Setting: breakfast table with Mom and the brother
Somewhere in the conversation, my mom started talking about a documentary she saw about AIDS and how we needed to be careful. Yes, this is her top concern at the moment. This was the third time I’d heard her speak about this in the past two days and my brother’s n-th time since he spends more time with her.
It gets very frustrating to hear the same thing again and again. I have no response and ultimately, I blew up saying we get it, we will be careful and could we please stop talking about this, we promise we won’t share needles or have unprotected sex with gay men. Rude, I know. But honestly, I just couldn’t. I’m at a point where I don’t want to put up with it – I think she has as much responsibility to be mindful and considerate of those around her as I have in being considerate in listening and giving her room to say what she wants.
Then she got super frustrated at me for not listening to her and for not being affected the same way she was by watching it. I… couldn’t even. Of course we got into a bigger argument about who listens and who talks too much and blah blah blah. Basically we reached a point where there was no possible peaceful resolution.
I told Jed (the brother) that I would take him to school because I just didn’t want to be home any longer and I needed to get work done anyway. So we left and in the car, the truth became clearer to me. The truth is always there, but not so very clear in the heat of the moment.
My mom just wanted to be acknowledged. She wants an acknowledging nod and yes, I understand. That’s all it would take. Then she wouldn’t need to repeat herself because she has peace that her message was delivered and received. Even if I don’t understand, it would save me, her, and Jed grief. Even if I already make sure I don’t share needles or have unsafe sex. Even if anything. So simple but so hard to do sometimes.
And it’s not just this moment but many after today. It’ll be a challenge, an abrupt change of a 26-year habit. But it’s what I need, it’s what she needs. It’s what I want. I’d like her to feel respected and accepted. It really wouldn’t cost me anything.
Good morning and happy Friday Eve!