My mother is a piece of work. We had plans to drive up there this weekend so we could all go out to eat for Mother's Day. I called her a little while ago to deliver the very sad news I wrote about in my previous entry. She knows that Pam is an old and dear friend (we've had our ups and downs, but what do you expect after knowing her for almost 30 years). Beth and her husband have always been there for us and we have been through a LOT with them (the loss of their 8 year old daughter is just one example).
I have always been an extremely loyal and supportive friend. If my friends need me, I am there. When I told my mother the sad news, she became immediately suspicious of my motives. I think she knew what was coming next. I was thinking about canceling our weekend plans so that I could go and be with my friend Pam.
My mother started by attacking Pam's relationship with her husband. "Why would you go all the way down there? Didn't she leave her husband? She complained about him all the time."
She went on from there...trying to diminish or belittle my relationships with my friends. "I thought you weren't particularly close to Beth any more..." "Didn't Pam leave her husband?" "You haven't been very close with Pam in years." Yadda yadda.
I did my best to try and explain the concept of FRIENDSHIP to her, but she has never been clear on the concept. She has never had a "best friend". She has always kept her associations light and at a distance...because she is a very "private" person. As a consequence, when ever she has a serious problem and wants to talk to someone, she calls me. ME. I have always had to be there for her as well.
I finally told her that, yes, I was considering driving to Virginia and spending some time with Pam. Yes, that means our plans for Sunday will have to be postponed. (I already have plans to spend 4 days with them in mid-June, by the way.) My Mother went ballistic.
"So you WON'T BE HERE FOR MOTHER'S DAY?!?!"
Um, no Mom. It would be too much of a hardship on Tyler to do so much driving in such a short time frame.
"YOU HAVE ALWAYS PUT YOUR FRIENDS BEFORE YOUR FAMILY!"
Mom! What is more important, being there for someone you love who has just suffered a horrible loss or Mother's Day???
"PAM DIDN'T EVEN LIKE HER HUSBAND!!"
Mother...that's not the point. Even if Pam had an adversarial relationship with her husband, she did love him and was trying to work things out for the sake of their son. She just had to tell her 8 year old little boy that his Dad is dead. You and Dad fight all the time and you often threatened to leave him over the years. How would YOU feel if he died??
(long pause) "YOUR FRIENDS ALWAYS FIND OUT ABOUT EVERYTHING IN YOUR LIFE BEFORE I DO..."
*sigh* When ever she senses she is losing ground in an argument, she starts dredging up all past perceived transgressions against her. In this case, she was specifically referring to my engagement. I told my friends before I told my parents. Not because my friends were more important that them (the reason she chooses to believe), but because I wanted HAPPY reactions to my news. I knew when I told THEM I would get nothing but spewing hatred and negativity. They hated John. Why would I WANT to share the happiest news in my life with them when I knew how they would react?? Naturally I waited.
By this point I was crying. I told her she was the most selfish person I have ever known. That any other Mother would be supportive in a case like this and that missing Mother's Day was a tiny thing in the grand scheme. When she started screaming at me in response to the "selfish" comment...I just hung up. I couldn't take it any more.
Am I crazy? Is Mother's Day more important than attending 2 funerals to be there for 2 old and dear friends? Aren't *I* a Mother too?? Why is Mother's Day still all about her? Shouldn't it be my turn now? I am willing to pass on dinner at my all time favorite restaurant to drive 16 hours in 3 days to a part of the country that has more sheep than humans to an environment that will contain an emotionally traumatized 8 year old, a good friend who will most likely be drunk and/or high, an ex-boyfriend who hasn't seen me since I put on so much weight (yes, I dated Pam's brother), and where 80% of their family smoke. Oh yes...all this will be paradise rather than spending time with my mother.
Needless to say, even if I decide not to go, I no longer have the desire to drive all the way up there to spend time with my Mother either.