I keep saying I would love to get up to the mountain to get my hiking in earlier, and yet…here I sit. I’ve almost finished a pot of coffee, I’ve fed the cats and talked with mom, which didn’t go as well as usual. I still have yard work that needs to be finished and I need to drop by the handy dandy home and garden center to check on vegetable plants. I also need to vacuum.
So, if I were fully honest, I would say I am guilty of procrastination. In some things. Now, I get things done, except vacuuming, there simply isn’t a big hurry in most of them. The only thing really needing to be done timely is washing dishes and feeding the critters. They outnumber me, and one simply doesn’t want to be outnumbered by hungry animals. They tend to be ornery.
The try to hike earlier thing is simply because thinking it would still be a little cooler and therefore easier. Especially on Bella who has that permanent fur coat. She hasn’t complained yet and still hints of wanting to go every time she passes where her leash hangs.
If it isn’t the procrastination thing that has me feeling guilty, what does? That conversation with mom. Before I go any further, let me state up front that I love and respect my mother dearly and I believe with all my heart, she means no harm. She goes out of her way to show appreciation for everything I do, and tries so hard not to ask for favors too often. I also realize, that part of what happens, happens out of her grief.
I understand all of that, but still, this morning was a conversation that nearly broke the camel’s back and my ability to ignore. I may or may not have made my love for where I live obvious. While my home isn’t large or fancy, I grew up in this house. The memories of childhood and love fill every fiber of the place. The woods out back hold the memories of growing up, of exploring and laughing and living. I still hike these woods. I sit out back and enjoy the symphony of nature that flows in surround sound at all times. Many times covering up and muting the sounds of man.
In conversation today, my mother mentioned how much my Grandmother and my brother Michael, who we lost to Leukemia, loved the woods. These woods meant so much to them. Oh she was sure I liked the woods, but not like them. Just another comment on top of the many others about how other members of the family was effected worse by things that happened. They were or would be hurt more deeply. Even my own son, would care more than me, by the way she thinks and speaks. And no, I’m not imagining, because she commented on how afraid my son was when he found her that day she fell and how calmly I took it. (Even though she taught me, take care of emergencies first, fall apart if you must, later.)
I didn’t mean to, I’ve tried repeatedly to ignore and allow her comments to simply roll off like water off a duck’s back, but it slipped out. I interrupted my mother, my dear mother, to tell her I did love these woods and they do mean a lot to me. Now I wasn’t really rude, and I didn’t yell, I was merely adamant in my statement.
The silence was telling.
I felt this horrible dread and guilt. One simply doesn’t talk to their parent that way. It isn’t respectful. But, her comment struck a nerve, that had been struck often, and the hurt this time was too much, so I spoke out. She apologized to me, saying she simply didn’t realize the woods meant that much too me because I didn’t show it to her as much as they had.
Now, I could go off here and make some really sarcastic comments, but I won’t and I didn’t. I simply restated that I do love the woods. I didn’t give reasons, they were unimportant at that moment.
Mom will soon be eighty-five. Mom misses Michael and her mom deeply, which is fully understandable. Mom, thinks I am less emotional than other members of the family. I have been by others called, guarded. I have been told that I have a wall built. I am told I am too independent. I’ve been accused of all manner of things due to my, yes, guarded nature. None of that bothers or concerns me as much as mom thinking me unemotional or having a less caring nature. So, I finally commented and had to face the results.
That really long silence. The uncomfortable remaining conversation. That lasting feeling of guilt because one simply doesn’t disrespect their elders. One just doesn’t talk back. Do I really even feel better for having corrected her impression of me? Not really, not at the moment, maybe later, maybe if this feeling of guilt eases and we can move forward.
I love my mom, I really do. I simply wish she could see that I am the person she taught me to be. Strong, independent, calm, capable. Falling apart in private. Yet, I still feel guilty.
I wonder too, how often we do that with others who are important to us? When we stand up for ourselves whether after repeated issues or with the first, do we feel that guilt? Why did I do that? Why didn’t I simply let it go? Can we move past this? I would hope, that with all, there can be a level of maturity that would allow for conversation to explain and understand what caused the reaction so that an understanding can be reached. And that any guilt feelings, could be set aside, because the way I see it, there should be no guilt in politely and calmly standing up for one self.
So why do I still feel guilty?