conversations with my family

I was avoiding calling my mom. Yes, she had called three times. Is there a special section of hell reserved for daughters who refuse to call their mothers? If there is, I suppose I have a reserved table, because I don’t even feel guilty about not returning her calls.

Her last message even mentioned Christmas and I imagine that avoiding moms who want to talk about the wonderment of the holiday is cause for having your name of the VIP list for that special hell section — they lift that velvet rope right up when they see you.

Anyway, I did call her back. Eventually.

At some point, she asked how I was, so I mentioned about how my house didn’t have power and I was freezing and how there was a hole in the roof. You know, what the hell, share my life a little.

Her response? Concern and caring for her eldest child? Heartfelt emotion and and outpouring of love and sympathy? Well, kind of.

I believe her exact words were “your sister is mad at me right now and you know I love my granddaughter and I don’t like going a day without seeing her, but your sister’s not coming by today, but it’s not my fault and…”

I drifted off at that point, so I’m not sure why exactly it wasn’t my mom’s fault, but since I had already heard the story from my sister earlier in the morning, I figured I could fill in the gaps for whatever I missed.

After hearing a bit more about her woes, I finally got to the point of the many calls – she wanted to let me know that she sent me a Christmas present. It probably sounds sweet, but with my mom, everything has a motive. Of course, she would deny it. She truly believes that her every move is selfless — a complete sacrifice of her own life for others. Even the act of sending me a present is cause for great fanfare.

So, great, sent me a present. Can’t wait. Tell her if I don’t get it by Tuesday at 3, because she’ll get her money back for the postage. Alrighty then.

Later that day, my sister called. “Mom said that a tree crashed into your house and now you don’t have any electricity.” Well, kind of. You see, it’s not that my mom wasn’t listening to me. It’s just that she was collecting the information to use in another conversation where she could be dramatic. I’m sure she’s told the story several more times by now, and at this point, my house has been washed away in a mudslide and I’m living under a bridge.

Then my sister went on about how my aunt is sending all the relatives notes, telling them not to stop by my grandparents’ house for Christmas, because they aren’t up to it, but my grandparents are sad, because they are lonely and want people to stop by for Christmas and my God it all makes my heart hurt and I feel like the worst person in the world because my first thought was that I’m glad I’m not there.

This afternoon, I got the note myself, tucked into a Christmas card. The holiday spirit leapt right from the page. I felt like flying down on Christmas day out of spite. Which isn’t very Christmasy, but then, apparently that’s not what my family is going for this year. I probably would if I wasn’t already planning to be at P.’s family’s house. As it is, I don’t know when I can get down there. I’d like to get in a trip after Christmas, but that isn’t looking likely. It would difficult anyway — how do you visit your grandparents and not your mom when everyone lives in the same house? How about sneaking in some time with your niece while avoiding your sister? I guess this is what they mean when they say you don’t pick your family. You would like to pick some of them, but the others keep hanging around.

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