Sometimes, my Mom and I remind me of a couple of comic strip characters.
She's had a cold lately and has some lingering congestion, and her hearing aids give her an earache. So she hasn't been wearing them lately.
I've had surgery in my neck, particularly around my laryngeal nerves that control voice production. My voice gives out really easily, in fact it seems to be getting worse lately, as right after the surgery it was actually pretty good.
Imagine: one woman who can't hear well + one woman who can't speak very loudly...
Some days it's annoying, most days I just laugh about it. It's life.
I've had a major attitude adjustment since the rant I wrote about my relationship with mother last October. My sister told me I was harsh. I re-read it this evening and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, because I was not dealing well when I wrote it. I was just a few weeks post-thyroidectomy, and the newness of my cancer diagnosis on top of the recovery process made for a very difficult time in my life.
What has changed since then is I've actually talked to my Mom about some of those things that bothered me so much. I've been able to hear some great stories about her life, growing up, first married, stuff like that. Her reluctance to drive finally makes sense! I've always known she doesn't have very good peripheral vision. Consequently, she has a lot of trouble changing lanes, but I had no idea that it really traumatized her. She told me, "When I used to pick up your father at work, I'd get in the right lane on the SE Expressway and just stay there until I got to my exit." Now, this is decades ago! I had been thinking that Mom's objection to driving around here was a recent thing. It's not; it's part of something she has been resistant to ever since she learned to drive: multi-lane roads.
Mom's been coming out here for 8 or 9 years now, and this year, when I asked questions and really listened, do I finally understand. This probably reveals what a rotten daughter I am, but now I have, at last, let go of my "why won't she drive?" resentment.
I am making an effort to let go of any resentment at all, actually. There is a kind of negotiation that happens when she's here, figuring out her niche. She takes over some things, and I just let her. It's best that way, and I'm not about to tell her how to make a salad or do the laundry, even though I do both things in very different ways than she does. The clothes look great and the salad is tasty, so I have nothing to say.
But there are still a few things I don't get, like "I mean, as I said," which is her favorite conversation space-filler, and her "phone voice," which is so different from her regular speaking voice that she's barely recognizable. That's Mom, though, and I love her so, and really do appreciate all her help. It seems pretty impossible to convey that. I say the words to her, and hope they are enough (and that she actually heard me!).
I wonder what things my kids will be complaining about, about me, when they're all grown up? I hope they'll love me, just the same.