Sometimes we have to let go of stuff. Just shake it off and move past it. Then again, sometimes we let go of things we should hang on to.
My mom has always been a strange bird. She’s always admired women who are sophisticated and elegant. She’s actually a bit of a snob. As a result, I’ve always made it a point to do my hair and makeup and wear something nice and stylish when I visit her.
Since she’s been in the hospital for the past week and I’ve gone to see her on a daily basis, it’s brought to my attention that I’ve let go of a lot of stuff when I should be hanging on. As I prepare to see her, I realize that I don’t do my nails anymore. I have pretty decent nails and I’ve never had to wear acrylics or anything like that but, at some point, I just started clipping them short and I don’t even wear clear polish anymore. Jewelry? I kind of stopped doing that, too. I always wore rings and a necklace. My favorite necklace chain broke a long time ago and, with the price of gold being what it is, I never replaced it. And then the next one broke or got lost or something. Same with the earrings. I lost a favorite big gold hoop and didn’t replace it. Just let it go and wear cheap ones because I have some nice ones for formal affairs but not for everyday. Rings got too tight to be comfortable so they just sit in my jewelry box and I don’t wear them. I even lost a diamond in my wedding ring and put it away instead of getting it repaired.
Most days, I don’t even put on my makeup. Clothes? I’ve gained so much weight I refuse to invest money in nice clothes so I’m a walking advertisement for Walmart. And then, there’s my ankles. A real dilemna. I used to wear heels and nice sandals and suffer through it but the last year or so, it’s been flip flops or athletic shoes.
I’ve been thinking about this all week. As I prepared for my daily visit to Mom. When did I just give up and let it all go? When did I start hiding out and avoiding friends, family and acquaintances? I’m looking in the mirror and wondering where I went and who’s this frumpy old toad staring back at me? I’ve been doing my hair (but I need a haircut) and trying to find something decent to wear that doesn’t scream “CHEAP” and debating if it’s worth wearing nice shoes when I have to walk two blocks downtown from the parking garage to the hospital in the 100 degree temperatures.
Yesterday, I got really angry with Mom. I went to see her and all she talked about was my “beautiful, elegant, sophisticated” cousin who had called her. Then she moved on to another cousin, and another. She went on and on and I kept trying to change the subject and get her to recognize how my sister and I had been taking care of her and visiting everyday and sending flowers. I tried to talk about my brother who drove all the way to Louisville from New Orleans and missed work just to be here for one day. To be with her during her surgery. And still she bragged on my bitchy, snobby cousins and critcized her own children and complained about my dad who died twelve years ago. About how she’d always been embarrassed by his “lack of sophistication and manners”. I found myself getting more and more angry and I felt like I had to get out of there before I said something I’d regret. I made a few disparaging remarks about my cousins and then stopped myself. She wasn’t getting it. She even made a remark about my son. “Tell David, although he probably doesn’t care, that I’m recovering and I love him.” Because David didn’t make it to the hospital to see her.
I was so angry and I really couldn’t figure out why. I should have just recognized it for what it was. Mom has always been this way. I think it was just because we’ve all been so supportive during her surgery and she just blew it off and talked about how my cousins cared about her so much. How they would have gotten her a companion to take care of her on a daily basis. Hello! My brother lives with you and takes care of you on a daily basis. My sister lives three miles away and takes care of you on a daily basis. Your oldest son lives ten miles away and is always there for you. Everytime I brought that up, she negated it. I didn’t say, “Where are all the cards and flowers from your elegant and sophisticated nieces, Mom? They talk a big talk about hiring companions for you and how much they love you but where are they?” A couple of gushy phone calls a year don’t compare to what your own family does for you. Do they take you on cruises? Do they spend $1,000 dollars in gas for the RV so you can be comfortable when we take you to our place in Florida? Do they cook for you or clean for you or do your laundry? Why can’t she see that?
My blood pressure was sky high by the time I got home. Although I’d already done my pool laps in the morning, I went out and did another 60 laps and worked with my water weights until I had burned off the adrenalin. I kept trying to figure out why I got so angry and I finally decided it was because I was made to feel inadequate and substandard. And that’s my fault. No one, even my mother, should make me feel that way because it’s up to me to make sure I’m NOT inadequate or substandard.
And so, along with losing weight and exercising again, I also have to find myself and regain my confidence and self-esteem. I think I’m going to get off here and go do my pool laps. And then I think I’m going to do my nails and look for some rings.