Friday, September 30, 2005

My Dad is here on a two-week (or so) visit. I have been dreading this for months. Not because I don't like my dad, but because this is the first time I've seen any of my family since Mom passed away, and I knew it was going to be stressful. It's very strange not having Mom here as well; there's a piece missing. Mom was sort of the "leavening" for our family visits. I'm much more like my dad, very quiet. When Mom was there, there was conversation. With just my dad and me, it's all very quiet. I could talk to Mom about knitting or scrapbooking or other crafty things, but Dad really couldn't care less about all that.

Dad and Shaun can talk much more easily than Dad and I can. Heck, Dad and strangers can talk more easily than Dad and I. I try not to let this bother me, but it does, even though I know it's at least partly my fault too.

So what specifically is stressing me out?
  • He's very excited to help us expand the deck off the back of our house, and we really can't afford it because we are so strapped right now, but he's so gung-ho about it that I feel like it's something we have to do.
  • An unforeseen stress that's small but very wearing is the fact that Emma doesn't say the "p" sound very well, so every time she says "Grandpa," it comes out "Gramma." I don't know if it bothers Dad, but it bothers me. She's getting better at saying it, but still...
  • I resent the interruption in my routine. This is stupid, but I really do. I like to be able to knit and watch whichever TiVoed shows I want in the afternoons while Emma naps. I like to have quiet evenings just knitting or whatever. I'm really very boring, but I don't want Dad to be bored.
  • I'm doing WAY more cooking than if it's just me and Shaun and Emma. Somehow, I feel like dinner has to be planned more than 10 minutes in advance when Dad's here. And it's me doing the planning and cooking, not me and Shaun alternating.
  • There's also more cleaning of bathrooms, vacuuming, and litterbox scooping. I let the litterbox go three days once last week, and Dad scooped it himself. This, of course, made me feel even more miserable and slovenly-housekeeperish.
  • Shaun and I still have to work, even though Dad's here. Luckily, our workdays aren't 8-5, but we do have to go in to the Lab at least a couple hours a day. This wasn't such a big deal when Mom was here, because she and Dad would go off around the island on their own, sightseeing or whatever. Now, it's just Dad. He spent almost the whole day at home alone yesterday because I had to work and babysit for 6 hours, and Shaun was writing on a paper he has to get done. I feel like I'm required to entertain him, but I have to work too.
In summary, I feel selfish and whiny. I mean, what I regret most about Mom's passing away is that I (and Emma) didn't have more time with her. And Dad's here now, so I should be enjoying this time with him. But the truth is that I never had the easy relationship with my dad that I did with my mom, and the past week has been uncomfortable and strained. Which mades me feel guilty, which makes me more stressed, which makes me feel uncomfortable, which makes me feel guilty, which makes me feel stressed......

I debated posting this at all, but when all's said and done, this is MY space to express MY feelings (however contorted and whiny and selfish they might be) and to blow off steam. So there you go: a look into the trackless, marshy morass that is the Mind Of Sue.


Maryellen said...


Give youself a break. Your Mom just dies so you haven't had time to develop a new rteltionship with your Dad. It will come. It did for me. Live your normal life just let him be a part. Plus he has to get used to being alone he is alone. it will work out. And it's okay to whine do it big!

Liz said...

If it's any consolation, my parents are visiting now and driving me crazy, for a lot of the same reasons. Only I can't vent on my blog, because they'll read it when they go home! Hang in there Sue.

Kris said...

Ease up on yourself, tell him the truth about the deck and feed the man a pizza for dinner. I agree with Maryellen, y'all are kinda making a new path and that will take time. This particular visit will probably be the hardest and you've almost got it behind you. You're really doing great, give yourself some credit.

Whining is always allowed especially if its done with chocolate.

waterlilysage said...

oh, you're not alone in these reactions. truly. mom was indeed the leavener, and the talker. he's not an easy visitor, never has been.

patience...with yourself, mostly.

and yeah, pizza.