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!