Monday, March 8, 2010

Subtle Digs

So I called my adoptive mom yesterday. I explained how busy I had been and had lost track of time. I apologized for missing her birthday, and she seemed okay with it. Who knows if she really accepted my apology. I don't. But she seemed to.

The conversation, however, took an odd turn at one point. She began to express some hurt over being slighted by one of her other children. Apparently, they delayed going out for her birthday by a day because they attended another birthday party (or two). So because they had been with other people, they couldn't be with her.

She was clearly upset by it. And she also clearly was trying not to dwell too much on it. She couldn't help feel hurt, but she was trying not to make a big deal about it.

I expressed my understanding that you want to be with family to celebrate special occasions.

I have to say, if she picked up on my dig, she didn't let on. I appreciated the karmic symmetry of her being abandoned on her birthday after abandoning her children for two holiday seasons in a row. Whether she understood the karmic implications, however, is beyond me.

I almost said something else, something to make it more obvious, but I realized I would be drifting into the realm of cruelty. As it was, I felt a little guilty for what I had already said. But I also felt a little better for having said something.

I don't want her to be hurt. And I'm sorry her children aren't always as thoughtful as she would like them to be. But she did teach them to be like that. And I would like her to understand how we have been made to feel by her absence.

Still, I'm not interested in punishing her. Even while I appreciate the symmetry, I have compassion for her, and I'd like to see her happy.


There's a lot of ambivalence wrapped up in all of this for me.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bad Son

Well, my crazy life has finally caught up with me. I've barely been keeping my head above water, staying ahead of all the deadlines I face, and now I've finally managed to miss something important. Today was my (adoptive) mother's birthday. And I forgot to call her.

Is it that big of a deal? Maybe not. I don't know. I meant to call her. But today was another crazy day in the middle of a crazy year. And I lost track of this one familial obligation until it was too late. By the time I remembered, it was too late, and I was away from home with a phone whose battery had completely drained.

I think a few years ago, it would have just been a bad thing. No harm done. I quick (sincere) apology, and all would be forgotten. At least, I think so.

After the strain in our relationship over the past couple of years, I'm not so sure. And maybe I shouldn't have been five years ago. After all, in the past, she has held on to various slights and offenses. (It seems out of her character, I admit, but she's done it. She doesn't get mad; she gets hurt. And she seems to hang on to it.)

The main worry is that she might think I'm punishing her for all the things that have bothered me the past few years. But it was just an honest oversight. And I do feel badly about it.

There's nothing I can do about it now. And that, right there, is going to bother me until I can call her tomorrow and try to apologize and wish her a happy birthday a day late.

Birthdays... They always seem to get me, one way or another.