Seven years is how long it takes for me to think if I try hard enough, I CAN achieve that Norman Rockwell visit with my mother.
Seven years is how long it takes for me to forget that we can’t hope for Norman Rockwell, because we are more of a Norman Bates clan.
Remember that trip I took to the Redwoods earlier in the summer? I invited my mother to come along. In most families, that would be a good thing, but in mine that is a certifiably crazy thing.
My dear narcissistic mother.
Seven years is how long it takes for me to forget that she doesn’t like me. I shan’t forget again. Of course I said that seven years ago, and I did.
No matter how much I plan, how perfect I make it, how much money I spend, or how much I think all of that will make it Norman Rockwell…it doesn’t. In fact, I’m calling bullshit on you Norman Rockwell. I don’t think that ideal family picture exists for anyone. And if it does, I don’t want to know about it.
It started out so perfectly innocent, like in the horror films where you go on a family vacation and don’t expect that one of you will morph into a monster. A Momster I mean.
Except this is not new. This is not a virus. This is not the result of a rabid animal bite. These behaviors are based on a 57 year old dysfunctional relationship.
It’s always the same. She gets mad at me for some perceived slight and I cower and beg for her forgiveness. She stops speaking to me and I beg her to tell me why. I apologize over and over even though I have no idea what I did to warrant her anger.
So why did I pick the time my daughter and her fiancé were with us to stand up to my Momster? I haven’t got a clue.
Why did I choose to stand up to her in the confines of a Chevy Suburban where none of us were able to escape? I have no idea.
But I’m not sorry.
I am sorry that my daughter’s fiancé had to see me turn into a crazy person, but baptism by fire I say. Let’s see how serious he is about my daughter. Let’s see how much he can take. I am laughing as I type this. Crazy maniacal laughter.
My husband said it best when he compared my Mother and I’s relationship to fish. It’s good at first, but after three days it starts to stink.
I hate it when he’s right.
Ever since I have been home from that trip, I have been wracked with regret, anger, confusion, and worst of all…self loathing. So much self loathing that I imagine doing myself harm.
I don’t wonder why my sister committed suicide. I know why. I’m going to kick her ass when I see her again for leaving me here all alone to deal with our Momster.
I have healed just enough from our vacation to realize I may have gotten out of the Suburban, but I’m still riding the crazy train. And so is she. In fact, my Momster is the engineer.
And just like every time before, she is sending me the predictable hate mail. The follow up letters. The one where she uses bible scripture to outline why I’m going to hell. The one where she drudges up childhood failures. The one where she takes no responsibility whatsoever for getting angry for no apparent reason. She never remembers that part.
Luckily I was in Havasupai Arizona when the poison penned correspondence arrived. My daughter opened it and was horrified at it’s contents. She threw it away in an attempt to save me from it. Little does she know I already know what it says. It’s the same as all of the those before it, and the same as those yet to be written.
Because she is far from done with me yet.
But I am going to have to disembark the crazy train. I have reached the end of the line. As much as I have been trained (pun intended) to ride it out with her, I can’t do it anymore.
Until I forget again.
Only seven years to go.