Friday, August 13, 2010

Trying to be the Good Son

I got a call at work from my mother today, and I thought it was weird because it was the 2nd call from her in an hour or so.  The first call was her telling me that she kept getting a message on her computer that her McAfee anti-virus was expiring.  I thought I might have to have the computer to re-up the subscription, but that was not the case.  I figured out how to do it through the McAfee website signed in as my mother. (Ain't technology grand!)  Sure enough, her anti-virus was going to expire a couple of days before her birthday, which is next Thursday.  It made the most sense for me to update her for 2 years, so that's what I did.  Money's tight for me right now, but I can make it work at the moment.  I told her it would be her birthday gift (and I still have to get a card for her and my Good Grandma, whose birthday is the day after my mom's) and left it at that.

So the second call had me perplexed as to why she would be calling.  As soon as I picked up the phone, I regretted it.  My mother was partially sobbing into the phone.  She started telling me how worthless she was, how I was going to dread it every time I saw her number come up on the phone, how she does nothing to add to my life and only takes, how all she does is ask me for money, and how that ain't right, and she's going to push me away because of it, and I work hard for my money, and it's not right for her to take it from me, and did she mention how worthless she was, how nothing she did was enough, no matter how hard she worked or tried, she couldn't escape needing to ask me for money, which was going to make me hate her, and she couldn't stand that, but she couldn't stand being a leech on my life.

I wrote that last sentence as a run-on on purpose, b/c that's how the whole conversation felt to me.  First, I HATE IT WHEN SHE CRIES.  I have always hated it when she cries.  There's nothing I can do when she cries, and I didn't understand why she was unburdening herself on me.  What was the point of calling me up to berate herself for the help I give her?  Did she think I wanted her to do that?  Did it make her feel better? (I did ask that question, and the answer was "no".)  Was it supposed to make me feel so bad about how my charity to her is making HER feel that I'll turn her down in the future?

I simply do not understand, and I resented it.  I resented her dumping this on me.  What was I supposed to do?  She's my MOTHER.  She is trying the best she can to make her ends meet, and it's not working.  The economy sucks ass, and no one wants to hire a nearly 60 year old woman anyway.  She's cut out every luxury from her life.   She applies to jobs, and she goes to hers every day, even when she doesn't want to.  This morning she said she was "sooooo tired" but she took every ounce of strength she had to come to work.  In my view, this is her contribution. She's doing the best she can.  I expect no more of her.  As long as I can meet my bills and help her, I will.  She's my mother, and we are really the only family each other has.  But goddamn it, don't dump your emotional shit on me that results from me trying to help you!  I don't need it.  Find a friend to weep and wail about this stuff.  I worry about her enough as it is; I can't take the burden of guilt that I'm making her feel worse about herself by the very act of behaving like a good son!

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