Witch/Which Mother? 9-28-11

Witch Mother Makes An Appearance: Today is a grey, wet, merciless looking day. It started out decently between my daughter and me. I met her at the apartment with the intent to shop for PJ’s. The new furniture, ottoman and two side tables, fits like a glove. No problem, no defects. But my daughter’s room was dusty and her brush had weeks of hair in it. There was a nice thick pat of tooth paste on her desk blotter, where she sets her toiletry bag (oops) and the staff had let an event slip by that was looked forward to by our daughter for two months. Oh well. She didn’t seem to care about that and hopefully we have closed the crack that allowed the slip. Of course, I commented on everything, provided instructions and clearly registered some discontent.

On My Broomstick: I felt like the wicked witch of the west in there and also that other word, the one that begins with the B and rhymes. I used humor and self-deprecation “Oh mothers, we nag, nag, nag” which my daughter heartily endorsed, but none of it felt good. I fly in there on my broomstick (probably should use it for sweeping rather than transport) and poke around. Ugh. I recall my own mother visiting my New York apartment and then our Connecticut rental cottage in the woods, and leaving me feeling bad. I had too many plants in the apartment,  “Jill, do you really need so many plants?”,  and a dirty sink, “You know, you could wash your sink once in a while” spoken in the presence of my future in-laws. Now I am she and there are witnesses here too, the staff, lots of them.

Kohl’s: My daughter chose the chain store Kohl’s to look for PJ’s because it is nearby. And what a disaster that was. Kohl’s seems to cater to larger folk, no petites of course and this little lady is 4’8″. It is not just the length but the scale of everything. Arm holes are huge, and forget where the inseam is. Nothing really worked, so we left to scour for another local option (silly me, we could have gone to the mall and back by the time we finished shopping “close to home”, and suffered less) and empty-handed, returned to Kohl’s at my daughter’s request,  for try-ons and sizing choices and challenges in a fitting room whose door wouldn’t close unless you smashed it, which I did.

The Vise: In the mid 1950’s there was an American television show on Friday nights that opened with a man standing between concrete walls that slowly began to close in on him. The Vise was its name and that scene remains my association when caught helpless, trapped in a no-win with our daughter. Weird and dramatic but the image of powerlessness incarnate for me.  The show scared the dickens out of me, but my sister and I never missed it. Kids!

Adios Amiga: Obviously the ordeal ended. I’m writing this post from home. And the daughter was left contented The whole excursion took two hours plus for two pair of PJ bottoms purchased eight minutes from her home. Two very long pair of PJ bottoms. Half of the dilemma is her tenacious fixation on achieving her shopping goal where other realities, such as Mom’s need to return her loaner car to the dealer, or that Mom has now tied a rope around one of the store beams and is about to hang herself, are irrelevant. The other half of the dilemma, as always, is Mom, who feels so guilty if she has to leave a child of hers discontented. This is an old and irritating ritual between my daughter and me. Yet as I flew off on my broomstick, I only felt relief. The staff and my daughter may think me a Witch and a B…!  Hey, they take good care of her and that’s what counts. As the Coordinator of the CRS observed today, with compassion for my daughter, “My mother is like that too.”

©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011

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