I spent Saturday and Sunday with my mom. For those who know me through Facebook, you are familiar with the typical conversations mom and I have: I don’t wear enough makeup, I need to brush my hair and something about whatever I’m wearing. Somewhere along the line, she’s become a very negative person. I love my mom to pieces and I try to accept that this is just how she is. She’s not meaning to hurt feelings; she’s just from another time when things weren’t so casual. And she says she’s earned the right to say what she wants. She will be 84 at the end of November, and I am thankful that she is still with me, but… WOW she just wears me out.
The itinerary for the weekend was to go on the annual October Tour of Historic Homes in Salisbury, NC where I’m from and mom still lives. Well, Saturday it rained…again. Thank goodness I had Plan B: a movie, but I knew I could be opening a can of worms with this.
Here’s mom’s take on today’s movies:
“They’re all just about these special effects; no story.”
“Why does every other word have to be a curse word?”
“I don’t want to see all these disaster movies. The world’s depressing enough.”
“I like suspense, not all this gore and blood and stuff.”
“What happened to nice looking leading men? I’m tired of looking at ugly people.”
“Where do they get all of these ugly people?”
You get my point. I was hoping I had a chance with the new movie The Intern, with Robert DeNiro. At least she knows who he is. To my surprise, she laughed out loud several times. She did make sure to point out that Anne Hathaway was not wearing jeans with tears in them, “Look how nice and neat she looks; no holes her jeans”… Sometimes, I have to remind her to keep it down in the movies…and church. “Other people can hear you mom.” I get the stink eye. When it was over, she actually said, “I enjoyed that.” My mouth about hit the floor. I asked her if she could say that again so I could record it. Again with the stink eye. “Well, it didn’t have all the bad language and sex,” she comments. Glad you liked it mom.
That evening, we settled in with the TV. Now TV is another big sore spot with her. She has cable with tons of channels, but basically only watches PBS, so she limits herself to about 3 channels. She complains there’s just nothing on. She watches these old British sitcoms and mysteries I know she’s seen a million times. “Well, I like Judy Dench,” she says. In the next breath, she says she can’t understand half of what they say. She falls asleep half way through them, wakes up and gets irritated because she doesn’t know what’s going on. If you try to get her to watch one of the network channels, she vehemently says, “I’m not watching those channels. There are too many damn commercials.” When she did switch to one, and a commercial was on, she quickly muted it and said “oh drop dead.” Ok then…
My brother calls mom Joe LeVan. He was mom’s dad and lived with us for a few years. Well, I should say he lived with me, mom and dad; my brother and sister where pretty much already out of the house. Grandfather, which is what we called him, was quite the character: spoke his mind -loudly, and also did not like commercials. I actually saw him spit at and kick the TV one time. I suppose there is something to it when they say we become our parents. Wonderful…
Sunday rolls around. Mom is supposed to be a greeter at church. She decides to go do that, and come straight home. Mom’s having some issues with church too. The old traditional ways are changing. They are trying some more “modern elements,” which she is not the least bit happy with… but that’s an entire different story. ..
She gets home. I thought we would have some lunch before we go. I got the quick reply, “No, we don’t have time. They are already lining up at some of the houses.” The woman wouldn’t even let me eat lunch! This is another issue… she really doesn’t like to eat or drink anything…especially water. Eating is just something she has to do. I definitely didn’t get this trait. The doctor has gotten on to her about the water, which I think almost makes her more stubborn about it. I tell her to drink her water and she sticks her tongue out at me.
So out we go for the day. I did manage to get her to smile for a selfie. I think the only reason she complied was because people were standing around us. She doesn’t like to have her picture taken either. Imagine that. It was a rather long tour and we did ok for most of it. I could tell she was getting tired. These past few years, mom has lost what little patience she had and has gotten really bad about questioning everything.
“I want to catch the trolley to the next house,” she says.
“Ok mom,” I replied, “but we have to walk back down to the corner.”
“How do you know?” she asked.
“Because it’s marked with a “T” on the tour guide map,” I said.
“Are you sure?”
At the last stop, there is a pastry shop next store. Now about the eating, she does like her sweets. When I come home, we have to eat out, unless I want cookies and ice cream for dinner. She decides she wants to get something. I happily comply because I’m starving at this point, and probably getting grumpy myself. She enjoys a freshly made cinnamon roll. I tell her to drink some water. With a grudge, she did. With her sugar fix, we completed the last stop.
It wasn’t five minutes after we got home, she was stretched out on the couch. She was done. I told her if we do the tour again next year, we would split it into two days. “Yeah, yeah,” she says. We’ll see about next year.”