Rule One: Just Be Nice
Last night we were at my aunt's house for Passover. As we were leaving my cousin's husband gave me a hug and kiss goodbye. Then he did the same with my mother. Then he shook my dad's hand and patted his shoulder and said "I won't kiss you, but you know..." Clearly his implication was that he loves my father just the same. Men in my family don't kiss other men. That's just how it is. Everyone knows this. My mother gave my cousin a hard time about what he did. Loudly. In front of everyone. She did it in a joking manner but it was obvious she was making both my dad and my cousin's husband uncomfortable. I willed her to shut up to no avail. She does things like this ALL THE TIME.
Today for lunch I had matzah ball soup with two matzah balls. Before dinner my mother was preparing soup again, and she asked how many matzah balls I wanted in my soup. When I said two, she said I could only have one. We won't even go into why she asked what I wanted if she wasn't going to listen. I gave her my Glare of Death and she tried to explain her reasoning by saying that she wanted there to still be some matzah balls left. She has a HUGE bowl of them. Enough to last for days. Why do you make food if not for people to eat? Plus I offered to make some before I even got here. She haughtily pointed out that I didn't make any today. That's when I lost it - I told my mother that I can't win at all with her. She asks, I answer, she disregards my answer. I spent all day hanging around waiting for HER to be ready to leave to do errands (we'd agreed to leave at 10am but wound up leaving after 2pm), so I couldn't have cooked them today. Plus if I'd tried to, she wouldn't have let me, saying she already had them made. SOOOOOO FRUSTRATING!
Tonight at dinner my father yelled at my mother for how she was eating her soup. He then tried to make it her fault she got yelled at by reminding her that she wanted to be told when she did things at home that she'd be embarrassed to do in public.
Then later, I was telling my father that when I'm in S.F., I always think of him every time I remind myself to cut food rather than tear it so the tines on my forks don't become bent, because he used to say that to me when I was little. My mother said to him, "Is that what you want to be remembered for? Tines on forks?" HOW CRUEL! My father said nothing (what the hell can you possibly say to someone when they say that to you?!) and I told my mother that I think of my father for MANY reasons. After dinner when my father had left the kitchen, I pointed out to my mother how hurtful what she said was.
The funny thing is that her intentions are so pure. She really means to be a nice person. It's such a bizzare feeling to be telling a parent to do something they used to always tell me to do. In this case, it's "think about how what you say will make the person you're saying it to feel, BEFORE you say it." In simpler terms, think before you speak.
I love my mother. She has no friends. I am one of the very few people she talks with, and one of the even fewer people she goes places with. I sometimes HATE being with her though.