Can’t live with ’em, can’t tar and feather ’em either.

And then, just when I was beginning to feel quite, quite normal and cheerful again – having long chats with friends about their lives, and also talking about my dissertation and going out for dinner and which films to go see in the next week – my mother called last night.

Naturally, Mum wanted to know how I was. I said, with absolute truth, that physically I felt fine. Yes, I had gone back to work already. I was keeping busy. But emotionally? Mum wanted to know.

May: Oh, you know, I still feel sad from time to time…

Mum: [Interrupting] Well, you know, I think the BEST thing you can do, to get over it, is to not think about it so much. You need to be optimistic and look forward now. You mustn’t dwell on it all the time. [May tries feebly to interject here and remind her mother that she has JUST SAID she has gone back to work and it keeping busy] Try to put it out of your mind and move on….

[At this point May holds the telephone away from her head and glares at it]

… And if you’re thinking positively, good things will happen. You need to create the positive space in your life for good things to happen in, and you can’t do that if you’re DWELLING on it…

[May holds phone away from her ear again and waits, patiently, for the distant scratching of her mother’s voice to stop].

May: Hmm.

Mum: [Launches into very long discussion of the various complications involved in planning the Big Family Shindig next weekend. As at any given moment at least four family members are not on speaking terms with three people each, and bestest buddies ever with another two, who, naturally, are in turn bestest buddies with at least one unspeakable – and to think I assumed Venn diagrams were a pointless waste of time and effort when I was at school – this conversation took quite some time. This allowed a thankful May to concentrate on inter-generational politics and not on reasons why her mother annoys the living crap out of her sometimes].

May: [Eventually] By the way, Mum, is anything the matter with either Trouble or Diva?

Mum: Why?

May: Well, I haven’t heard from either of them since before my birthday, and I thought it was a little odd, considering it was my birthday, and then me being pregnant and then miscarrying [Note May’s refusal to beat about the bush or use the favourite family euphemisms of ‘when that thing happened’ or ‘you know, the other week’].

Mum: …

May: You did tell them, didn’t you?

Mum: Oh, yes, I think so. Yes, I’m sure I did. Diva has asked my for your phone number several times since.

May: [Laughing] Well, I’ll give her one point for good intentions then.

Mum: [Insert long and very dreary account of Trouble’s splitting up with her boyfriend-who-is-also-her-boss (yes, I KNOW) in order to move back in with her ex-husband Fucktard, and then Fucktard, instead of being the reformed character he had lead us all to assume he was, followed Trouble to work, saw her having lunch with said boss, and insisted on joining them and then creating a jealous scene, so Trouble is very cross and not wanting to live with Fucktard any more].

May: Hmmm.

Mum: Well, I don’t know what to make of Trouble any more. She’s hasn’t really talked to me or anyone else all week.

May: All week? So this kicked off AFTER…

Mum: [Interrupting] I never know what Trouble’s thinking.

May drops the subject.

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7 responses to “Can’t live with ’em, can’t tar and feather ’em either.

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    Oh Gawd. And here was me thinking you only required two trailerfuls of the good stuff. You obviously need three. The smell should bring your good mother back to planet earth soon enough, and she can practise not dwelling on things whilst she’s shovelling her way out of the front door.

    May, I think it’s your turn to hurl your toys out of the play pen in style. You are surrounded by squeaking wheels who are totally absorbing the grease meant for you. If you don’t get your big scene in quickly during the first hour of the Family Shindig, then someone is bound to beat you to it. Retaliate first!

  • Robyn

    Oh May, I do so sympathise with you on the motherly advice front. It is the very thing I do not miss about my late mum. Whenever any medical problem of any kind raises it’s head with my nearest and dearest, I ALWAYS think “Well, at least I won’t have to listen to Mum tell me it’s all a plot designed by drug companies to sell their products or that it can be cured by drinking [Insert herbal name here] tea 18 times a day and thinking positive.” She even said this when our best friend was diagnosed with throat cancer!

    And the sisters? Well, I haven’t spoken to mine since my mum’s estate was settled so it’s probably pointless me even offering a point of view. Although I still think HFF’s offer is the best option thus far. Do you think she could arrange delivery in Australia as well?

  • RM

    My mom is not good with encouraging words either. It seems if I am having an emotional crisis, it is interfering with what *she* has going on at the moment, and so it will be tossed aside until she wants to dissect it later. I know she really cares for me, but it breaks me wide open when she is so careless with my heart!

    Take care, I am rooting for you. 🙂

  • Arian

    I can understand. I don’t talk to my mom about any of our IF issues. We lost one the first year we were married and she asked me once a few weeks after the fact if I was doing ok, said perhaps it just wasn’t meant to be, and that was that.

    I hope your days get easier.

  • LJ

    Ahhhhh, what is better than assvice? CRAPPY PARENTAL ASSVICE. I hear you my dear, so very much.

  • Rita

    that’s awful. it’s like a bad comedy.
    I stopped talking to my mom about IF long ago too. It just wasn’t worth it – I get more validation from my friends

  • MsPrufrock

    Ah yes…family. Not that it is remotely in the same league, but my Mom used to ask me about “harvesting eggs” when I was in the process of IVF. It made me feel like some sort of reproductive robot.

    I hope Trouble gets over her drama soon and at least says SOMETHING to you about this.

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