When Your Mother Hurts Your Feelings and Doesn’t Even Realize It

This entry is an interruption in multiple ways: I’m interrupting (momentarily) the story I started telling in my last entry, and I’m interrupting what should probably be grading/lesson planning/relaxing while the Kidlet is napping time.

Oh, well.

This morning, in the Starbucks drive through line, I casually chatted with Mother as I placed my order. We were talking about random things: the employee who obviously had to run out and buy more than 5 gallons of milk; the ride back from our recent trip to KC for Thanksgiving; and how much I miss Romeo – our Aussie Shepherd mixed with chow who passed away a couple years ago.

In the car driving back from KC, I’d turned to Ty, and implored him again for a dog. He really wants to wait for Kidlet to be old enough to take care of the dog: feed, brush, walk, etc. A good point. In fact, he’d like Kidlet to read up on how to care for a dog before owning one – something Ty’s father did when my husband was around 8. After he finally read the short book, he got Charlie, a miniature collie with multi-colored fur who loved to drag Ty by his socks from the back door to the gate and then happily run off.

Sweet, right?

Yea: why doesn’t this man understand: as much as I want Kidlet to grow up with a dog, and as much as I loved watching Romeo and Kidlet together, I don’t want us to get a dog for Kidlet. I want us to get a dog for ME. This here will be my dog – Kidlet will be allowed to play with him/her. 😉

Anyhoo, as I mentioned this to Mother, she commented that Ty probably didn’t want to get a dog right now and have the responsibility fall on him to care for the animal. I replied, “It wouldn’t. Since I won’t be busy with graduate school, I’ll be home and available.”

Mother: “Yea, right. I bet Ty doesn’t believe that pipe dream, either.”

And just like that, our pleasant conversation was over.

Me: “Well, ouch.”

Mother: “Did you get your order, yet? Alright, I need to go and….[mindlessly blathering on about what she needed to get up and get done].

Either she hadn’t heard my “ouch,” or she had overlooked it. Either she hadn’t thought about her casually tossed “pipe dream,” or she stood by it.

Either way, she hurt my feelings, EARLY in the morning (I hadn’t even had my coffee YET! – I mean, come ON!!), and she was completely oblivious to the fact.

A few hours have passed. I’ve been to church, chatted with friends, displayed words on the screen during worship service, visited Mother to have Kidlet put the angel on top of the tree (one of their Christmas traditions), put Kidlet down for his nap, put away dishes, discovered a whole lot of not well-cleaned ones, eaten lunch, purchased Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, and played on Facebook. My feelings aren’t as hurt, but yea, I’m still a little saddened by it.

What am I taking this time off between programs for if not to care for my family?

Why am I stepping away from entering a full-time PhD program if not to pour into the lives of my husband and child without having to juggle work, school, church, etc. etc.?

Why am I making this sacrifice, that while I know is best for my family, still pinches tightly as all Hell if not to be available for fun things and important things and keeping my husband from being overworked around the house?

My husband appreciates this sacrifice. And while Kidlet may not be able to voice it, I’ve got to believe he’ll enjoy it in the coming days, months, and years, when Mommy won’t be so busy writing a seminar paper she can’t play with her kiddo. And I guess, Mother being Mother, is going to think what she thinks and say what she says, and she really has no bearing on the inner workings of my family…

But, damn.

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