My 19 year old niece is pregnant. My 19 year old niece who just got married and was supposed to go to school and accomplish things, which she has now put on hold and will most likely never do, because she got pregnant. Listening to my mother talk about my niece, and my sister, I found myself constantly interrupting with, "There's nothing you can do about that. You can not control what goes on in Idaho. You couldn't control if it if they were your next door neighbor. Yes, it is sad. I wish she would've stayed on the pill. But she didn't. So let's be supportive and hopefully she leads a happy life and raises a lovely child." My mom can not think that way. She interrupted me to talk about how my sister has four children, two of which will now have children (her older daughter has two). She also has two very young children she has from her current relationship. I have a great nephew, that is almost as old as his uncle. My family is nothing if not confusing and complicated.
The one thing that I took away from the conversation is how different I have become in the past few years. How I don't stress over the things that I can not change. I may spend hours stressing about the things I CAN (but completely unimportant things), like how long has it been since I mopped the kitchen, or am I going to be able to afford fresh flowers. But not about if the weather will ruin a trip, and other such things. I still have really high anxiety when I know I'm going to be in a crowded place, or if I am a passenger in a car with someone who seems to drive a little on the unsafe side. But I don't worry about the choices the people around me make, unless they directly negatively effect me. Then, and only then, will I speak up about them.
After the conversation I started thinking about the strange role reversal that has taken place between my mother and myself. I am the one offering encouraging words and advice. I said to her if she doesn't stop worrying and unnecessarily stressing about all of us, she is going to eventually have health issues related to stress. She needs to relax and enjoy her retirement. We are all adults and whatever happens will happen, regardless of her freaking out or not. Her words, "I told her if she would save her tax money I'd match it so she could buy a house, but she won't do it!!!" are still ringing through my brain. The codependence with which my mother operates, so she never has to focus on her own stuff, is blinding. I calmly told her, "She seems happy with the way things are. You are constantly using judgment language like 'how they live is disgusting.' It's disgusting to you." To which she replied, "It's disgusting to most people." I said, "I dare to disagree." I feel sorry for my mother that she puts so much effort in to caring what people think, that she won't take my aunt to see my sister, 'cause she's ashamed of their living conditions.
I am so NOT my mother's child. I am my father, whom I never knew, through and through. The only difference is I'm not on a motorcycle roaming the earth, shacking up with whatever person I'm with at the time. I see her worry and it's the one time that I truly wish I could absorb all of that and allow her to be free of it. I can't, so I just accept it and try to be supportive when I can. I love my mother, but I thank the powers that be every day, that I am not like her in this regard. Just listening to her is exhausting. I can't imagine how living that worry would be. Living my OCD worries is exhausting enough.
Happy picture of the day: my new salt and pepper shakers, which are much smaller than they appeared in the photo. If I ever use them I'll have to preface by saying, "These are only good for one shake per person. Rock on."
Hi, I'm Spock, and I'm here to put the flavor on your plate.
And I'm the captain, I'm here to make things peppery and keen.