I’m planning a trip down to Florida to visit my 80-something parents.
It was barely 7 AM when the phone rang. It was my mom’s daily “I’m just-checking-in” phone call. This time she wanted to know if I was getting packed for my trip, and to reminded me not to over-pack. She actually said:
“Honey, you don’t need to pack pajamas… I have plenty of pajamas here that you can wear.”
And then she so generously added:
“Oh, and don’t bother to pack any underwear, because I have plenty of panties you can wear when you’re down here.”
And the really scary part is, she wasn’t kidding! She was 100% serious!
When I assured her I had no problem bringing my own pajamas and underwear, she actually sounded deeply offended.
The fact is, I only have myself to blame. I have always allowed my mother the luxury of blurred boundaries. When I was growing up, my mother was emotionally fragile. She often “took to the bed”. If something upset her, she’d be in a mopey-depressed-stooper for days… sometimes even weeks. It was awful.
So, in an effort not rock the boat, I tried very hard to never give her a minutes worry or stress. It was just easier to handover control on a silver platter.
There are endless examples of how I consistently altered myself to fit into the package my mother felt was acceptable. Or, how I’d simply squash my own individuality rather than upset her by setting any firm boundaries. One example, that I’m almost embarrassed to recall, happened when I was in college. I was going on a date to Kleinhans Music Hall for The Buffalo Philharmonic’s “Beer and Jeans Night”.
The year was 1983 and Flashdance was all the rage. When I came downstairs in faded jeans and an off-the-shoulder sweatshirt (and really cool boots might I add) my mom was horrified!!!
I tried to explain the premise of “Beer and Jeans Night” to her, but she insisted no one would ever attend the Philharmonic looking like THAT!!! She began teetering on the verge of one of her “episodes”. So, rather than have a scene when my date arrived, I quickly changed my clothes. As I sat very uncomfortably in my seat at Kleinhans Music Hall, in my itchy pantyhose, scratchy wool skirt and bowtie-blouse, I looked and felt like a jerk. I vowed then and there, I would never act like my mom.
The silver lining to this journey of unclear boundaries, is that my mom’s behavior inspired me to try and set some healthy boundaries with my own children. My daughter has enjoyed the freedom of growing up with unconditional acceptance, the right of self-expression and the advantages of autonomy. By empowering my daughter, I have also empowered myself. And I feel it is about time to SET some boundaries with my own mother.
At 52 years old, I have finally decided I am going to pack my own panties!
About the author: Lorilyn traded in her Country Club lifestyle for Muck Boots and happily moved from The Burbs out to The Country for her favorite guy.Her life-journey has taken her over many Bridges, and it appears she’s finally found her way Back ♥ Home! Follow her on her website: www.bridgesbackhome.com and on Facebook.