Wednesday, December 8, 2004

From my Parents' House

 I am settled in, now, at my parents townhouse, in Highlands Ranch, CO, looking out the window at a small patch of the mountain range, missing J-Land. I find it difficult to be on the computer for very long here because my parents flutter in the background, muttering about interrupting phone service. They are both quite deaf, my mother more than my father, and don't realize how much I hear their complaints.  

The visit is going well. They have their routine worked out-who gets up first, who reads which newspaper first, who cooks, who cleans up, who has custody of the family room at what times, when each retreats to his or her bedroom to nap or read. I work to fit in around their schedule, spending time with each, although more with Mom than Dad. I know for their ages-82 and 79-they do quite well, and have a certain fondness for each other. They have been married 56 years, and are used to functioning together.  

It's not a particularly happy marriage, though. On their 50th Anniversary, after forbidding us to throw a party, my mother said, "Fifty years of cooking!" and my father said, "I am beginning to get the rules down now." These days she nags him to do stuff, then mutters angrily under her breath while he ignores her. I am not sure how much of this he actually hears, and how much he stonewalls. My particular struggle is not to rush in to play go-between, a childhood role in which I no longer wish participate. I'm doing quite well, too. Thank Goddess for therapy!   

I have hung out with my mother quiet a bit, encouraging her to talk about her childhood, and mine, about family history, and have worked hard at giving positive affirmations when she says anything about her feelings or experiences, and harder at trying to ignore the stream of negative comments and complaints which pour out of her. I have realized how lonely she is, and feel very sad about it. Still, we do manage to laugh about things-old family stories and situations, stuff going on today. I feel blessed that we have always shared a sense of humor.  

I am going to write her a letter, telling her what I want her to know-the good stuff I have recieved from her, how grateful I am, because I know now I would cry too much to get it out aloud. I get choked up just thinking about it. Too much emotion not allowed in the years of my youth, it comes leaking out around the edges now, and I am glad to feel it now, even if it makes both of them uncomfortable. But I want her to hear me, not feel upset because I am crying.  

 Colorado is beautiful, as always, and the mountains are so amazing to an Easterner like me. I am here for another week, and am enjoying the quiet beauty of the antiques I grew up with-at home(which was outside Philadelphia) and those from my grandmother's house. My mother has a decorator's ability to arrange her furniture,  paintings, and  odds and ends in a beautiful casual elegance that I could never aspire to. I enjoy it, but could not keep any place so neat!  

Thanks for listening to me, and please know I miss my J-Land friends almost as much as I miss Rene, and Roxy, my dog! I hope all are well, or at least hanging in, during this complicated, blessed holiday season.  

Blessings, Margo    

25 comments:

ksquester said...

Oh I am glad to hear from you. I have thought about you since you left. You are going to have to give me some tips when you get back about how you managed to do these things with your Mother. Mom and I can only talk about the weather or my Dad, who died several yrs ago. Glad you are enjoying your time there and hope you enjoy the rest of the time this week.   Anne

jeanno43 said...

Thank you for sharing this insight into your family with us. They must have something going for them to remain together for so long.  I think sometimes old age makes people unhappy. I know my parents changed a lot as they got older and never seemed happy xxxx

thebaabee said...

Margo,
It appears that everyone's parents are like this.  LOL  Makes me feel a tad better.  Thanks for sharing.  Love LuAnne

emfeasel said...

You are missed...hang in there....thank you for sharing..

E

judithheartsong said...

I have been thinking of you. Hang in there, it was always hard for me to not revert to a childlike state around my parents.... and you sound as though you are doing an admirable job of coping.
Big hugs,
judi

poetmom1968 said...

I'm glad you're enjoying your stay.  However your words come, in person or in a letter, is wonderful.  I know what you mean when you have so much emotion behind what you want to say that the tears start to roll.  The person you're talking to doesn't know if you're happy, sad, mad or glad.:)  
Steph

ancidkb47 said...

kisses, margo, so glad things are going well and sounds wonderful, even if it can be trying at time...and draining, intense, etc.  cheers to you!!  debra

krobbie67 said...

Hey There Margo! It's rough falling back into the old patterns. But, yes, thank goodness for therapy. It's sounds like it has served you well. My family is from the Philly area too. Hey, maybe we are long lost cousins. Happy Holidays! :-) ---Robbie

chasingmoksha said...

Mr. Grinch has dedicated his very first entry to you:

http://journals.aol.com/chasingmoksha/MrGrinchsBlog/entries/808

jeanno43 said...

Just popping by to wish you a truly happy Christmas and to say, hurry back to your journal xxx

wangfuzhong2 said...


What a soft and gentle heart you have.   A poignant look at a family all grown up, holding together while age and geography move you apart.   When your  mom and dad "argue", they aren't arguing at all.  After 56 years together, they know it doesn't matter really who wins and who loses.  They are part of each other.  The heavy breathing isn't there maybe.  But a"godam woman, where the hell did you put my glasses?" is as much an expression of love as "I love you."  They rely on each other's sounds and closeness.  On each other.  

The best is yet to come may be a  stretch.  But your very fallible mom and dad - who did the best they could by you - are happy now.  You should be glad about that.  And if you have any complaints about the way you were raised, just remember your gift of life was just that -- a gift.   Your mom raised her legs, spread them, screamed like hell, pushed like hell and out you came.  No entry fee.  You didn't pay to change and clean the thousands of diapers you pooped in.   Your clothes for the next 18 years were free.  So were the thousands of breakfasts, lunches and dinners you ate.  Free.  You lived in a home rent-free. Somebody else paid your doctor bills.  You didn't.  

Maybe dad was a little selfish, a little grumpy, and didn't express his feelings too well.  But he  loved you.  Deep inside you, you know he did and does.  Same with mom.  She seems preoccupied sometimes.  But she's so glad you're there.  Just imagine how many times she picked the Baby You up, sang to you cooed to you and snuggled you with joy.

Love.  You got that free, too.  And we know you got it because love was all over that little story of your visit to the folks in Colorado.  It was a visit I enjoyed as much as you enjoyed telling us about it.       Rob

wangfuzhong2 said...


What a soft and gentle heart you have.   A poignant look at a family all grown up, holding together while age and geography move you apart.   When your  mom and dad "argue", they aren't arguing at all.  After 56 years together, they know it doesn't matter really who wins and who loses.  They are part of each other.  The heavy breathing isn't there maybe.  But a"godam woman, where the hell did you put my glasses?" is as much an expression of love as "I love you."  They rely on each other's sounds and closeness.  On each other.  

The best is yet to come may be a  stretch.  But your very fallible mom and dad - who did the best they could by you - are happy now.  You should be glad about that.  And if you have any complaints about the way you were raised, just remember your gift of life was just that -- a gift.   Your mom raised her legs, spread them, screamed like hell, pushed like hell and out you came.  No entry fee.  You didn't pay to change and clean the thousands of diapers you pooped in.   Your clothes for the next 18 years were free.  So were the thousands of breakfasts, lunches and dinners you ate.  Free.  You lived in a home rent-free. Somebody else paid your doctor bills.  You didn't.  

Maybe dad was a little selfish, a little grumpy, and didn't express his feelings too well.  But he  loved you.  Deep inside you, you know he did and does.  Same with mom.  She seems preoccupied sometimes.  But she's so glad you're there.  Just imagine how many times she picked the Baby You up, sang to you cooed to you and snuggled you with joy.

Love.  You got that free, too.  And we know you got it because love was all over that little story of your visit to the folks in Colorado.  It was a visit I enjoyed as much as you enjoyed telling us about it.       Rob

wangfuzhong2 said...


What a soft and gentle heart you have.   A poignant look at a family all grown up, holding together while age and geography move you apart.   When your  mom and dad "argue", they aren't arguing at all.  After 56 years together, they know it doesn't matter really who wins and who loses.  They are part of each other.  The heavy breathing isn't there maybe.  But a"godam woman, where the hell did you put my glasses?" is as much an expression of love as "I love you."  They rely on each other's sounds and closeness.  On each other.  

The best is yet to come may be a  stretch.  But your very fallible mom and dad - who did the best they could by you - are happy now.  You should be glad about that.  And if you have any complaints about the way you were raised, just remember your gift of life was just that -- a gift.   Your mom raised her legs, spread them, screamed like hell, pushed like hell and out you came.  No entry fee.  You didn't pay to change and clean the thousands of diapers you pooped in.   Your clothes for the next 18 years were free.  So were the thousands of breakfasts, lunches and dinners you ate.  Free.  You lived in a home rent-free. Somebody else paid your doctor bills.  You didn't.  

Maybe dad was a little selfish, a little grumpy, and didn't express his feelings too well.  But he  loved you.  Deep inside you, you know he did and does.  Same with mom.  She seems preoccupied sometimes.  But she's so glad you're there.  Just imagine how many times she picked the Baby You up, sang to you cooed to you and snuggled you with joy.

Love.  You got that free, too.  And we know you got it because love was all over that little story of your visit to the folks in Colorado.  It was a visit I enjoyed as much as you enjoyed telling us about it.       Rob

judithheartsong said...

golly.... this has been like the longest two weeks of my life!!!!!!! :):( hugs, judi

chasingmoksha said...

Margo, are you still in Colorado?  Thinking of you, take care.

lamove04 said...

Margo: Thank Goddess for therapy, indeed!  Sounds like you're doing a great job in handling a stressful time with as much grace as possible.  

My parents had an equally difficult marriage, and yet when my Mom died, my Dad acted as if she were an angel sent from heaven, it was so strange!  

I'm glad that you're trying to bring some positive energy into your parents' lives while you can, come back to J-Land soon, and Happy New Year! --Albert

rachealcarol said...

Hi, just found your journal, nodding my head at 'functioning together', I have parents in their golden years.  Hope your stay goes well. xxR

jeanno43 said...

Missing you very much Margo, please come back. xxxx

judithheartsong said...

whare oh whare are you toonight, why did you leeeeave me here alllll alonnne?

:):) just popping in to say hi and we miss you. judi

ksquester said...

Missing you Margo....hope you are well.  Anne

hope5555 said...

Happy New Year, Margo. Are you still in Colorado?

csandhollow said...

Been missing you. I hope your visit with your parents has gone well.

fjrav said...

Margo, we miss you. :-{  Hope all is going well.

JF

watsbre said...

I enjoyed reading your journal. It was very nice :)

http://journals.aol.co.uk/watsbre/Brettthedonsdiary/

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