Monday, January 07, 2008

Post-Parental Visit Post

My mother, who arrived at 1 a.m. on Jan 2, just got on a plane in Urbania to return to the city of neon. I think I can say that this is the first time that I've hosted my mother in my own house. What a way to start the year!

I believe that I've blogged about Mom before, but I'm too lazy to go and find it. The skinny is that my parents divorced when I was 7 or so, and Mom and I spent my formative years together as a unit. Because of that, we've developed a (probably unhealthy) attachment to one another; only her retirement job and my increased work load have interrupted our usual two phone call a week habits. Because this is the first time Senor F. and I haven't gone home for the holidays, she graciously (with much cajoling and trepidation on her part) agreed to come east for the New Year. It's been bitterly cold here for the first week of the year, and my poor mother--born in a tropical state--survived it with hardly a whimper. It surprises me not at all that she is a great guest, willing to do whatever kind of crap has to be done (case in point: the first day she was here, I had to go and fix the iced lock on Senor's car---he couldn't get the door to close and had to go to a meeting). She somehow managed to do all of this with much better humor than I, and then took me to lunch and the mall. (If you ever wondered where my eating/shopping habits come from, look no further).

This was a great way to begin the year, because it serves as an object lesson about the delights of generosity. My mother is really ridiculous in what she wants to give. You know the old "fighting over the bill" routine? She's got it down to a science. I've begun to think of it as a shtick that we perform for waiters, grocery store check out people, sales people at the Sephora. In the height of the "no, I'll get it!" lunacy, she raced to the door of the gas station, trying to pay the attendant before I could swipe my car. While I have to fight her tooth and nail to pay for things, it's also useful for me to remember that she wants to give us stuff (whether it be food or experiences or durable goods); it's an act that she associates with my grandparents when they came to visit her. I think she sees it as one of the acts that will solidify her role as elder, which she's all too willing to take on.

Since she's both speedy and has a grip much akin to the Kung-Fu G.I Joe one of old (play the game here!), my job is to find things she'd enjoy and doesn't get to do at home, e.g., locate new restaurants at which my step-father would never eat; take her to museums, figure out when her television shows are on, schedule a hair cut, etc. I know it doesn't sound like much, but my mother lives for other people. A lot. And so to give her the chance to do something she normally wouldn't allow herself the time to do is not a small act, I think. So while it's not monetary, this is my form of reciprocal generosity.

So in addition to the as yet unnamed year ahead [FrenchieFoo suggests "moderation" crossed with "fulfillment." Modfillment? Fulleration? Oooh, I like the second one!!], I think I'll try to focus on how to be creatively generous. And not just to my mother. Although she's not to be excluded!!

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Blogger Lee said...

Here's a thought on creative generosity: share OS X.5 tips n' tricks with folks not fortunate enough to have it yet (my individual glee will more than make up for the boredom of your other readers). What is Spaces? What's the coolest thing a leopard can do that a tiger can't? I'm dying here!! Toss me a bone.

Monday, January 07, 2008 7:42:00 PM  
Blogger kfluff said...

Right. as soon as I have some. I loaded the sucker, and then thought about how I could really use an external hard drive, and so am in a holding pattern. But I do love the cover flow. Oh yes. It makes me want to put pictures in all of my folders to break up the move from word document to word document.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 11:59:00 AM  

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