Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Post visit

My mother left late this afternoon. It was a much better visit than I'd have expected. I was able to keep a lid on myself, for the most part. We also had alone time - I couldn't take five days without doing any work, of course, so I had to be doing a bit every day. And she had some work to do on a couple of days, too. But every day we took some little excursion. Some of those excursions were sooooooo beautiful, my god! Seriously, this can be such an enchanted vacation-land. (Not such a nice place to live, as evidenced yet again by a phenomenal display of racist discourse in today's newspaper.)

What was good about the visit was that my mother is so incredibly easy to please. On Saturday morning, for instance, it was yucky and raining. We went to the farmer's market and then to the mall for boring towel- and sock-buying. Back by 12:30, and that was our activity for the day - a market in the rain, and a big, boring mall. But my mother gushed about what a "great day it has been." Not hard to entertain, see??

Of course, it is this over-the-top sunniness that I also find most difficult about my mother. Everything is beautiful - that's her favourite word. Last night we were out at a Japanese restaurant and she was eating her plain old steamed rice with soy sauce, and apparently that was "beautiful." Because everything is. It's just too much muchness, you know? I am actually quite a cynical person, and this kind of relentlessly celebratory attitude always feels to me like a grating over-simplification of it all.

Why so? Isn't happiness nice? Well, the thing is, we can't just be. I can't just be. There is always gushing over me. It feels like a lot of pressure, quite frankly. The other night, for instance, I was sitting there in my armchair, my legs swung over the arms, wearing some variety of pyjama-like clothes. "You look great in that chair," my mother beamed at me. For god's sake - I'm just freaking sitting in a chair in my pyjamas. Just let me be.

So that's the crux of it. I need to just be, and my mother has invested so much in me, her only child, that I chafe.

But anyway, it was a good visit, overall. I'm pleased about that - it felt like a hurdle. My mother is a very, very good and kind and lovely person. I need to remember that.


And now my heart feels like it's racing and all I can foresee over the next ten days is unbelievable quantities of work. I worry that I'll make myself sick with the state of stress I feel I'm in. Remind me never, ever to take on this much work at once, again!


Bardiac said...

What you said about the deep investment your mother's made in you really struck home. I sometimes feel like I can never live up to that sort of investment, and then I start resenting it all... There's always so much to deal with.

Tiruncula said...

I'm glad the visit was pretty painless, and that there's some spectactular beauty around there, at least in the landscape!

Pantagruelle said...

I'm glad you had a good visit and it all went well overall. Good for you for surviving all those "beautifuls". I do know what you mean about that. I have a (bi-polar) aunt for whom everything is "wonderful, fabulous, beautiful" (or any other string of at least 3 or more excessive adjectives) if you are on her good side (or 3 or more not so wonderful adjectives if you are on her bad side), and being liked is a lot of pressure, not to mention utterly ridiculous and absurd. It sounds to me like you did an good job of rising above it all when your mother was there--in a way letting her just be her excessively "beautiful" self. Having a parent visit and live in your space for a while can always be a challenge in the best of relationships, so you should be really proud of yourself for how well things went.

Sending you good vibes for the backlog of work. Somehow you always manage to pull it off!

Mimi said...

Being a only child once struck me as the same as being monologuing on a stage because all the other actors left. The public need you to do something. It's often a lot of job.

psychgrad said...

Yeah...I never really "get" the people that are so expressively happy about everything. But I wonder if life is better for them.

Glad to hear that the visit wasn't too painful.

Usually, when my mom goes on about being happy for me, I give her a moment and then say, ok - yes, your genes are amazing. moving along. So, yeah. I guess I'm pretty cynical too.

Good luck with the next ten days.