i know what you mean!

communication failure

Posted on: September 19, 2010

With dad in bed all day today with a fever, May sleeping all over the map due to her stuffy nose (a cold, probably), both mom and I feeling a sore throat coming on, I thought mom would understand when I told her, let’s aim for Mass tomorrow at 12:15, but if May has a really bad night, then we’ll do 10:30 (earlier) or any (later) Mass that we can catch.

Mom said, OK, I want to know exactly when we are going because I don’t want to go to Mass late and then it feels like we didn’t go at all. I said, OK, but I can’t say for sure because anything could go bad during the night…
Mom: But I need to know when, what time is the Mass, so that we won’t be late, and exactly what name is the church.
Me: well there are 3 of them around here, so depending on when May wakes up, we can pick one and go to…
Mom: I need to know the exact time so I can get ready, I don’t want to go to Mass late and then it will be a bad experience, what is the name of the church?
me: if May wakes up early, we’ll catch the 10:30 mass, but otherwise, let’s plan on 12:15 mass at St. Joseph, it’s not walking distance.
Mom: I need to know the exact time so I can get ready, what time is the Mass? I’ll have Dad go on line and look up the church and schedule later, which church is it?

me: dad doesn’t need to. I know all the churches around here and can tell you what mass at what time for what church (my thinking was, dad’s obviously sick and hasn’t left bed all day, why force him to do something like this when I have all the info?)

Mom: but I need to see it for myself!

me: huh? see what? I told you the masses are 10:30 and 12:15 at St. Joseph. There are also 2 other churches that have masses at 11am and one more with mass at 5pm if we miss all of the morning ones…

Mom: (getting more bewildered and ready to cry) Dad will look it up for me, I need to know the exact time of the mass I need to go to church on time…

dad: (saying very patiently to me, for the 4th time in this conversation) You don’t know your mom, you can’t give her choices like that! You need to just give her 1 option, 1 time, that’s it.

me: (finally enlightened): ok ok Let me repeat it, we’ll aim for 12:15pm mass, BUT if May wakes up waaay early tomorrow, we’ll go to the earlier mass at 10:30am ok? I can’t say one mass for sure because there is a SICK BABY in the house…

Dad: RIGHT, LET’S SAY 12:15!

mom: I need to see the time in print…

me: what?!

mom: that’s how I am, I need to see it (begins to cry)

dad: just let me handle this, I know how she is. I’ll go look up the info later.

me: but I have it! (ran to room to grab laptop) See mom? It says here: St. Joseph Church, Sunday mass is 12:15pm that’s the one I said we aim for, here’s the 10:30am…

At some point in this conversation, the thing that kept me from banging my already sleep deprived head into the wall was how patient dad was. He used to be so testy that I’m surprised by this mellow and kind version of dad. I don’t know what mom ate but she didn’t sleep a wink last night. And the afternoon leading to that sleepless night, I turned the PBN DVD on for her to watch, only to find her tired and wired because she said with DVD shows, once it’s on, she MUST watch it to the very end no matter how tired she is regardless of the show’s quality. It might bore her to death and she would still keep on watching instead of turning it off or doze off. OK mom, no more DVD’s for you!

Have I mentioned that mom suffers from anxiety? Like it doesn’t even take a doc to diagnose her. The files of patients I used to maintain at my old job, where I used to type up how many criteria for Anxiety Disorder they met, mom is meeting more criteria than some of the old patients. She’s starting taichi but she is doing it from watching a dvd. Because going to classes makes her anxious. She reminds me of toddler-psychology: the world is one big scary and confusing place, and, lacking the ability to communicate and understand, melt-downs will result when too much freedom, stimulation, choices are offered. Routines, and clear boundaries, and less choices offered = happier babes. mom.


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