Monday, February 22, 2010

Tales of Tears, or What Anthony Did To His Mother

Anthony went for a haircut this past weekend.

After, when he blew in through the front door, all freshly clipped and looking boyish with a nice, short trim, I could tell something was up. He looked peeved.

“Well, I stopped by to see my mother. I made her cry.”

“Nice.”

This is a bit of a standing joke between me and my husband. Quite regularly, he "makes" his mother cry.

Of course, it doesn’t take much. In fact, pretty much any attempt at interaction with her will bring conflict, leading to tears, leading to vows of less interaction by Anthony, and ultimately, the need to crack open a beer.

Yes, our drinking is definitely up these days.

“What now, another visit from the police?”

The police often drop by to arrest or at least question brother John, the fallout from which usually lands in Anthony’s lap.

“Nope.”

“Ambulance need calling?”

“Nope.”

“Another unpaid bill, followed by resultant threats of service revocation?”

“I wish. That one’s easy to solve.” Anthony’s lips were tight.

I was getting really curious by now. Police, medical or Roger’s Cable demands are the top three trouble-makers for Anthony. As I’ve told you before, his mother insists she’s fine. Even though she can’t understand or pay her cable bill anymore. Among other things.

“I tried to gather her tax slips.” Anthony’s been doing his mom’s taxes for years.

“I told her a month ago to put aside the mail so I could go through it.” Doris can’t recognize anything tax-related, like a T-slip, so Anthony had asked her to just put all the mail in one pile, and he’d sort through it once a week.

“She handed me this jumbled pile of CRAP, mail mixed in with recipes and John’s baptismal certificate and letters from 20 years ago, and, and…CRAP, just piles of…CRAP.”

Clearly, articulate words were failing him. His tone was beyond peeved at this point.

“She’s got letters hidden all over the house, and the most recent mail mixed with a bunch of CRAP, and I told her she is making it impossible for me to do her tax return.”

“And she cried, just because you said that?”

“Uh, not quite.”

Aha! We were about to get to the heart of the matter, the reason Anthony had made his mother cry.

“I told her I could have her mail diverted to our house, if that would make it easier for her. Then, I could gather the tax stubs as they came in, and do her taxes.” He sighed heavily. “That’s when she cried.”

"She said I was too busy with my new family, and had no time for her. Then she asked exactly why your mother got to move in here."

I had to laugh.

And that is a perfect story to illustrate why you can’t win.

You try to help. They drive you crazy. You still try to help. They cry. They blame you. They blame your new wife. They reward your siblings. The ones who don’t help with anything, in any way, either financially, emotionally or physically.

I heard the *crack*FIZZ as Anthony popped a beer can.

“Little early, don’t you think dear?” I asked, glancing at the clock.

“Mrrhglgmph.”

(To be Continued: How I Make My Mother Cry, and other true, yet almost unbelievable tales.)

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