Christmastime in Hell, Part Deux

I’m still trying to become accustomed to winter in Virginia. It simply defies logic, though, how the day can start off perfectly warm and comfortable and then become colder than a corpse’s crotch by midday. Argh. I attempted to go mail my overdue vehicle and car insurance payments (not even the full amounts that are due, but somethin’ to keep the creditors quiet for now), and I froze my patoo-tay off.

Mom laid a bit of a guilt trip on me last night — I don’t call her the Kathie Lee of the Carnival Cruises of Guilt Trips for nothin’. When she called, I’d had my fill of drama and agony for the day, and she had her usual serving platter of issues filled and awaiting my consumption. I kinda rushed her off the phone, which launched the Extended-Stay option of the Guilt Trip Cruise — that I never have time for her, never have the energy for a real conversation. I’m always on my way to do something or I’m with someone or I’m too pooped to speak coherently (like today, when I accidentally told IKEA Boy about the b-day gift I have on order for him — cripes!).

She’s right, though. I have little left to give her emotionally, and I am her only friend and only outlet for the shit happening in her own life. And when I do call her, it’s usually to rage and rant and dump my emotional trauma on her. But she’s Mom — she can handle my life. I can’t. But I can’t handle hers, either, and I feel terrible about that. Some days, I can barely function, I’m so emotionally exhausted. And she doesn’t listen to me, anyway, when I try to give her advice about her problems, so I’m less inclined to want to help. Of course, like me, she just wants someone to listen, to sympathize, to empathize. And she hates it that I can give that to everyone but her. And I hate it too, because she’s the only one who’s ever been able to give me all of that and then some.

She did heap her usual ladle-ful of guilt about me moving 250 miles away, but I tend to tune out for that segment of the conversation. I did, though, say I’m happy enough here and am not interested in moving back to Pittsburgh. She snapped that I mention that during every damn conversation, and can I stop hurling that at her and hurting her with that dagger? Argh. My shoulders have tensed up, just writing this paragraph. My head feels like I’ve been sleeping on a concrete pillow.

So she told me that since I’m so busy and so involved in everybody else’s lives but hers, why can’t I drop her a note or something? Buy a card. Write in it. Act like I’m concerned. I told her I don’t write to anyone, and it would be great if we could get her one of those little e-mail machines, since that’s my main form of communication these days. She seemed open to that but sounded dejected anyway. Said my grandfather asks about me all the time. Says he prays every day that I will move back to Pittsburgh. (He prays? When the hell did THAT begin?) It’s like the guilt noose has suddenly been crafted of rosary beads. Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ.

Add to the guilt trip that she wants to know what I want for Xmas (um, an oil change for Samantha is the only thing I really need. That, and enough cash for two car payments and three student loan payments — $1,500, all told, but I know she doesn’t have that). I told her that we should really focus on my grandfather, because he’s frail and we never know when it’s going to be his last Christmas. Further, she’s running around with no winter coat — I told her to make my gift a coat for herself. So then I got the guilt trip that I am ungrateful and not helpful to her, when she’s trying to make us a little Christmas and I’m not even helping her to make it a bit easier.

Oh, I just can’t WAIT for Christmas dinner. Fuck me running.

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