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Peaceless Garden

April 27, 2010

I went to the Peace Garden again today. Only I did something a little bit different today.

I took my mom.

Took the peace right out of the Peace Garden

People. This is huge. You see, this cancer has made me very irritable and very irritating. People who I could merely tolerate before have become huge intolerable monsters to me. It’s not them. It’s me. And the stupid cancer. It has made me very very very crabby.

Now on a good day, my mother and I butt heads. Always have. Always will. My mother is very needy. I am the opposite of needy. The exact opposite.   I don’t actually recall my mother mothering me at all. I think I kind of raised myself. Which is only slightly better than being raised by wolves.

Anyway. So here I have this mom who’s 82 and very needy and very lonely and very annoying. She’s been trying to help me and I don’t want her help. Not at all. Which is just mean because were I to have a daughter who  had breast cancer, I’d want her to let me help. It’s just so difficult, our relationship.

But today I felt good. I felt strong. And I felt, seeing as how she’s only got a few days left to live – after declaring, last December, that she was dying in April – I’d take her over to the Peace Garden with me. Knowing that my mother and “peace” do not belong in the same sentence.

My mother is a nervous chatterbug. If there’s a silence, she feels that it’s because everyone in the room hates her and is no longer speaking to her. So she makes sure to keep any room filled with words, whether they make sense, or not…

“There are no 10 petites!” she announced one day, when she came to visit me at the Frame Shop that I used to work at.

“I’m going suntanning there!” she threw right into the middle of a family discussion about a neighborhood pedophile.

If words are being said, then nobody must be mad at her.

So I called and invited her, and she accepted.  I picked her up (spent some time in her driveway being flashed by her 65-year-old neighbor – I’ll save that for tomorrow) and off we went.

On the days when I know what I’m in for, my mother can be a hoot. Today I was full of energy and feeling very positive. Luck was on our side.

She started talking from the second we got into the car until I dropped her off at home, almost 3 hours later. Let’s see if I can share some of the better ones with you…Keep in mind that anything said could be heard very clearly to anyone within a 20 foot distance – at least:

“When you called and invited me and I said yes and then I hung up the phone – I jumped up and down and said ‘whoopie!'”

As we were walking, we came upon 3 people doing yoga on the grass: “Oh! How weird! I mean – isn’t that cute!”

We came upon a bronze origami statute: “Oh! How weird!”

We came upon a statue of a pile of rocks: “Oh! How weird!”

Near one of the fountains that is still boarded up from the winter (I’m talking, totally covered with brown boards): “Oh! That’s beautiful!”

“How weird” “How beautiful!” ad infinitum. You know what it reminds me of, when my kids were toddlers and constantly asking “why” about every damn thing. It’s exhausting. But at least the toddlers would stop to hear what the answers were. My mom does not.

After the Peace Garden I took her over to Whole Foods where we walked around the store and she gave me her opinion on everything and kept trying to buy me everything. She’d say “Oh! Look at this cheese! Isn’t it wonderful?” and I’d mumble “uh huh”, then she’d say “I’m going to buy it for you!”, and I’d say, “No thanks, I don’t want it?” “Why not?” she’d say. (At least she heard my answer!) “Because I don’t want any,” I’d reply. And this went on and on and on and on and on. And on.

And on.

She was itching to buy me something so I eventually said yes when she offered to buy me a bar of Tom’s of Maine soap. Even though I already have a dozen in my closet.

Then we went to the liquor store because you guys said I could drink beer and that’s what I’m going to do. All the time. It’s your fault! My mother decided she wanted a bottle of Arbor Mist. But she said, “I want that peach stuff that Tom and Terry always buy for me,” and it was up to me to figure out that by peach stuff she meant Arbor Mist. Me. The gal with the chemo brain who couldn’t remember the name of her favorite Chinese restaurant, that has been her favorite Chinese restaurant for about 20 years. Arbor Mist, by the way, is  next to the Boones Farm, MD20/20 and other various soda-pop “wines”. My mother has been hitting the hard stuff since the 1970s, when she and all the neighbor ladies would crack open the bottles of Cold Duck at 3 in the afternoon. They didn’t think I was watching or knew what they were up to.

Bonus Momism today: While we were standing in her driveway, with the neighbors Tom and Terry (of the Arbor Mist gift giving fame) she said to them, “You guys better watch out! Lois (who lives across the street) got cataract surgery and she’ll see right into your bedroom now!”

I’ll share some Lois in another entry. The same one where I share how I was flashed in mom’s driveway.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 27, 2010 2:48 pm

    I am sorry she drives you crazy Kathy I really am. I just sat here and laughed and laughed. Not at you mind. But the whole craziness of it. You know there’ a a guy who writes “Shit my dad says” You really should write something about the stuff your mom says. Lordy I have tears. hugs to you. And you be crabby all you want okay? Just sayin.

  2. April 27, 2010 3:45 pm

    Your mom’s 82? So is my husband. No wonder I can’t find the man I married — I’m still in my sixties.

  3. April 27, 2010 3:54 pm

    Every time you post about your mom and think of my grandma. They sound like they could be twins. Only the things she would say at full volume were always racist like “Oh, look at that white lady holding that little black baby. I don’t think I could do it. She deserves a spot in heaven.”

    Glad you are feeling postive today!

  4. Floweer permalink
    April 27, 2010 7:19 pm

    Good for you. You and you mom had a good day. Those are good to have in the “bank” for the rest of the days. I had an awesome conversation with my brother today – he apologized – was thankful for help Alex provided – and asked questions. There is a full moon tonight…hmmmmmmmmmmm!

  5. April 27, 2010 7:44 pm

    omigawd, that is TOO MUCH!! But it’s encouraging b/c you clearly must have been feeling VERY HEALTHY to embark on the trip. btw, my spamfilter caught yr response so goofy postcards, etc. will be off. Yr mom and my mom need to get together so they can have a good ol’ critfest on their families. Remember I told u my mom is taking the class I’m teaching at the local college? Actually, this is the THIRD class she’s taken, including a class on women’s history in the fall. You’ll love this: I had spoken to my cousin and gotten an update which my mom asked about and I said that S. was teaching at a local comm. college and she said THAT’S A GOOD IDEA, YOU SHOULD LOOK INTO THAT. And I said, Um, mom? I’m actually TEACHING at the local college and I’m teaching a class that YOU ARE ATTENDING .

    My only prayer is: god, help me to recognize the comments that my parent makes that drive me nuts so I never replicate for my children.. Just that, oh lord, just that….

  6. April 28, 2010 7:09 am

    I smiled at the first line of this entry. Then I read “I took my mom.” I literally put my hand to my mouth and said “oh dear!”

    All I can say is good for you. Knowing how she can STOMP on your last nerve, it was very kind and unselfish of you to share the Peace Garden with her.

    That need she has to buy something for you? I do that! Yikes! Especially when I see Mike and Lindsay. Since I only see them once or twice a year, I feel this incredible urge to buy them something…anything. I’m guessing it’s a mom/guilt thing. ;o)

    I hope today is a good day for you. {{HUGS}}

  7. April 28, 2010 8:52 am

    You sound like you’re feeling a little better. Your mom story made me laugh out loud. Sounds like a character. Can’t wait to hear about the flasher!

  8. April 28, 2010 1:08 pm

    I love the honesty in the posts about your mom! I always have! Because I think my grandma is your mom. But my grandma passed away. Maybe she had an evil twin AKA Kathy’s Mom!

    I’ll let you in on a wee widdle secret. There are moments when I enjoy a nice cold Arbor Mist. But never the peach stuff. I’m a blackberry person. There. I confessed! It’s only once or twice a year at the most, so I don’t suck too bad, right?

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