Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day

My mother and I haven't spoken since January 1. The not-speaking for months is almost usual. Even when our "relationship" has been on a "normal" track (for us), and since my mother moved to Austin in 2010, we'd see each other/speak about 10 or 11 times a year. In chronological order: Easter, Mother's Day, Nephew 1 b'day, Mom's b'day, Nephew 2 b'day, my b'day, my brother's b'day, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Plus maybe one or so other odd events that turned up, maybe a nephew play or soccer game or something.

Since the beginning of 2015, though, we are really Not Speaking. AT ALL. So far, Easter and Mother's Day have gone by. I'm curious about what's going to happen for my older nephew's upcoming 13th birthday in a couple of weeks, though. I've always gotten him a gift, we've always gone out as a family to his restaurant of choice, come back to someone's home for cake, etc. Either my brother's going to call me to come over separately, or he's not going to call me at all. That'll be a shame. Easter dinner, Mother's Day, I don't miss too much, but the birthdays and Thanksgiving and Christmas will be odd and sad.

At first. Then I'll get used to it. And then, honestly, it won't be such a big deal. I've gotten used to lots of stuff. At first you think how horrible something's going to be, and it is. For a while. Then after a while, the horrible feeling fades into... "Eh. I can live with this."

Not to go on about it, but in the case of me and my mother not speaking: If we were only speaking 10 times a year, on holidays, to begin with, then not speaking at all isn't actually THAT life-changing. Psychologically, there's the unsettling feeling: "Wow. I'm one of those weirdos who doesn't speak to her parents." But in actuality, there are many not-particularly-weird people out there who don't speak to one or both of their parents for whatever unresolved-family-dynamic reason. It isn't like my mother and I were emotionally close and, thus, the falling out is tragic in some way. I don't think I've felt emotionally close to her since 1976 or so, when I was 11.

Yet I've still enjoyed the rituals and pleasantries of the holidays and birthdays since then. My mother and I didn't love each other, but we maintained the dutifulness of the relationship. That was something, at least. Not love, but nonetheless a deeper tie than simply an act or fa├žade. Four-and-a-half months into the Nothingness does feel odd and empty, but, as I mentioned above, I've felt "odd and empty" plenty of times before. "I ain't skeered."

A sidenote:  On Mother's Day Sunday, on my way to work to put in some extra hours, I stopped at a sandwich shop. There was a 30-ish tattooed chick behind the counter who, though it was 5 minutes after their 11am opening time, had me wait because they weren't open yet. When I was finally allowed to place my order, she said bright-n-shinily, "So, are you a Mommie?" Oh, Jesus, I thought. Not only have I not had any kids, but I don't even have a lunch-date with my own mother to go to today. And now I'm supposed to explain all of my life choices (or rather, how-things-just-turned-out) to a sandwich chick!

Me, out loud: "Nope."
Sandwich chick: [silent for a few seconds, then reaches for an empty cup and slaps it on the counter in front of me] "Here. On the house." And then she actually says, "For all of us who've chosen not to bring life into this world."

Oh, Jesus. Really? She was about 30 years old. Her current public stance of "not choosing to bring life into this world" was just silly to me. She most likely will meet a fellow-tatted kid on the street within the next year and they'll go at it like rabbits and have a kid or two out of accident and wedlock (or else out of marriage via some vegan guru or something).

Of course, I didn't say any of that. Just said thanks and took the cup and helped myself to some Mountain Dew out of the fountain. And felt, against my will, a bit of solidarity with both the universe and the young woman kindly trying to make me feel like I was a part of it.

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