Monday, May 07, 2007

Why I don't like talking to her

Whenever I watch television shows like Gilmore Girls, I wish I had a better relationship with my mother. Granted, the Gilmores are an ideal case which I doubt reflects the average mother-daughter relationships. I imagine most of my friends have a decent relationship with their mothers, but there's always some degree of parental antagonism.

I probably talk to my mother every two to three weeks. Usually, it's my mother calling me because they haven't heard from me in awhile. Yes, I'm a bad daughter, but it's just not fun sometimes to talk with her. For my own sanity, I tend to minimize my interactions with her. I've learned over the years to edit the personal information I share with her.


During a recent conversation, she was telling me how she's been keeping herself busy now that she has retired. Ever since she announced her retirement plans, I had been concerned about exactly what she'd do to keep herself busy. Other than work, she didn't have many hobbies or activities other than gardening, cooking, watching soap operas and sleeping. The worst thing is seeing people retire and become bored or depressed over the lack of mental activity and loss of human interaction that comes with not working.

I was happy to hear that she taken up calligraphy classes. As a child, she never worked very hard to write characters. She simply treated it as a homework assignment. Now, she wants to improve her technique and is even encouraging my father to join her in class.

Then she asked me as if she'd forgotten, "what class are you taking now?"

"I'm taking the next language class."

"Why? You aren't speaking any better since taking the last class."

A bit taken a back I responded, "I think it's helps me remember more words and understand grammar better. It's just helpful to practice speaking regularly with others. Besides, I want to learn to read and write a little."

"That's not something that's going to be very useful to you."

Yeah, this is why talking to her is just not healthy sometimes. Her incredulity about anything I do is so frustrating. Why couldn't she have me a simple question like, "What have you learned?" Even if she didn't care at all, how about just saying, "That's nice." Basically, I was told that I can't speak a darn and that I can't learn. Gee, was she this encouraging when I was growing up?

The next day, I told Tim about my conversation. He's seen me get upset before after conversation with my mother. He doesn't have the highest opinion of her. He laughed and said, "your mother's lame."

I inquired, "Am I ever like that?"

"What do you mean?"

"Do I make comments like that to people?"

"No, never."

"Okay, good. I'm worried I've picked up some of her habits."

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