Monday, December 28, 2009
Back from the trenches of a visit with my parents. I lasted a whole 40 hours this time! As my minister says, it is hardest to be spiritual with your own family, though I tried. My oldest daughter was very impressed with my ability to stay calm and focused with my mother in a tense situation. I'm glad I appeared that way because I didn't feel it inside - maybe that non-anxious presence practice is paying off!
We had a great trip down - I used some gift cards to buy a family gift of a portable DVD player for the car, which was a huge concession. I've always been against having video in the car, especially because my son gets very cranky and controlling about watching anything, but it seemed to keep everyone happy for a good chunk of the trip, and they didn't overdo it. I also pat myself on the back for being prepared with good toys, extra batteries, books and healthy food!
We had a nice visit with my mom on Saturday when we got to town. I hate getting presents from her though, because she is high-maintenance. She requires multiple expressions of gratitude over a period of days, sometimes weeks, before she is satisfied. She got me a new pea coat and some really cool shoes, which was unexpected. The littles got these really cool cots to travel with. Unfortunately, Lucy's broke the first time she slept on it, but they are going to replace it. I thought my mom would freak out, but she was pretty cool about it.
It was an interesting visit. Because my mother has mental health issues, I have an internal filter, and am very careful about what I say - anything mentioned about certain people or things sets off a diatribe; and many offhand comments will be taken personally and blown out of proportion. So I don't say much at all. However, my kids do NOT have the "Betty-filter" and say whatever they want, which is right and good. However, it makes me cringe, because it often brings on a firestorm of negative reaction from her. At one point, my mother asked why my teenage daughter was acting a certain way, and I was so tempted to say, "she's acting normal. I'm the one that has been trained to tiptoe around you so as not to set you off!" but I refrained. Her narcissism is exhausting. Everything is about her, and is taken negatively and judgmentally. It is so opposite from the way I try to live my life and perceive those around me (with the caveat that I am a work in progress!), but it is a good reminder to me to keep working on being non-judgmental, open, and to maintain my skill for good boundaries.
We had a nice dinner with my friends Erica & Keith, and they invited my mom. Yesterday we visited my dad, and I have some concerns about the nursing home care. He had a mohawk! They had literally shaved all of his head except the top - and he has beautiful hair! I was pretty upset about it.
I also don't think they're taking very good care of his hygeine. I left a message for the social worker today, so hopefully I'll get some results soon.
My mother in law took our little dog home with her; she has been very lonely since her dog died last fall, but now she wants to change her name, and is already feeding her from the table and...UGH! The dog is kind of a PITA, but I don't want her to get fat and sick from being spoiled rotten or being unsupervised. And my son will be very upset if she changes Basil's name!
I guess vacation, as it were, is over, and I'm back to studying and cleaning up the massive holiday mess.