Today I felt recovered enough from Friday's answering machine freakout to try and call Mom again. The dutiful daughter part of me is glad I did; the rest of me wonders why I did.
Mom answered today. One of her first questions to me was, "Do you know why Friday was a hard day for me?" The correct response would have been a sarcastic reply something like this:
"Why, no, Mom. I've just been living, breathing, and thinking about Dad every day ever since he died. Why would I remember that Friday was the first anniversary of his death? I have a good memory for important dates, so, of course, that would be the one date I would totally forget. And let's not forget I called you on Friday because of the date. No way I remembered Friday might matter to you."
(The alert reader will have noticed from previous posts that I've been writing about Dad all week.)
Instead of being truthful, I lamely asked Mom if she had received my message on Friday.
Dismissively she admitted that she had. And, as she told me how wonderfully well my brother who lives near her treated her on Friday, I realized that it really didn't matter to her whether I had called or not. (The alert reader will not construe any adverse criticism of my brother by me in the previous sentence. I agree; he treats Mom as if she were his treasure.) However, no whatever I do to try to be caring will be spurned.
This is the story of my life. I.T. Prof suggested yesterday that Mom reacts to me the way she does because I, being the first child, changed her life forever and she discovered she did not like being a mother. My sister and brother are far less undesirable than I because I had already ruined her life before they showed up. This is an interesting theory. It also makes sense to me. My mom is good at holding grudges. And, just because I am a blood relation does not mean that she will cut me any slack. I suppose she reasons that since I did this terrible deed, there is no possible way for me to make it up to her.
I must accept this. I will still have attacks of conscience which will prevent me from severing all ties. But, I cannot go on trying to win the approval that, if it were coming, would have been given by now.
It is my fervent wish that my children do not have the same feelings towards their mother as I do towards mine.