April 13, 2022
Mom and I have often had a rocky relationship. I love my mom, and she certainly means well. She is stubborn and, like many of her generation, has fallen under the sway of the lies of the right-wing political fiction machine. It’s infuriating; hearing her parrot the ridiculous talking points of the Fox “News” ghouls borders on the tragic. I have tried to convince her that their attitudes are incompatible with the Catholicism that she so ardently believes. When I point out the contradictions, she brushes it off with an “I know,” but continues to espouse the right’s corrosive vitriol.
I know this is a poor way to begin a happy birthday, but I wish my mom had more of a presence in Henry’s life, if not my own. She was always a supportive parent when I was growing up, but she had her opinions. It was tough to please Mom: she always had a judgement to pass on everything—usually negative—and she had subtle and overt ways of making her dissatisfaction known. I fear I might get that from her. I do see a lot of my mom in me. While I’m sure there are some positive traits in there somewhere, I find them difficult to identify. Maybe that’s my problem.
Mom and I have been estranged for a while, for reasons similar to my brother. We still talk sometimes, but not as much as I’d like—mostly for my own mental health. Her living in Ohio also does not help. It may be the best pace for her, but it makes it difficult to visit. She does not like to travel and seems content to never leave her neice’s basement she inhabits with her sister. When I suggest that she come down for a visit, she usually responds in the negative, listing all the things she doesn’t like about travel. Yeah, it’s often arduous, but you’d think spending time with her son and grandson would make the inconvenience worth it. You’d think. She also doesn’t want me visiting: when I mention riding up, she tells me she’d worry about me the whole time, so it’s better not to.
We FaceTimed with her this evening to sing happy birthday, and that went pretty well. Maybe our planned visit this summer will be good.
Happy birthday, Mom. See you soon.