I am a sucky daughter.
My mother and I have an odd relationship. She thinks we’re close, and is always trying to force intimacy onto me that I do not feel. We have a lot of history in this arena, and I will admit that a lot of the problem at this point is probably me – I just cannot, or will not, forgive. I don’t even know what it means to “forgive”, since to me it’s too wrapped up in the “forget” that usually comes after, and that, also, I cannot do. At its root is her drinking, and for anyone who has ever been in a close relationship with someone with a drinking problem, this encompasses so much. Much more than I could ever put in one post.
She called me this morning – we have a standing Sunday morning phone date, and have for as long as I can remember. The conversation started oddly, and she quickly confessed she was very tired from not sleeping well. She even sounded a little drunk, though I don’t think she was. A week and a half ago she decided she needed to join the 21st century and bought herself a new HD TV and upgraded her cable. This from a woman who doesn’t watch much TV. But she wanted to do it, and she has the money, so who am I to say she shouldn’t? I gave a little advice when asked, most of which was aimed at trying to save her money. She said she was going to have the store set it up for her and teach her to use it.
My mother is directionally challenged. Since I was old enough to read, I’ve been the one to read and follow instructions on any new purchase. When she bought a VCR many years ago I had to re-write instructions for her in “Mom English”. As she’s gotten older, she’s gotten, well, older. More entrenched in her ways, less open to anything new. Technology is a complete bewilderment to her. And most of it she has managed to avoid, and whether genuine or defensive, she acts proud of it. (P.S. She is not that old -will be 68 this year.)
So today when she called, she presented a “proposal” – she wants to pay me to set up her TV and teach her to use it. I am extremely irritated by this, and it shows. I want her to call the store that did the set-up and tell them she still doesn’t know how to use it and to send someone back. That she has already paid for this. She did not buy it from a chain store, but a local place that should be much more open to providing this service than a big box store. And according to script, she breaks down in tears and cuts the call short, much to my relief.
Which leaves me feeling guilty, of course. Why can’t I just help my mother use her new TV? Of course I wouldn’t actually take any money for it. For her part, I feel like she is looking for attention, playing helpless. For mine, she lives two hours away and the sleeping arrangements for me and my girls are less than ideal. And I just don’t like the idea of spending that much time with her. Not to mention all the activities the girls are involved with on the weekends.
Daughter of the Year — so not.