A couple of days ago I had an interesting discussion with a friend. She is the one I go to and lie on her couch and have her help me untangle the twisted masses in my mind - theoretically speaking of course.
I was talking to her about how deeply sad it makes me that my mom is in the nursing home. I totally understand that I can't care for her. It takes a team of people to help her throughout the day, since she can't even do the simplest of tasks for herself at this point. I would run out of energy and strength before putting in a single week, not to mention having to totally redo my house to accomidate her wheelchair, replace most fixtures in the bathrom, and add other bars and gadgets to help her. It simply isn't possible for me at this point to do those things.
So my job is to... what? resign myself? perhaps, though "resign" doesn't have any semblace of a positive connotation like I'd like.
As I was talking to her, I told her that when I visit my mom I subconsciously am uptight. Consciously I tell myself to slow down and enjoy the moment. And I thought I was pulling off some "calm" as I visited her, but I took Steve with me the other day though and he told me that he noticed that - even though I have a running commentary going on in my head telling myself not to be frustrated and to "slow down and enjoy the moment" - my actions seem sharp and uptight.
I told her how I try to put on a brave face for my mom, not the one that is very telling of how deeply sad I am for her *and* for me.
She told me to stop it. To not be responsible for my mom's feelings. I was surprised. I hadn't even thought that as an option.
I went on to explain myself. I told her that when I was a working mom and took my kids to her house for daycare, I wouldn't let myself cry or show sadness that I had to leave them for all of those hours. I tried to accentuate the positive and tell them all of the happy things they'd do. I saved the tears for the car.
She replied, "But what if your child wouldn't cry because she didn't want to upset her mother." And you know what? That has been exactly how I've always been.
I have tried not to show her that her & my dad's divorce and how they handled things made me sad. I tried to not let it show that us leaving our home to move into my grandma's house didn't bothered me. And there are lots of other times, too, when I would try to put on a happy face in spite of how I felt. I knew she was trying her best, so why should I add to her sadness and dispair?
After reading Uncover Your True Face: Underneath the Mask, an article at Daily Om today, and after talking with my good friend a couple of days ago, I'm wondering if my mask is helpful to either of us. It will be a good springboard for pondering all of this.