My mum and me, it’s complicated

My brother and I turned 48 ten days ago. Our mother called him and left a happy birthday message on his voicemail. She didn’t call me.

I didn’t expect her to, actually. Our relationship is complicated and has been forever (i.e., as long as I can remember.)

She can be really nice, but not for very long. Not just to me, but it seems like I coax it out of her, somehow. Never deliberately though. I just don’t think we are suited for one another.

So most of the time she’s been absent from my life, and some of the time she’s been very nice to me. I remember a lot more of the former, sadly.

Sadly? Not, really. It’s too bad, for sure, but I have been accustomed to this for decades so it’s just part of the ebb and flow of our relationship.

In the last ten days, two emotions filled me:

  1. I was vexed for a couple of days. Nothing new. Each time she plays favourite feels like a slap to my face and it hurts for a bit.
  2. I now feel liberated and much much lighter.

How did I go from one emotion to the other? I simply chose to stop caring about this: I chose to give her up.

I am aware that in doing so I renounce any hope for a healthy mother-daughter dynamic, and that I will regret it when it’s too late. But on the other hand, I did try very hard for so long and, it was probably never going to happen. So I closed that book and shelved it. I am no longer in the expectation. I am lighter, free-er, and less sad.

Mobilisation des troupes

love written in white on a red wallPapa a dit à demi triomphalement et à demi incrédule « Maman se soucie de moi, finalement ! » et ça m’a affectée. Et rassurée.

J’habite avec Papa. Ou plutôt, Papa habite avec moi. Quand mon fils est chez moi une semaine sur deux, c’est trois joyeuses générations qui cohabitent, avec le chat. Maman, elle, habite ailleurs. C’est compliqué. Compliqué, mais bien.

Alors quand Papa a manqué à l’appel (celui de Maman) un soir il y a quelques jours, c’était branle-bas de combat. Moi j’étais ailleurs. En fait, tout le monde était ailleurs !

Quand Maman n’arrive pas à joindre Papa, elle appelle mon frère. Lui m’écrit des SMSs. Moi j’en écris à Papa et à mon frère. J’étais prête à rameuter la voisine, mais mon frère s’apprêtait déjà à venir sur place.

Pas de panique, tout est rentré dans l’ordre dans la demi-heure : Papa a rappelé Maman une fois qu’il eu fini de causer dehors avec un voisin qui promenait Mirza.

Estimating distances

Here’s my folks’ estimations of how many kilometers I flew in 2006:

  • My dad opened at 20,000 km (12,400 mi)
  • My mum started at 3,000 km (1,800 mi) and seeing my face changed to 12,000 km (7,500 mi)
  • My brother volunteered 15,000 km (9,300 mi)

When my mum started at 3,000 km, I thought about the 4,800 km (3,000 mi) I spent in a car in NZ in 2004.

I flew almost 82000 km (51,000 mi).
I’m bad at estimating distances myself, mind you.

Pre-Christmas confusion

In order to add to the confusion, I’m writing this now. (nah, it’s not on purpose, really).

On the morning on 24 December I noticed a few questionable things:

  • Why are lobsters thawing?
  • Why is my brother coming over for dinner tonight?

Later in the day I got a phone call from a friend who was in the area, and we agreed to meet in Grasse for a stroll, maybe a coffee, and generally to catch up. We had some jolly good time and when it was time to split, he said he was almost in a hurry because he had dinner at his uncle’s at 9pm and that he’d better not be late for the Christmas dinner.

This is when it all became clear. Eureka-style, but far less glorious.