coat pocket. He discovered them and drove them back to her before she even realized they were missing. He gave us all a hug, then was like "I'm going to use the bathroom real quick before I go." He went to the restroom, then came back in the living room and said another round of goodbyes, then left the house for good. About 20 minutes later, I said something about him and my mom was like "be careful, he might hear you! He's in the bathroom!" as she nodded her head in the direction of the bathroom. My uncle and I just kind of looked at her, blank faces. She was tired, she's got a pretty decent level of stress in her life, and today was tough on us all...but she must have had some kind of serious memory lapse to have thought that he was still even at the house. She realized her error and I was like "ooooo you need an herbal supplement, your memory is goooone!" and laughed. My uncle laughed. My mom cut her eyes at both of us. It was a joke. Just playing around. But no, just so uptight all the time. She's very very stressed out right now. She's grieving my father, she's dating this new dude, she's dealing with the fact that my brother and I don't approve of her dating him and refuse to allow him to come to any events or anything, her siblings are in her ear telling her that it's her life to live and she's got to do what makes her happy, she's in college, my brother and his fiance expect my mother to be available to babysit a LOT, she owns and manages her business, she keeps her house spotless, she does all the wigs for the cancer society in our town, she's in NAACP, and she's active in her card club. I understand that it's a lot going on and she has every right to feel stretched in a lot of directions. I sympathize with her for that. But she explicitly told me the other day that she would wait until I tell her that I'd like to meet this new dude she's dating and that she won't try to time it or decide for me when it's okay to bring him around. But sure enough, this evening, she asked me if I thought I'd be ready to meet him by New Year's. I told her no and reminded her of what she said. I just couldn't believe it. It's one thing for friends and past loves to disrespect my feelings and hear me say one thing and then do the exact opposite, but it has some extra sting on it for my own mother to do it. And last weekend when I was home, I told her about the Lady. She just kind of nodded, didn't have anything to say. My mother is kind of childish in the fact that she'll often go tit for tat with a person. If you criticize her, she'll criticize you. I know that she didn't express any sort of interest or ask any questions or anything about who I'm talking to because I don't do that for who she's talking to. I'm not happy about who she's dating so she refuses to be happy about who I'm dating. It makes me sick, but that's her general attitude and it's been that way forever and I've seen her treat people like that over and over. I'm just generally unhappy with a lot of the ways in which she does things. But what am I going to do? She's my mother, I can't break up with her or just never call her again or keep her on text-only status or anything else you do with people that are purely optional in your life.

I need to work on my communication skills. This evening, the Lady and I had a communication breakdown that resulted in a long period of silence in which I was extremely confused and frustrated. Her being so kool about it helped diffuse it a lot, but I was still kind of salty, primarily at myself. The backstory is that there's a girl that added me on facebook one day and I wasn't sure who she was at all. We had some friends in common so I just figured that I knew her and just couldn't remember her, so I confirmed it. A few weeks later, she confessed that she'd come to my job several times in the past few months specifically to see my beautiful, personality-filled face but couldn't get up the nerve to approach me [stalker]. By this time, we'd become kool with one another, exchanging tweets and texts and whatnot and I didn't see much reason to terminate the budding actually developed. She's on a serious weight loss journey just like I am and she's got a lot of good insight and advice, she's hilarious, and there was a night that I had car trouble and she offered to help me when no one else did and AAA was taking too long. Anyhow, she just broke up with her girlfriend last week and she invited me to dinner and a movie for Friday and the way in which she posed the question implied that she would be paying for the night. I agreed and told her we'd confirm details early Friday, but I knew that I needed to run it past the Lady first...I respect the hell out of her feelings and wanted her opinion on the situation. This girl is obviously physically attracted to me, fresh out of a relationship, and wants to take me out for a night of datish activities. When I ran it down to the Lady and asked her if she was comfortable with it, she replied yes but that I should pay for myself. I was surprised that she was more concerned about who paid for my half of the night than about the fact that we were out doing these date-like activities together, just the two of us, in the first place. Instead of just double-checking that she was indeed comfortable with my spending the time with her and making sure to let Stalker know that I would be paying for myself, my ass asked what it mattered who paid. The Lady and I do have some different opinions on payment, but I did understand her position and I respect how she feels about it. And again, instead of just expressing that, I had to say something else. I don't even remember what exactly I said, but I ended up talking us in a circle and said some asshole things. I said that if Stalker wants to take me out and pay for me and think that we're on a date, then it's no skin off my back. Her perception of events doesn't matter. Two seconds before that, I'd expressed how I told Stalker that she'd been a blessing to me because of the help she offered and some of the experiences we have in common as big girls trying to diet. And then had the nerve to get defensive and sulk when the Lady called me deceitful. (and she's so classy and wonderful that she didn't even actually call me deceitful, she didn't even do it in some accusing or derogatory way, she just simply stated that it wasn't acceptable to deceive Stalker if, in fact, Stalker thought we were on a date.) It's not funny, but sometimes I just have to laugh at myself. Obviously, I was dead wrong on two accounts (probably more): I should have just listened to what she said and kept it moving AND I shouldn't have made those dickhead comments about Stalker. I shouldn't discount anyone's feelings about, it's wrong, and two, I'm quick to be crying if anyone discounts my feelings. Lord knows I damn near act like the Civil Rights Act got overturned, like some sort of personal injustice was done to me if anyone hurts my feelings. I know I got a lot of nerve. Just all the way around, from the front to the back, I know I was really trippin. And the Lady is just so smooth, she didn't even get mad. She was so super kool. And I know that she knows that I was trippin. She was so nice about it. (Or just didn't wanna take the time to really break down for me all the ways that I was actin up.) She probably just rolled her eyes and shook her head and went to sleep, if she even paid me that much thought. She's definitely somethin' else, just as sweet and as she wants to be. I don't know what I did to get so lucky to have her in my corner, but I'm super thankful.


SweetT said...

"...I definitely am thankful for my mother. But she can sure work a nerve. I honestly feel like she isn't happy unless she's telling me to do something. Whether it's hand her this, go over there and grab her that, put this in there and then put that in here, bring her some coffee..."

Wow, I can feel you on this point! My mama is exactly the same way!

I am glad your Thanksgiving went well. I am a new reader so I have some backtracking to do. I look forward to reading! :)

trinity2 said...

I'm with you on the feelings you have about your mother dating. My father did the same thing after my mother died. It was very difficult.

Black Girl Meets World said...

All caught up.

Now, Mom dating? I would be concerned for her dating someone so soon. She is definitely grieving and maybe it's a lil different than how children do it. Your brother has his own family, and you're doing your own thing. While I am not condoning the dating thing (I still think its super soon) I guess this is her best way of grieving? At any rate, she shouldn't take away from how you guys are grieving. Time, time time. And that's all I can say on this topic.

I like Lady. :) She makes me so very happy for you.

Um...that is all, lol.

E. said...

Soooooooo, how will you know when you're ready to meet 'new dude'? just asking because, I don't know, I kinda feel bad for your mom. You listed all the stress she has in her life right now and maybe 'new dude' is someone that makes her happy despite all else that's going on and you guys mean so much to her that she wants to share that with y'all. No one's saying you need to hug him or call him dad but would it be so bad to just share a meal with him for your mom's sake? I know you're all still hurting but this won't be about him, it'll be for and about your mom ya know? I think she deserves it.

Be careful about this stalker person.Don't voluntarily get yourself into what could potentially be a dangerous situation,even if it's all innocent now. Been there,Done that!

Anonymous said...

You obviously were mistaken