Fuck the Ban
I'm a little bit furious right now so this may not come out smoothly, but as I said above, fuck it is the phrase of the morning. But we are just pausing here because sometimes I refer to my parents as a unit - to the point that Golden Boy and I will sometimes say, "Have you spoken to the Unit?", referring to the Parental Unit - and it should be clarified that they are individual people. My point is that I may write "they" or "my parents" when I mean one or the other. Sorry in advance. Deal.
So my beloved grandpa in Florida is turning 90 this summer, and my parents are planning a party for him. After my last visit to see my parents, which resulted in my having a panic attack, complete with screaming/begging at my father to stop the car he was wildly driving in his fury at my mother so I could get out and cry hysterically while sitting on the ground of a hot parking lot, I said I would never stay with my parents again.
I decided their relationship with each other is not healthy, and it is not healthy for me to live among it. After Golden Boy told my parents about my blog, my relationship with them deteriorated further, and now we barely talk. Sometimes I email with my dad, but often when they are calling, I see the Caller ID, and guiltily press that button that silences the ringing.
Kind of don't know why my mother wants to even talk to me - our talks never go well, even though we both think we're trying.
On Monday I was on the phone with my father for a long time. Ironic - growing up we didn't get along at all. He tried in his own way and failed, I tried in my own way and failed. My moving out of their house was the best thing that could have happened for our relationship. So now I'm closer to him than I am to my mom, who I grew up thinking would be my best friend as an adult. Weird. Anyway.
So my grandpa. When my father initially told me that he and my mom were tossing around the idea of throwing (tossing, throwing ... is there some deeper meaning here, or is it just a pipe?) a birthday party and asked if I'd come, I didn't know.
I have not had steady work in a year. I am thousands of dollars in debt, and two weeks ago just started at a new law firm. Plus, it's not just the cost of a cross-country flight to consider. Staying at my parent's house is not an option - it's simply not healthy for me. For over a decade I have said that what I value most is my mental health. Thus, it is very important to me that I do whatever I need to in order to protect that. I refuse to compromise it. Because you can only lose your mind so many times before one day it's lost, and you can't get it back. So far, I've always been able to get my sanity back, but there's absolutely no good reason to tempt fate.
As I was saying, it's not just the airfare to consider. It's funding a place to stay in Florida as well, possibly a rental car, meals, etc. Sure I could pack half a dozen pb&j sandwiches but ... could I? So as far as I was concerned I was not going to see my grandpa this summer.
My father called this morning and said that if I wanted to attend my grandpa's birthday party, they would pay for the flight. I told him I still couldn't commit, but the idea had now been pushed into the possibility range.
And then we were interrupted, by my mother telling my father they hadn't agreed on anything. So my father took back the offer. I laughed, because this is kind of typical for them. My father offers, my mother overhears and raises an objection, my father (seemingly regretfully) retracts, my mother talks but says nothing of substance, and then when we have a family discussion, she claims a misunderstanding. Typical. Then my father said my mother wanted to speak with me quickly (I'd told my dad when he called I was on my way out to the Farmer's Market).
My mother came on the phone and spoke in circles, which she denied. She said things like my grandfather would be very happy to see me. That I'm always welcome to stay at their house. I told her I did not understand what she was saying. She said more words, which clarified nothing. Finally I interrupted and said, "Are you saying you'll pay for me to come to Florida?" The correct answer was either, "Yes" or "No."
But I got neither. I got something like, "Grandpa would love for you to celebrate his birthday with him," or "We would love to see you and you're always welcome here." In the back of my mind I wondered if my mother was having a control issue, and it was just that she wanted to be the one to make the offer to pay for airfare.
I don't know. My father said she'd wanted to talk to me. But when I pointed that out, she told me he said to her, "Talk to your daughter!" Which he did. I know he said that because my brother and I have complained numerous times that we greatly dislike when they fight with each other while on the phone with us.
Talk about a fuckup. My mother ultimately hung up on me. I would bet my life that my parents then yelled at each other. I'm positive of it. It's experiences like this that make me feel a little less bad about avoiding their phone calls. Why are they incapable of presenting a united front? Why can't they agree on whether they'll pay for something for one of their kids or not?
I'm not going to get into whether they should or shouldn't. That's their decision to make. But from my end, one parent offered something, and then the other parent took it away and then alluded to offering it. But when I asked for clarification as to whether it was really being offered, I walked away not knowing. Is it me, or is there something wrong with that?
So I propose a senior-swap. Would anyone in South Florida like to go see my grandpa in mid-August to wish him a very happy birthday and give him a hug from me? He doesn't drool and won't grab your ass or anything inappropriate. In turn, I will go visit an old relative of yours in the Bay Area for you. Old people like me - they think I'm a very nice, Jewish girl. Who's in?