I was excitedly packing for my two day get away with my fiancé. It had been a month at his new job and the days off he had received were pretty nonexistent so when he told me on Saturday that he had Sunday and Monday off we had to act quick. Cannon Beach, OR here we come. We were about an hour away from leaving and that is when I received what seemed to be a friendly text from my mom, “ Hey, hope you had a good week, just thought I would say hi”. In a normal family this would be a wonderful thing to get or I guess normal message to receive from your mother. In my life though it usually meant she wanted to know if I was having fun without her. I knew she didn’t really care.
I hadn’t talked to her since last Monday, which wasn’t common for us. Until recently I would at least text her every day to make sure I asked how her day was, how she was feeling, and when she wanted to see me or needed anything. Lately though there hasn’t been much of a break in between the fighting and our silence treatments were lasting longer. I would hold out even longer If I could but unfortunately she usually is the one that breaks first and I have no choice but to deal with it. I’m sure everyone has seen that toddler throwing a fit in the middle of a grocery store isle, trying to get their mother’s attention, well, that toddler would be my mom whenever she wasn’t getting her way.
So I replied, “ Good, long and slow week at work, saw a friend I haven’t seen in a few years on Thursday and today I’m packing up to go camping in OR for a night while Rick has the time off. We tried for four like I told you but only got two, two will do. How was yours? What you up to today?”
The conversation was going good so far but I had that sinking feeling that all it would take was one wrong word before I would hear the eggshells cracking under my feet.
She said, “Kickin it…gonna BBQ at the river later, taking the dog.” I told her how much fun that sounded and to send me a picture.
“Well why don’t you stop by and say bye?” it was no more than a second later that she replied to herself, “ Never mind.” As if I was trying to argue with her about it, as I started my reply another one came in, “ You could at least say Hi more often” another second later, “ We are done aren’t we? No more family huh? Bye Nic” finally she ended it with “ Have fun”.
I told her that we would come over and I didn’t understand why she immediately had said never mind. This was normal for us and there were times I wish she was never handed a cell phone that she could text with because her obsessive behavior barely gave me time to reply. When I finally got mine through she was calling….
I answered the phone immediately and was polite trying to keep this on a calm and normal path. There was a slight awkward silence after I was trying to act normal.
“Why do you hate me?”
She said this out of nowhere like I had been screaming it at her or something. Then she started bawling and every other word was coherent. It had only been four days and she was crying that I never see her. I asked why she didn’t come over last Sunday or Monday when I had asked and she came up with multiple excuses, they were busy, she can’t make it up my stairs, then finally, my fiancé makes her uncomfortable. Three different excuses in no less then fifteen minutes. She has stairs, she makes it up them fine so why was coming over to my place any different? My fiancé that she said made her feel so uncomfortable always talked to her, always put a smile on his face and pretended everything was fine, would cook for my parents, give them money, fix their car…. the list continues, yet he made her feel uncomfortable. I told her she was being ridiculous on that subject. I asked her why she didn’t ask how my day was. Honestly I was getting tired at almost thirty having to be the one that thought of everybody. It would be nice if just once in a while one of my parents would think of me to ask how my day was. Simple for most but it would mean the world to me.
She didn’t ever have an answer to my questions and in between the gargles and reasons that didn’t make sense she finally handed the phone off to dad and said she couldn’t do this anymore she had to get out of there, meaning moving somewhere. Dad started to talk to me and ask what was wrong but I didn’t have an answer for him, I didn’t even say anything to her before she blew up and said she couldn’t take it. I begged him again for help with her and started to cry at this point. My father has raised me since I was three and a half, I had always been there for him and I really needed him but all he could say was sorry and that maybe we will talk a little later. He started to hang up when I heard my mom say in the background, “ You will never talk to her again!” Click.
Okay. Not sure how to react to that. I cried for a minute but made sure it wasn’t too long, I didn’t want her to suck me into that unhappiness hole, I was getting ready to go have a good time. So I wiped my eyes and got up to pack some more. The phone rang again…
“Can we stop?” she asks.
“Stop what? The fighting? Of course…”
She continues on how she doesn’t know how to fix us. I told her how to fix us, she needed to seek professional help, get on SSI so she could get the care she deserved. That got nowhere though and she just begged for us to come over before we left. I asked if she knew that meant Rick would be there and now all of a sudden that was just fine, she didn’t have a problem with him. So I hung up and I turned to my guy and he already knew. He agreed to go over there and put on his happy face, he grabbed a movie he knew she would like to give her, and took everything down to the car for us. I loved that man.
When we arrived, before we entered her apartment we knuckle bumped and gave each other a kiss for good luck. He truly was the best partner I have ever had, dealing with my mom is not something just any man can deal with. We started walking up stairs when we heard, “ He makes me uncomfortable” and mom shut her bedroom door with her country music turned up. Are you serious? She JUST said it was fine for him to be there. He just gave me that squeeze that it would be okay and we continued up stairs. My dad greeted us, he was just sitting in his chair playing a video game. He told us mom was just getting cleaned up, even though we knew that was a lie, we just heard her say she didn’t want to come out with my fiancé there. So we visited awhile and about thirty minutes went by and she still hadn’t come out so I went to her. When I opened the door her bedroom was dark, she had the lights off and the curtains drawn. I wanted to ask her if someone died but I knew that would be inappropriate.
She looked frail and weak, which was because she had exhausted herself with the drama and the tears. I sat next to her and we started to talk. She informed me she didn’t want to get on pills, she couldn’t be helped by a counselor, and that I should just be coming over more. I asked about SSI again because she can’t afford the care now but that would help get her care. I have been bugging her about applying again probably every month for the past year. That’s when she snapped and informed me she tried two other times and both denied. She didn’t have the denial letters to show me though, I knew she was lying. At this point I admit I was kind of a smart ass.
“Oh, I am sorry. Why didn’t you tell me six months ago when I was drilling you about it? Now I feel like an asshole. I apologize I just wanted to see you get help and get what you deserved but if you did it already and got denied, then you are 100% right, applying again will do no good.”
I said this while looking her straight in the eye to see if she would confess to lying but instead she stared blankly at me and just said it was alright. She never let something like that go that easily without going into more detail. She then wanted to know why I was so different. Why I showed no emotion. Which wasn’t true, my eyes were watering but I was sucking it up because any sign of weakness she thrived on.
”You know why I don’t cry anymore Mom? I remember bawling before and getting slapped and told how much of a drama queen I was, so that is why I do not cry anymore, I am protecting myself”
I couldn’t believe those words came out of my mouth but they must have been waiting for quite some time to come out. There was silence for a minute on her end but then she started talking again like she didn’t hear what I had just said. Figures. Once again she wanted me to know this was a goodbye, like every time we talk. She was moving to Spokane with her sister, she couldn’t take it here anymore. She hates it over there so I told her she would only be punishing herself. That’s when she changed it to Chehalis possibly. Then who knows. She wanted to see if I would get upset at the thought of her moving away. I didn’t. So then she asked again why I hated her. She had asked that I counted, at least ten times within our conversation. I told her to stop, I didn’t hate her, If I did I wouldn’t talk to her anymore and I wouldn’t be there sitting in her room trying to solve our problems, again. This could go on for hours and I really didn’t have that much time. Finally I told her to just come out and try and say hello to everyone before we have to leave. At first it didn’t seem like she would but she followed me out soon after.
To be dramatic she put a chair facing away from Rick near her living room wall. She could only see Dad and she could turn to see me if she wanted. Rick handed her the movie and asked if she had that one. She didn’t so she accepted it. He got her to talk about her favorite author’s movie’s, Stephen King and that’s all it took, she lightened up and started talking. They didn’t ask what we were doing or seemed to care but she wasn’t mad at the moment and actually talking to us, so we stayed. A good hour went by when we had to head out and stop at his mother’s for minute just to drop off a coupon. The minute we mentioned that and gave our hugs goodbye you could tell she was instantly upset again, because we knew once again, it wasn’t enough.
We got out of there and practically ran to our car. The sad part was when we arrived at his mother’s house she greeted us with open arms, hugs and kisses. We hadn’t seen her in probably four to five months but she didn’t care, get upset or try and make us feel bad. She joked it had been a couple years but that was it. She mentioned how great I was looking, since I have been losing weight, and was proud of Rick for his new job. So much love from that women and Rick hadn’t done anything for her lately or even seen her. So this is what unconditional love looks like I thought. I wanted to cry. You really don’t know how bad it is till you are around someone that is normal. You get used to the chaos and the negativity that being around someone so understanding seems weird. We couldn’t stay too long since we had a few hour drive ahead of us but she didn’t make us feel bad for it, she thanked us for the time we were there and we planned on seeing her soon after that. That was a mom I would visit regularly if she was mine. I try and see mine once to twice a week, she would prefer every day and honestly if she was sweet and caring I would probably give her just about every day but not when I get put down the entire time I am there, who wants to be around that? I didn’t even really feel bad for myself that day I felt worse for my fiancé. He had to hear her say how uncomfortable she was around him and that really hurt him. He goes out of his way, more for them then his own parents. So I could tell that may have been a last draw for him and I didn’t blame him one bit.
I was glad we were headed out of town, we really needed this. Every time we were able to escape it was like a piece of Heaven, and although I wished we could go far, far away, Oregon would do, it was at least a whole state away from her.