Monday, January 29, 2007

My Mother... again.

For the back story, click here and read the second part and its links.

So, after that phone call, my mother basically kept in touch by phoning every day or two. Until Peach was born. The day she was born, my mother called, and I was already in bed, so she told Armondo she'd call back the next day.

She didn't call again for ten days.

The call came this past Wednesday.

Ma: So, I've got a place lined up, and a job lined up, and I'm thinking of going to college.

Me: Oh, that's great! Good for you. You sound sad though, are you ok?

Ma: Well, *sniff* I don't get my (welfare) check until tomorrow and I don't have any money for the rent (at the motel) and they're going to kick me out if I don't pay.

Me: Well, can't welfare provide you with some sort of document stating that you're getting your money tomorrow or something?

Ma: No... I was wondering if I could borrow some money from you just for today....

I told her "no" and explained how, you know, we're living employment insurance cheque to cheque while Armondo's not working, so I don't really have any money to spare. (Not to mention the fact that both my father and grandmother told me "DO NOT LEND HER ANY MONEY" when I told them she was back in touch.)

Then she asked if I could possibly drive her to the ferry on Friday and hold all her stuff for a week until she could get into her new place. I agreed, then she let me go so she could go figure out a way to find money for the night.

She didn't ask how I was, or how the baby was, or anything.

She didn't call on Friday.

On Saturday, she called during nap time, and I was in no state to really have a conversation, so she said she'd call back around 3pm.

By 3pm, I was up and was dressed and pretty much ready to go if or when she called.

At 5:15 ish, she called hoping I could get her to the 5:45 ferry. That was a complete impossibility, regardless of the fact that she was calling me during DINNER, and two hours later than she said she would.

I called her back after dinner then set out to get her.

She was staying in a local motel in the bad part of town. Now, I'm not naive to the dirty things that happen in my town, but as a rule, I generally don't deposit myself right in the middle of the nasty parts! And this motel was a hub for shady activity.

I drove up to the front door, where my mother met me and directed me to drive around to the gate access at the back. After parking in the alley, I went through the gate and met up with my mother and her stuff. What she had told me was a couple of bags and boxes, turned out to be much, much more than that, and several trips up and down stairs later, I packed the mini-van right full.

Did I mention that I'm two weeks post-partum at this point, and have several stitches holding my dainty parts together? (Thanks Melora for that term, I love it!) I mentioned this to my mother, who just told me not to take the heavy stuff. While I was doing most of the lifting and carrying, my mother was "just" finishing up some laundry using the outdoor dryer in the courtyard. So, in the end, she took a total of two trips compared to my six to eight.

Then she told me she just had to go and take care of something, so I sat and waited for her in the van. Sat and waited in my locked vehicle while I watched a drug deal go on, and several prostitutes go in and out of various motel rooms. Oh joy.

Then, fifteen minutes later, when she got back to the van, she told me this sob story about how a friend of hers had put a deposit down for the motel for the night in case she had to stay again, and how the manager refused to give it back to her. To which I replied "Well you were HERE all day! No wonder he wanted to keep the money!" And she tried to explain to me how technically she was out of the room and everything, and didn't see how storing her stuff on the balcony all day and using the washer and dryer was any reason for him to want to keep the money. (It was well past 7pm by this point.) She went on to explain that the manager had said he wanted to somehow put the money back on the friend's card instead of handing my mother the cash.

So, in reality,

A) This man is pissed that my mother stayed all day, and he fully intends to keep the money, OR

B) He's a smart man and knows my mom is shady, and intends on giving the money back to the person who gave it to him, instead of to my mom.

Anyway, due to the fact that he didn't give the cash to my mother, she was now short on money and couldn't afford the ferry. (Big surprise!) And assured me that if she hadn't known she wouldn't have been given that money, then she wouldn't have eaten "that bowl of soup."

While driving to the ferry, I asked her if she was going to call her friend and tell her about the mix up. "No, it's alright."

"Well, you should probably tell her what's happening with her money!"

"Oh, I'll just call her from the ferry or something."

Cha.. and a monkeys are gonna fly out of my a$$!

Anyway, I'll skip some of the less important parts of the trip to the ferry, but tell you she did end up asking about the birth and such, and I did sort of rant her out about how I deserved to be treated with more respect and that she should call when she says she's going to, to which she said she was sorry, but then followed that with all sorts of excuses (like a teenager-it was totally like I was talking to a bratty 16 year old!).

Then, we finally get to the ferry, and she asks me to lend her a couple of bucks, and by giving her $3 we were able to make up enough for her to get onto the ferry.

Then standing in the entrance to the ferry terminal...

"Can I have a couple of more dollars for a coffee?"

Me (in a very flat tone): You've got to be kidding.

Ma (giggling): No, I'm not kidding!

Me (starting to walk away): You're kidding right?

Ma: No, hee hee.

Me (out the door, heading back to the van): I'm am going to pretend that you did NOT just ask me for MORE money.

Ma (following me): Ok, well, thank you for helping me out, I'll call you when I get back into town.

Me: Yah, you're welcome.

Then she gives me a hug which I deliberately make overly awkward, and I drive away.

And now, I have a pile of JUNK sitting in Peach's (currently unused) room for the next week or so (I told her it was going to charity if she didn't come back to the Island within two weeks), and I have to wait for her phone call so that I can pack all that crap back into the van and move it and her to a town an hour south of here.

So, Armondo just wants me to move her stuff then cut of ties completely with her. He's feeling all protective and doesn't want me to deal with the stress that just comes along with being in touch with my mother.

I can totally see his point, but she did say she's trying to turn her life around, and I know that's not an instantaneous thing, so I don't want to just give up on her right away. I mean, I'm not letting her take advantage of me (so far, it's been $3, plus some gas and driving, and helping her to move, and we've ALL been guilty of coercing someone to help us move at some point.) And, I'm not going to just let her have unrestricted access to the kids right away without some major steps forward (we're talking at least a year of forward steps before I'd trust them in her care.)

At this point, what I want to have happen is I'd like to have a one-on-one sit down with her at Timmy's or something and force her to explain to me what her personal goals and life intentions are and what she would like to see happen with us, and how she intends to repair past damage she's done to our relationship, and if she gives me some satisfactory answers, then maybe I'll let her meet the kids.

I don't want to use the kids as a punishment or reward, but I just don't feel like she deserves to be a grandmother at this particular point.

So, until next time....


Mr. Fabulous said...

I have to agree with Armondo. I know she's your mom and all, but I really don't think she is serious about turning it around. Sadly, there are just some people you can't help.

Sarah said...

I admire the way you're dealing with it. You're giving her a chance but also setting (and keeping to) clear boundaries to protect yourself and your family. Kudos.

Avalon said...

Cece~~ No matter what you decide to do, only you know what's best for you and your kids. And it's going to be tough either way. I wish you courage and strength while you try to sort this all out.

Tricia said...

That sounds hard. I hope you don't get taken advantage of. I think (like Sarah said) that you are doing the right thing by setting clear boundaries. I don't think you are using the children as punishment, it's your job to keep them free from harm, so you're doing what you have to do right now. I hope for your mom and for you that things get better to the point where you can trust her and start to build a relationship with her.

No lending money is a good rule! I have that rule too. It's a hard one sometimes, but it really prevents problems.

Oh! and the dainty bits thing?
very funny! hehe

unique_stephen said...

Strange world, very different from my life.

Sarah said...

Unique Stephen: you don't have dainty bits?

Anonymous said...

Apple doesnt fall fall from tree

tricia said...

oooh! a troll!

Too bad they can't write coherently.

Tee hee.

unique_stephen said...

Sarah > unfortunately no, if I want to play with some I have to borrow them from somebody else.

Kim said...

I agree with some of the others, that you have to handle her how you feel comfortable. You seem to be on the right track with making boundaries and finding out what her intentions are.

I hope things smooth out for you and her.