It occurs to me that you may think my relationship with your mother is peaches and cream because I write so lovingly about her. I’ve learned the hard way that writing in the moment can be a dangerous exercise because thoughts and feelings have yet to be digested. Indigested thoughts are just as bad as indigested food. So most of my letters to you are usually more fully formed, which means I have had time to reflect on the broader situation and can keep the bigger picture in mind.
All that being said, we have some tough moments. Some of the coldest Cold Wars happen within the four walls of our apartment. The longest one just happened this past weekend. It extended from Friday evening all the way through to Sunday morning with a two-hour respite Saturday morning. The casualties? We passed up lunch at our favorite vegetarian place, we passed up two opportunities to have dinner with friends, we both sulked in different parts of the house all Saturday, and there were plenty of tears – about the only good thing I can say is there was no spilt milk.
It’s almost embarrassing to write about what will set off something like this. There was no infidelity or mistrust or financial problem (and it wasn’t games this time!!!). For your mom, it was straightforward – I got annoyed from something she did and she doesn’t like feeling like an annoying partner. I subsequently just walked off as she was crying and then we didn’t talk for the next twenty four hours. During that period, she felt alone and never tried to talk to me, thinking that she should leave me alone so she didn’t further annoy me.
From my side, I struggled to come up with a reason for why I was so upset. She raised her voice, dropped a descriptive f-bomb, but that was about it. I walked off the moment I got exasperated (i.e., immediately); I didn’t know what to do, but I did know that I didn’t want to say anything I would regret or do something to myself that I shouldn’t.
I had twenty four hours to figure out why I walked off and stayed upstairs. All I know is, with each passing minute, more inertia built up to stay put. I held on tighter to the belief that she should come up and see if I was okay. In the past, it always felt like I was the one checking up on her regardless of whose fault it is. I reasoned to myself that I shouldn’t be penalized for feeling annoyed, which is a normal human emotion.
In the end, your mom came through. She did end up sleeping on the couch because I fell asleep on the bed and she didn’t feel welcomed (that must be your mom’s single most annoying thing – thinking that she’s not welcomed to her own bed!!!). On Sunday morning, she came upstairs to the bedroom to talk it out…God knows how long I would’ve continued the Cold War if she hadn’t come up.
What did we learn? I keep repeating my same stupid habits and mistakes. And she should do what’s counterintuitive when dealing with me because I’m far from a perfectly rational being particularly when it involves emotion. I told her that when I’m pushing her away, that’s exactly when she should be at her “annoying” best in terms of laying it on thick with her actions of love. It doesn’t make sense to her or to me, but I think that’s my language of love. I suppose it has to do with me feeling accepted and loved even in those situations. I hope you don’t ever become a psychologist because then you will see me as the basket case that I actually am :X
The funny thing about it all is that I can sit there in a room fuming about nothing, upset about seemingly everything, and still take the time to write your mother’s Valentines Day card (which I promise was sweet). The message wasn’t difficult to write nor did it feel forced, which I interpret to mean that despite how I may be feeling, the underlying current towards her is still the same warm bubbly.