Friday, May 24, 2013

Conversations with My Mother

Mom is becoming increasingly strange as time passes, and although some of her "interpretations" of things said in conversation can be quite humorous, she's also become hell-bent on 'truthing', as it were. Some of her 'truths' are quite painful.

Recently, she went after my sister about her weight gain in front of dinner guests. When it failed to get an adequate rise out of anyone, she reiterated it for better effect. Everyone shifted sort of uncomfortably in their seats and continued eating, until my sister's friend decided it was time to come to her defense- which naturally fell on deaf ears. Yes, my sister has gained weight; yes, she is a forty year-old diabetic and she has a job that keeps her from getting adequate exercise and/or the opportunity to eat more appropriately for her condition. There's no real point in harping on it; it is what it is.

Yesterday, Mom got on her high horse about my friends. She has decided that all of my friends are weird, particularly the male ones. As with my sister's weight, she would not let it go, and she was nitpicking about Hopkins in particular. What started this? A simple request that she not be moldering in her nightgown when he arrives to travel with me to the improv show in Louisville on Saturday. "Weird" is probably the most charitable thing she had to say, and after I got pretty sick of it, I said, maybe too archly, "You know, Mom, it stands to reason that my friends are weird...I'm weird. If it were up to you, who would you choose instead? Hmm?"

Making friends has always been hard for me- helllloooo, Asperger's- social awkwardness? Inability to read normal social cues? Oh, yeah, not to mention the plethora of other complications. If it's anybody's business (which it isn't), I also enjoy being weird, and I love my weird friends. That's kinda sorta maybe why we're friends. I have zero clue as to who she'd choose instead. I also find that aside from this hurting my feelings, I am not sure that I care.

Now for my next trick, I am praying that she doesn't say anything too bizarre when Hopkins rolls into the house. He has good manners, which dictate he has to come inside and speak to my parents (to whom he has not spoken in twenty-five years)- plus he's had fair warning. I told him Mom was getting a bit strange these days, I just hope she doesn't choose to direct any ire she's harboring toward me at him because he's a handy new target.

Wish me luck. She of the Big Bird Bathrobe is not the same person she was back in the old days...


Lela Criswell said...

Have you read the book "Aging with Grace?" It's about the nun study - nuns donated their brains for autopsy at death - but written for a general audience. It's probably too late for your mother, but you would benefit from taking measures to avoid small strokes in the hippocampus.

AiredaleGirl said...

The Nun Study was based at my alma mater, the University of Kentucky, from 1986-2008. We have a copy in the college library because of the Kentucky connection. Vascular degeneration has been a factor for several generations among my mother's Miller relations, and this kind of dementia onset is common among her people. I saw it in her middle brother and my grandmother, and three Miller-related cousins in my hometown- one of whom died of a massive stroke in her early sixties.