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Easter with the Parental Units

Easter with the Parental Units2010-04-05T01:33:44+00:00

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    Patte Rosebank
    Post count: 1517

    Here’s what happened at today’s Easter dinner, at my parents’ place…

    My mother (who, I am certain, has ADHD that’s worse than mine) kept going madly off in all directions, exhausting herself and the rest of us. When my brother and I arrived, she was already in a hell of a state, cleaning up the remnants of a dish she’d just broken on the counter. Later, as my brother and I carved the turkey (the purchase & preparation of which, I’d been in charge of—though she kept trying to “help”), she tried to tell us how to do it, and my dad told her that we knew what we were doing, because we’d done it at Christmas, so would she please just go and sit down and leave us to it.

    But she wouldn’t just sit down, would she? No, she went digging in the spice cupboard for something. There was a loud crash as a heavy spice bottle fell onto a glass something-or-other on the counter, shattering it. She started freaking out, and Dad told her to go and sit down, so he could clean it up quickly and efficiently without injury. She spent the next 2 hours trying to figure out what it was that had broken. We told her it didn’t matter what it WAS; now, it was garbage.

    She kept having ideas about other things we should add to the dinner. I managed to talk her out of suddenly making a tray of crescent rolls, but she’d already made one of those ridiculous molded jello “salads” that were viewed as tacky even in the 1970s. So much extra work to prepare the thing, and she was the only one who ate any of it. Ditto for the lima bean casserole. And the plate of sliced ham. (Who needs sliced ham when there’s a 9-pound turkey and half a dozen big side dishes, and there are only 4 people at the table?)

    When we sat down to eat, Mom continued trying to run things, urging us to take more of this, and pass the dish of that along, and she kept jumping up to go and get something else—and the tension escalated into exchanges of strong words. At this point, an ice cream truck drove along the road behind the house, playing its tinny nursery rhyme tune. The incongruity of it all set me and my brother off, giggling like idiots.

    After lunch, there was the big production (well, Mom turned it into one) of leaving the house and going to visit Granny at the nursing home. As the arguing reached a crescendo, the ice cream truck drove by in front of the house. Again, it was so totally incongruous that my brother and I started giggling like idiots…again. It was decided that me and my brother should take one car, and the parental units should take the other. Mom asked why, and my brother answered succinctly: “It’s to keep us from killing each other.” Nobody disputed this.

    At the nursing home, Mom was at it again, telling us where to wheel Granny in her chair, where to sit, telling us to pose for photos (taken with Dad’s digital camera, and then again with her film camera, since she still insists on taking slides), telling my brother to water the plant we’d brought, then to check if Granny’s snow globe was still there, then… ARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!

    Back home, afterwards, we had dessert, and Mom tried to micromanage the serving of it, and the way my brother and I put together care packages of leftovers for ourselves. As I was putting together my baggies of leftovers, she insisted I go upstairs and go through the stuff she was thinking of taking to the Goodwill. And of course, all this had to be done immediately!

    Family holiday dinners used to be so much fun. Even though there were 3 times as many people, those dinners were way more fun and way less stressful. Now, we regard them as necessary ordeals, and we must prepare ourselves to survive them. As we drove home, my brother and I repeated our mantra, “Thank christ I don’t live with these people.”

    Seeing how my mom exhausts herself and the people around her has made me determined to seek the necessary ADHD treatments to ensure I don’t end up like that. And it’s made my brother determined to make sure that I do.

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