Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Parents Have Left the Building

Cross-posted and archived from DC Metro Moms.  Original post date December 28, 2007.  I find this post fascinating now about three years later. My family is closer geographically and things aren't like this so much anymore. 

It is inevitable that the holidays bring not only massive doses of overindulging of food, gifts, food and ah yes, family time. Don't get me wrong, I love it. I really do. I love having all the family over to our house for the holidays. They get to see the tot open up gift after gift and I even love the winding up to the holiday/family time. What I don't love is the unsolicited advice.

I know it is well-meaning. I know it is meant to be helpful too. I also know that it will grate my nerves and that I must brace myself for it with each visit. I know that I will be astounded that after all this time there is still so much of it too.

What am I talking about? The advice of mothers of course. This year I learned that -

I should be washing my dryers lint tray in the dishwasher because clearly picking the lint out by hand is not sufficient. Funny that. I don't recall my mother ever washing the dryer tray at our house when I was growing up.

Oh! I also should remember to clear all beaded necklaces (given by said mother to grand-daughter) from the house because they are both a.) choking hazards and b.) strangulation devices. Silly me!

My kitchen is never clean enough. How could I forget to clean the hood of my stove? Or not clean it enough? Why does my oven smell like that by the way?

Did I know that there is sticky substance on my pantry floor? What caused it? Will I be cleaning that sticky goo now or do I intend to let lint (possibly from the dryer) coat it and make it harder to clean in the long run?

Do I always allow my child to scream like that and drink that much juice and eat that many cookies? Uh no. Grandpa gave them to her and so did you grandma!

Shouldn't the gingerbread house (also given by my mother and created by her with above mentioned grand-daughter) be placed somewhere high up so my child won't choke on the haphazardly placed jellybeans and gumdrops that are glopped on with zeal and cement like royal icing?

My mother is well-meaning. She means well so much that if she dares speak ill of anyone despite them not even being in a five-mile radius she will speak of them in a whisper. Maybe then it doesn't count? I know that years from now when she is gone I will miss these tidbits of helpful advice and nuances of her personality. I will. Just for now I wish that I did things more to her liking. I try so hard and it just never seems to be enough. I fight the urge to not lash out with a smart remark that in my childhood would have been rewarded with a smack on the mouth or being sent to my room with no TV for a week. She means well. She really does but does it have to be so much?

My parents left my house today for their long car ride home. I miss them already but I do not miss the unsolicited advice that never fails to make me feel not like the confident woman they raised, but instead like a child. Forever a child in their eyes and one that seems to need so much work. The holidays are over and I can finally relax.


oneincollegetwoinmiddleschool said...

Everytime I drop my mom off at the airport or see her off for the drive home, I always sing Handel's Hallelujah Chorus. I can't help it.

Reply December 31, 2007 at 08:14 PM Los Altos Mom said...

Wow! I thought it was just my mom. Every time we visit my parents, I get so much advice I can't take it. I know she means well. But after 20 years of living on my own, I know that I should: drive carefully, make sure the children brush their teeth, avoid transfats, and on and on and on. Sometimes it's not even verbal. My mother believes I should lose weight (OK, she's right, but it's my waistline, right???). When she brings out the dessert after dinner, she offers cake to my father, husband, and kids, but doesn't even offer any to me. She just makes the decision for me that I shouldn't have dessert. Drives me crazy.

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