Thursday, June 26, 2014

It's Complicated

So apparently both of my Brazilian-living parents, one American, one actually Brazilian, will be living in the States in a month. My father (Brazilian) is living in Maine under suspicious circumstances, and my mother (American) has told my uncle that she's moving to Florida in July because the World Cup has made Rio unaffordable. He was not to tell me or my sister but of course he did, so we'll have to pretend we don't know. 

What does this mean for me? Nothing. It doesn't mean either of them will ever see their grandsons, or that my sons will ever know a biological grand parent. Which saddens me, since grandparents are so much the link to your history and culture. But this falls onto the ever-increasing list of "Things I Can Do Nothing About".

I was annoyed by news of my mother's impending move, and when looked at logically, wondered why - in the end, if she stays, it will certainly make things easier on me and my sister when we have to either arrange some kind of long-term care, or *gulp* take care of things after her death. But that's only if she stays. She's moved back and forth from Brazil a dozen times, each time proclaiming this would be her last move. My father the same. So I can't really glean any credibility from news like this from either of them. What can I say? They're free spirits and nomads. It would be cute if they were in their twenties. 

So much time has gone by since my mother's and my big falling out back in 2006 that my brain has largely been scrubbed of the more painful details - they only return in chagrin-laden flashes now; I find myself saying, "oh, riiiight," and getting a sudden pang of anger or sadness. There are times - especially when I see how normal her email responses are to the pictures I send of the kids - that I wonder if what happened between us was just a psychotic break she had and she's normal now but doesn't know how to reach out. After all, I've changed enormously in eight years - why should I deprive her of that possibility?

But what I think is really going on is that now that I'm a parent, I suddenly have empathy for all parents, including my own. Things that seemed so awful in my own childhood - anything as dumb as my mother insisting on taking a shower before we opened Christmas presents to leaving me alone in our NY apartment when I was twelve to go to Japan - now has a rationale in my brain: well, maybe she really wanted a was the 80s, people left kids alone all the time...etc etc. I guess I'm afraid to judge her now because I so fear the judgement of others. Funny how that works, isn't it?

I was so relieved B's rash is healing because I didn't want the school to think I was neglecting him; I'm so paranoid of looking selfish or uninterested. Where does this come from? I'm sure a few decades of therapy could sort it out for me!

My mother and I are not friends on Facebook. But if we were I'm sure we'd both list our relationship as It's Complicated.

1 comment:

  1. I have certainly found that having children has given me a greater compassion and understanding towards my own mother. I've been able to fully settle it inside and forgive. It has definitely gave me resolve tho on what I will allow and do with my own. Some stuff is just no ok. I understand how complicated and conflicted parents can be your needs vs kids needs. But being there and protecting your kids is most important :) sounds to me like your parenting is very intentional and thoughtful, that makes for great choices <3