Grandparents day. A made up holiday, sure, but there it was. Mom asked that I bring the kids to her assisted living facility so her friends could see them in person. I had no excuse not to. Truthfully, it turned out alright anyway. I thought the kids would cower behind my legs and not smile at anyone but instead they decided the activity room chairs were fun to climb on and chased each other around the room. Having the fat one along (R is now 27 lbs at less than 7 months of age) helped. He sat and provided the smiles and personality while the triplets burned off steam running people in walkers down.
But here's the thing, I heard it again. That refrain I have heard time and again and sort of sat in disbelief about for so long. The phrase "we just love your mother here, she's so great."
My mom? Enjoyable company? Loved? Easy to get along with? Um. Huh?
I don't mean to be mean, but I grew up with this person. I personally witnessed her getting enraged at cashiers at the grocery store when the computer had the wrong price for her item, accusing them of personally trying to cheat her, (thanks to growing up in Russia where they might just have been.) I personally have felt the impact of a poorly chosen tease of the woman with no ability to laugh at herself. I have doused the flames of her anger over slights that no one might have imagined they committed.
Where is this person I knew? Who is this person they know? Which one is the real her? Because I'm aware that my parents never saw the way I was to everyone else, I know we are all different with family than with others but I don't see how the ugly never shows through to her 'friends.' I guess she has a winning personality in there somewhere, and I'd love to be a fly on the wall to see how it appears. I'd love to find a way to think my mom's 'great' or find a way to love some part of her personality. I admire her will to survive that she used to have, I respect that she has every right to be as crazy as she is due to the circumstances of her upbringing, but like or love her personally? No. We would not be friends if we met on the street.
So I will remain clueless to this part of her. This person people want to spend time with. This person who already has a man wanting her company to restaurants and even the opera after moving in only a half a year ago. This woman who people 'love' and find endearing. And I will always wish I could see it too.