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Monday, June 25, 2007

Telephones Are Two-Way Communication Devices

I called my mother on Thursday evening. This would make it at least the fourth time I've called without her reciprocating. And that doesn't include the times I called and got no answer, and left a voice mail. Yes, I'm counting. Her voice sounded pretty bad, as bad as I've ever heard it. And she seemed a little low. I asked the usual questions about her, my aunt, the cats, her neighbours. It can be tough to get her talking. And then, about five minutes into the conversation I heard it.

The sound of her fingernails tapping on the table as she's talking to me. My mother has this habit of, when annoyed or bored, drumming her fingers on the nearest hard surface. You know how people do it, from the forefinger to the pinkie, individually, before returning to the forefinger again. Tap tap tap tap short break tap tap tap tap. Over and over again. But I persevered. Eventually she said oh, while you're there, I need more cat litter (I order it for her in multi-packs as it's too heavy for her to lug around from the supermarket, even with help from the neighbours). Okay, not a problem. How's the wine? Oh fine. Are you sure? Well, I suppose I could do with a few more bottles. So, two online orders were placed after the phone call. I decided to 'gift' her with the wine, it seems to be all I can do for her, really.

As always, she told me that my brother calls her every week, faithfully. As always, she relayed the fact that he doesn't say much, but it's so good of him to call. I just laughed and said that must be nice to get a grunt or two on a weekly basis. What I wanted to say was: He may call you and say nothing and that may be the most valuable thing to you, but you have two other children who may not call you as often, but who do at least ask about your life and certainly do more for you. I didn't, I remained mute. What's the point? I did ask her how he's doing with his new family, she said I don't know, I never ask about that.

I have no wish to share the intricacies of my life with my mother. My mother has this way with her children, of not asking about or discussing things with the person, directly. She will make comments or ask questions about my sister, to me, but not communicate with her directly on these things. She does the same with my sister, about me. My brother can't comment about either of us, he never gets in touch, which is why she's treated to a series of grunts. I tried committing to communication with him after our dad's death, but that has fizzled away due to lack of input from him.

My mum knows I have been travelling to the States, Rhona told her in conversation. But she's never asked me about it. More of the 'I don't know, I never ask about that' approach. I won't volunteer either, not since the day I told her that the last man I was involved with, passed away after heart surgery. Her reply, and I'll quote because I'll never forget it: "You don't have much luck with men, do you? Irene (her sister) was telling me the other day that she saw a fox at the bottom of her garden." Yes, that is exactly how it went, with those two sentences running into each other.

When my dad was alive, we alternated weekly calls, initiated by my mum because it was difficult for my dad to speak, and moreso, be understood. So it was usually between she and I and with a quick chat with my dad. He hated so, in making people uncomfortable with not understanding what he was trying to say and always cut conversations short. But even those few words he would exchange with me, were full of interest and love and honesty. While my mum told me about the pets and the house and the neighbours.

My mother. My mother who trusts only me with her finances, but will never care if I'm happy. But you know what, one of these days I'll tell her just how happy I am, finally. Whether she cares, or not.


Sally-Sal said...

"My mother. My mother who trusts only me with her finances, but will never care if I'm happy. But you know what, one of these days I'll tell her just how happy I am, finally. Whether she cares, or not."

Fi, it's as if you were writing those words about my life.

She's wrong.

You've found your own way in this world. You've found the love of a good man.

The hell with her and her pettiness. I'm so proud of the woman you are, in spite of how she didn't contribute.

George said...

Good on you Fiona. We all know what a marvellous person you are, what you have been through, how happy you are and how much happier you will be one day soon. It's too bad whan you family is like that.

By the way ... I tap pinky to forefinger.

Fusion said...

How sad that your mother is so superficial Fiona. I'm sorry for you both, but more so your mom. She's the one that is missing out the most.
My mom has started getting more self absorbed in her life lately, and I believe it's becuase of her age and illness that she does it.
It's a shame she will not be able to share as much in your happiness.

Fiona said...

Oh Sally I'm sorry to hear it's like that for you...but then again, our mothers have made us stronger because of this...in their own ways they gave more than they intended.

I'm proud of you too hon, proud of your strength and beauty, inside and out.


George - thank you. I am going to be so damn happy one day and she'll not even have been part of my journey. Her loss. I tried that tapping thing and it's really hard for me to do it like you do! :)

Fusion - you're absolutely right about her and it's sad. I'm proud of my sister and I, the women we've grown into despite her not really being there for us in any way. I'll never forgive her for making my dad be the one to care for my sis after she had major breast reduction surgery. She failed her so badly then, as her mother. All is good though, I'm happy!!! :)

Sunny Delight said...

Your mother, wow, she reminds me so much of a woman I know...and I wonder, if her daughter will someday feel the same, it rather frightens me in that her daughter now is much like her....Which cannot be said about oh-so-loving-you...you are your father's daughter...be proud of that.

Fiona said...

Sunny - I have never aspired to be like my mother. I haven't ever seen her happy. She's turning into her own mother as she ages. I'm not sure what I ever did or didn't do, to make her feel the way she does about me, perhaps she's just incapable of wanting to feel any kind of emotion. I agree, there's more of my father in how I've turned out, thank goodness! Hugs :)


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