Thursday, April 26, 2007

What is that cat thinking?*

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. - Mark Twain.

To which i utter a resounding "BULLSHIT!" Violets don't really have a fragrance, and furthermore, what does this mean about the fragrance of dog shit on the heel of the one who stepped in it? Does the dog shit forgive me??? (And yes, i know those are lilacs, not violets.)


So what am i on about? I had lunch today with my mother and the Mister isn't home yet so you get to hear about it.

I am uncomfortable around my mother. I don't really trust her. I don't even like to look her in the eye. Do you know how hard it is to avoid eye contact with someone sitting across a booth from you?

At lunch, she told me that she thinks i have done a really good job being Em's mom, and that she wishes she had been as good a mom as i am. Of course my (snarky) thought was "I wish you had too."

Is there some reason now that she is almost 80 and i am almost 50 that she finally is deciding to be reflective about how she has lived her life and treated the people around her? Why now? Why involve me? Yikes!

It's just too late for me. I am too old and set in my ways to change this relationship. And i don't want to and you can't make me. See how mature i am about this? *stamps large foot* I will reflect maturely on this later, when i feel less creeped out.

*why won't she stop fussing around with that camera and let me in?


Anonymous said...

Oh, I know EXACTLY what the cat is thinking: "DAMMIT! I'm STILL on the wrong side of the door!!!" At least, that's what MINE are always thinking....

You have lilacs already?! Damn, Girl! Where do YOU live?!

I don't have to worry about being on the receiving end of the mother-daughter thing. I literally divorced my biological parents when I was 17 (I got a lawyer and everything) and, after (foolishly) trying to establish a healthy relationship with them, finally and permenantly cut ties after Punkin' was born. I just couldn't subject my own precious babies to their brand of abuse, and I wouldn't allow my children to see me let myself be treated like that.

It was, without a doubt, the smartest thing I've ever done and I don't regret it for a moment.

Anonymous said...

You sound like you had a disconcerting lunch with your mom. Disconcerting, because she didn't behave as you thought she would.

I don't know what the history is between you and your mom but I do know that you're never too old and too set in your ways to change. So there!

I think it's good that she's actually reflecting on her life, not everyone does that. And it was a lovely compliment she gave you, and I'm sure you are a wonderful mom.

So can you forgive her for being less than perfect and you're probably thinking, less than perfect is somewhat of an understatement?

And one more point. You are an example to your daughter. Do you want her to forgive you for your mistakes?

Something to chew on anyway. And I hope you feel better soon and stop stomping your large feet, your words, not mine.

Lee said...

Be big Meno. Be big.

It'll feel good. I promise.

Lynnea said...

Ok notwithstanding the wonderful advice above: wallow in your feelings for a while first. Cause you gotta let yourself have them. And the trust thing I so understand. Every time I let my mom use that one on me it really hadn't turned out too well, until the last time. Because the last time I called her on it and then she had to face it instead of using it as an excuse. Its good to forgive and accept the compliment, but totally understandable that your guard is up, given your history.

Bob said...

the fragrance of dog shit on the heel of the one who stepped in it is REVENGE.

Special K ~Toni said...

At least she paid you a compliment on the wonderful job you have done with Em.

Poor kitty, let him in!

TTQ said...

I love spring and all the flowers to be put in tiny posey, vases and teacups! I have white rosese and garadenia's now..
about your mom can't fix overnight what took her years to break and insert buttons for her convienece..easier to push your buttons when you know where they are.Alot of parents mellow with age. And at some point you will stop taking her compliments doused in salt and vinegar. But that takes time too. Rinse and repeat..

SUEB0B said...

Au contraire - Violets have a lovely, lovely smell.

Anonymous said...

I am feeling like a big, bad baby about my father today. I know what I need to do (keep on forgiving and forgetting, then repeat) but sometimes it's nice to just feel what you feel.

meno said...

mrs.chili, any side of the door is the wrong side if you are a cat. I live near Seattle. You have had quite a time w/the momster, so i feel badly complaining at all. BUT i still will! :)

deb, oh you had to go and get all adult on me. And my feet are big, but i'm okay with it.

lee, i hope that i will be able to someday, before it's too late. But i actually cannot bear to have her in my personal space. It makes me anxious.

maggie, you. are. perfect.

bob, ah ha ha ha ha ha! *sniff* oh thanks for that!

toni, she did. I know she wishes that she and i were close. But you reap what you sew.

ttq, i love lilacs. The smell. I want to roll in it. And the mom stuff....yep.

Liv said...

oh, hon. with my mom I feel like that cat on the other side of the door. I kind of want in, but I know deep down that I was meant to be an outside critter. I too have been in situations where I've been privy to the ruminations of the maternal sort. The truth is that an apology would go a lot farther than the veiled intimation that better would have been, well, better.

Anonymous said...

Many of the comments are good ones. The best and most risky thing (I think) about comments in blogs, is that we/you take what we/you want and leave the rest. My only suggestion is to take more than you want to... Mix it all around awhile... Parents are always tricky, and when they get up in age, there is the reality of them leaving us (in body).

Make good decisions - for yourself and you will be fine. I do not know you personally, yet my opinion of you is truly respectful.

urban-urchin said...

Good advice from lee and deb. She's was reaching out, paid you a wonderful compliment and admitted a painful, painful truth (can you imagine in 30 years realizing you had totally fucked it up with Em?! What that would feel like?) Better late than never...

She's old, and won't be here forever to work out stuff. Consider doing it while you have the luxury of time.....

Joan said...

I can understand your feelings toward your mom and you have every right to feel that way. That said, I'm guessing that, like most older people feeling their mortality, she's trying to make amends before it's too late. The fact that she complimented you on your parenting skills demonstrates she's trying. Only you can decide whether to accept her attempts.

Anonymous said...

Cute pussy.

It does look pissed off though.

Girlplustwo said...

you don't want to, and you don't have to.

but you also could.

Anonymous said...

Meno, my experience with my mother in no way diminishes your expereinces with yours. I'm not a one-upper; I told you my story in genuine empathy, not to say "oh, you don't have it SO bad." I can't STAND it when people do that to others; it's rude and demeaning. I am neither of those things.

So, spring has sprung in Washington State, huh? Not so here in the Northeast. It's cold and rainy today, and while green things HAVE started making a hesitant appearance, we're not in full spring mode yet. Sigh..

peevish said...

Sometimes the realization of looming Death has that effect on people. My mother's mother changed dramatically when she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. She totally lightened up and surprised everyone by abandoning her persona of raging queen bitch. It was weird, and no one quite knew how to be around her when she was kind and forgiving and humorous. Sad that it took the impending death thing to make her wake up and embrace life.

There is nothing either you or your mother can do to change the past. You only have the present, and the future. What you do with them is up to you. And sometimes we do have to raise our parents. I'll bet it was very difficult for her to say those words.

My friend (and sometimes yoga teacher) read an amazing quotation to me once about forgiveness. It went something like "to forgive is to unlock the door of a prison, and realize the prisoner was you.".

Anonymous said...

Slowly but surely. I understand about the creeped out feeling. I am sensing though that the idea of some sort of rapprochement is making it's way. Slowly but surely. If we are to use Chani's take on love-that it is a behavior-then your mother, gasp! behaved in a loving way. I hope you keep us informed of the progress, if there is any. Great picture, great cat.

Unknown said...

Hey, it's all great and wonderful that she's admitting this to you now. But. Trust your instincts, not her. Words are easy. I guess my advice would be to forgive, if you want to. But never forget.

Marshamlow said...

I can't help but think it would have been great if you had said to your mother what you were thinking, that you wished she had been a better mother too. Perhaps the first step toward working out your relationship is not to give her a big fat hug and a free pass for all her mistakes, before that, I think you should tell her exactly what you think and feel about her. I believe that forgiveness only comes after all the crap has been spewed.

I have after all had years of experience watching shows like Jerry Springer and Dr Phil so my advice must therefore be correct. I do empathize, my parents are coming for a visit in mid-May. We have not yet resolved the anger I feel toward both of them, yet they are coming here and staying at my house for an entire week.

Tink said...

My Grandmother, who never had the best relationship with my Mom (until recently), once turned to my Mom and said, "I wish you had been my Mother."


QT said...

Mmmmm - I love, love, love the smell of lilacs.

I really don't want this to sound harsh, because I mean it matter-of-factly. You mom is old, and old people have a lot of regrets. I know, I talk to old people all day, every day. Once they start thinking about dying, they want to make amends, right wrongs, apologize.

It is up to you what you choose to do re: your relationship with her.You do not need to become close to her to give her the peace she is seeking. But the more you resist her efforts, the more she will try. Maybe you can find a middle ground that is tolerable?

meno said...

suebob, really? i guess i was assuming that they smell like pansies or violas. African violets maybe?

capacious, so you get it. I was wallowing in my uncomfortableness.

liv, are you suggesting directness? In my family? HA! Yes, a direct apology would be nice, but i sense it will never happen.

chili pepper, It's the day after the lunch now, and i am felling much less like a foot stamping child. So i am listening, now.

u-u, the thought of having any kind of real conversation with her is so distasteful to me. I have years of not telling her anything because it wasn't safe. I can think about trying though.....but i can't make any promises.

joan, i'm still thinking about it. I just don't know how much i care.

d-man, either that or he just looks stupid.

jen, succinctly and correctly put my friend.

mrs.chili, i in no way thought you were trying to be a one-upper. I hate that too. I was thinking i was clever with the momster label. It is spring, which here means rain.

lisa, that is sad. My mother is not ill, but that is no indicator of how long she'll be here. It would be easier to forgive her if i didn't watch her treating my father the way she used to treat me. Guess i need to stay in prison a while longer.

caro, she did behave lovingly, but i always wonder what comes after that. He is a nice kitty.

nancy, that pretty much sums up how i view this.

marsha, in some odd way, i am protecting her. I honestly don't know if she could handle the truth about how i feel.

tink, wow is right. Wow!

qt, me too! You are right of course. But a direct apology would be nice too.

sari said...

ah, the universal-ness of the mother daughter conflict.

you're not alone, my friend.

Liv said...

well, maybe i was suggesting for both of us...but, i too know that it will never happen. sometimes just knowing that karma's a bitch is helpful.

AC said...

My own bothersome mother just called and I started to read your post while she was talking (acutally repeating what she called about for the third or fourth time -- Southern echolalia). Needless to say, I was distracted by your experience at the same time I was rolling my eyes at the phone.

My mother was the original non-apology apologist -- you know, *I'm sorry if You got Upset*, never I'm sorry I said that or I'm sorry I hurt your feelings or butted in or criticized you. I'm always the one with the problem.

I am trying to stay quiet (and stay in the will), because at this point, nothing will change except my own attitude.

Mother of Invention said...

The cat is contemplating chawing on the the leaves and stems of the lilac! My cat chewed off 7 spiders on my spider plant!!!

I'm sorry you still feel uncomfortable with your mom, but I also know that you would have good reasons for this and that in some things, there is no going back or rewinding the tape to do a re-take.

Princess in Galoshes said...

Sorry, Meno, it doesn't sound like an easy situation. And as reflective as your mother may get, it doesn't mean she's changing, (or planning on changing) her actions. It just means she's aware of them.

I guess that's something, but I think it's perfectly reasonable, after all this time, to stay guarded.

Lynn said...

Mother-daughter conflict...I wouldn't even touch that with a ten foot pole!

thailandchani said...

I had to take some time to think about this one for a while before commenting. :)

Your gut will tell you the right way to go about your mother. Sometimes relationships are too damaged to repair... sometimes they can be.

You know best.



Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

Oh, Meno - I feel you.

Unfortunately, it doesn't matter if you are 50 or 35 and your mother is suddenly expressing "regret". Whatever. It's too late.

Besides, in my mother's case, she isn't expressing "regret" but really asking for forgiveness. Which is quite irritating, actually because she is still just as undependable and irresponsible as ever. You can forgive the past, I suppose, but how do you keep forgiving the present?

Lovely little closing scenes where tears are shed and life goes in a new path are totally figments of Hollywood's imagination.

meno said...

sari, but don't you wish that you had a mother who was a trusted friend? If wishes were horses i guess....

liv, "you reap what you sow" is what i always say. Karma will get you in the end.

ac, not THAT is good timing! It's a good thing for me that i don't give a rat's ass about the will because one of these days, i am going to blow.

moi, mine like to eat grass and then puke. Nice. The uncomfortableness is really striking. I have a physical reation when she gets too close to me.

princess, you are wise for one so pink. :)

lynn, coward! Here's an easier question: Does this blog make my butt look big? :)

chani, i know you have issues w/your own mother, so i value your input. I don't think this one can be repaired, but......i don't know everything.

cagey, i ask for forgiveness as i screw up, not 40 years later. It makes a difference. And Hollywood this is not!

Anonymous said...

This is one of those cases where you, and only you, will know how to deal with this. There are so many undercurrents here, and while it might be tempting for some to believe that the complement is genuine, I can totally identify with the 'creeped me out' sentiment, particularly when: (a) it is so long in coming, (b) the damage might just be irreparable, or (c) at this stage of your life, you just don't give a crap anymore.

In my own personal case, I think I would have done handsprings on the front lawn if my mother had ever said such a thing to me, but she died several years ago. And I never had any children with which to prove myself a mother of any description, good or bad. (I think one of the reasons I never had children, apart from unfavorable circumstances, was also that deep down, I was petrified of becoming my own mother to some poor innocent creature.)

Follow your instincts, my dear. And do not ever feel guilty, regardless of how you deal with it in the future.

Lynn said...

No, just your feet:~D

luckyzmom said...

I am so sorry that your mother wasn't who you needed her to be in the past.

GEWELS said...

I almost lost my Mom last week. Sobering thought no matter how so not close we've been.
She is and always will be my Mom- with all her faults and all her ways of not amking me feel good enough, ever.
I've seen, for the first time, her fear and insecurity and unhappiness. She's human and I will forgive everything... If only that I will have the good luck to be forgiven by my children.

Sienna said...

Meno, my little sister asked me some months ago why our Mum never put our lives, safety and wellbeing (as children) a priority? I said I just don't know, you need to ask herthat, she's the only one who might be able to answer it.

Our Mum has never apologised or asked our forgiveness...she still believes she is the victim of the world, that's a damn sorry old place to be..

My sister and I have the most incredible and fulfilling lives ...but Sandra still has that question...sometimes we just don't get the answers.

Your cats are so cute, they ooze contentment, I especially love the tabbies, hope little Britney's hair is growing! :)

All the best Meno, you have a great sense of humor, I love it.


meno said...

ortizzle, i too was petrified about becoming my mother. But the cycle does not have to continue. We are proof of that. I appreciate your (a), (b) and (c) understanding.

lynn, ha ha ha!!

luckyzmom, thank you. i wish i understood why.

gewels, i think your children will forgive you if you apologize, and ask for forgiveness. I am glad that you still have your mother.

pam, i envy you your sister. I am glad for my brother though. Victims of the world are just plain tiresome. Especially whenthey are supposed to be the grown up. Thank you for the compliments. :)

jaded said...

I've been pondering over the apology concept lately. The obligatory implications are troubling. Most of us are incapable of feigning what we do not feel

Only you and your mom know the history you share. I agree with Maggie, take ample time to stew this over, you've earned it. But remember, it isn't easy for most people to admit they've made a mistake. If you choose to accept her statement as a genuine apology, you aren't obligated to pursue a more meaningful relationship with her if you chose not. No advice intended, just considerations.

The lilacs are striking and Greco is gloating because he doesn't have that damn satellite dish strapped to his head.

meno said...

patches, (That's actually Zola.) What i may do is wait until the next time she brings it up, and she will, and just directly ask her if she is apologizing. Hard to say where that will lead. The lilacs are pretty, and they smell wonderful, but i like the vase too. :)

luckyzmom said...

People become parents when they still need parenting themselves.

Andrea Frazer said...

I air on the side of forgiveness, but that's me. Who knows what happened in her life to make her who she is? All we can control is how we feel. Easier said than done, of course, but that's how I try to live anyway.

Sorry you feel so bad around her at any rate.

gary rith said...

Don't your cats shred plants and flowers?

Taradharma said...

m'gosh, meno, what a lovely blog you have! How did I get here (I'm channeling David Bryne)? Via Deb, via Painters Kitchen, via Her Secret Garden.

Jen's comment really sums it up for me. Tricky stuff, this mom stuff. Both being a mom, and having an untrustworthy mom.

Hey, I'm almost 50, too! And I was a kid in San Diego for awhile. My parents still live in Mission Hills. Heck, I may retire there.

So glad I stumbled upon your blog.

Peace, you cheeky monkey, you.