Tuesday, March 26, 2013

College and Family

So today was my first college class. The professor asked how many of us took Sociology in high school. I resisted the urge to laugh aloud. I'm pretty sure both "Sociology" and "High school" are dirty words to my Mom. I'm going to love this class. It's all of the things I'm most interested in, which makes me wonder if I should get my degree in Sociology instead. (Can you do anything with a degree in Sociology? I'd love to know.) Best of all, the professor is a Lutheran pastor not much older than me, married with kids, from a family that sounds an awful lot like my Mom's. And it sounds like he shares about as many of their opinions as I do. I'll be sorry when this class is over.

Speaking of Mom's family, my sister drove us south to visit them over the weekend. I'm so glad we went, as I don't feel confident about making it back down there any time in the near future. My dad's father passed away without ever meeting the boys, and I was very sad about that. We stayed with my Grandpa the first two nights, and at the house of my mother's favorite aunt the third night. Our plan was to leave that afternoon and spend the fourth night with my sister's mother-in-law (different sister), then arrive home this morning in time for my classes. Since the baby and I both developed ear infections ON THE WAY DOWN, however, that was putting a major damper on everything. Fortunately the Princess didn't suffer long, and seemed okay the second day. Whiz Kid wrestled with a sinus infection. But I was lucky enough to get my period at the same time, which always knocks my immune system flat. So after two days of sore ears and throat, fever, and general misery, I swapped the useless and expensive vitamins for Advil and was ready to just go home. We were able to meet my Uncle's new wife, a very sweet lady from China, at their informal reception Sunday. Most of the core relatives were there, and although I was glad to meet them I was more than ready to go home once it was over. I worried about crossing the mountains because of the pressure changes, but we made it to the mother-in-law's house without severe discomfort, for which I was very thankful.

As soon as I saw her house I wanted to kick myself for having decided not to stay the night. It was a converted barn, huge and amazing and my idea of a perfect house in every way. (At least the downstairs.) She offered to let us reconsider, and had toys for the kids to play with, but I really wanted to get home. We only had another 2.5 hours to go and I needed to sleep on my own mattress before my spine rearranged itself completely.

Good thing we didn't. When we got back on the interstate the car began making a disturbing noise. We had a bad wheel bearing. We called Dad and he said we could drive slowly and probably get home okay, but in twice the time. Ugh. At least we hadn't waited until the next morning to find out, because I would never have gotten to class if we had. My sister drove 35 MPH all the rest of the way home. She's an angel. We got in at 1AM. It wasn't too bad except for the 30-mile stretch we HAD to be on the interstate in order to cross the river. Good thing it was late at night and there was little traffic. We were nearly run down by a couple of trucks as it was. Apparently "emergency" flashers don't mean "emergency" to everyone.

I registered for my summer and fall classes today, and was very excited to see that the college has added ASL courses! Whoohoo! Obviously I registered for them. The first course uses the same book I'm currently using, and it will save me a lot of time to take a college course instead of the classes. It looks like I may have to go with General Studies as a major, though, and that's annoying me. I was sure I had seen Human Services as an Associate degree on the college website, but it's only up as a transfer degree right now. Which leaves me with the same problem I had going for a Psychology degree. I don't see any two-year degrees in any related fields, so I guess my best bet is just to take as many courses as possible in related fields and then start with another institution when I have enough credits. In case I hadn't mentioned it before, none of the institutions that have transfer agreements with the community college offer higher-level ASL classes. And those high-level classes MUST be taken through a college. They aren't offered independently.

While driving home last night my sister and I were talking to keep ourselves awake, and we got on the subject of Mom again. She reiterated again that Mom feels I reject her, and I was trying to explain that Mom only feels that way because she chooses to interpret any disagreement I have with her as a rejection of her personally. My sister didn't believe that. So this morning I tried to talk to my Mom about it. Of course she said that she does not feel rejected simply because I disagree with her about things. Then she proceeded to point out AGAIN all the areas in which my disagreement is unacceptable.

In other words, I was right. And I'm not wasting any more of my life coddling other people's feelings. My sister even went so far as to say that I should have more consideration for how all this stuff with DH has traumatized Mom. Really? When if she hadn't personally witnessed his breakdown she'd still be hounding me to get back together with him? That's how she advises, you know. She HOUNDS. Like a dog on your heels. Even after you've explained 500 times why you feel differently. The NIGHT BEFORE his episode she refused to keep the children until I got home, saying she wouldn't feel right keeping them from their father. THAT'S traumatizing. Knowing that your mother is looking out for everyone else but you. It was always that way until last summer. But oh how quickly we like to forget, and then get angry when others remember.

She has mentioned several times how much she wants to be my friend. And while I'd like to think that will happen someday, I know that it won't. Because what she means by friend is inaccurate. She wants to be my mentor, my forever teacher, my Mother Superior. To have me hang on her every word and sweetly gobble up all of her advice and be the person she wanted to be. She doesn't want to be MY friend. She wants me to be HER friend.

The kind of friendship I need right now is the kind that takes many years of closeness to establish. She has no right to expect to fill that gap by default simply because she prevented me from forming any others that fit the bill. I suppose she will always feel rejected, and always believe that my opinions are based on a desire to be different from her and not on actual beliefs. And you know what? That's insulting, and inexcusable, and I will not pretend it's okay. When I started taking catechumen classes at the Orthodox Church, she made a comment one day to the effect that "Maybe you and I should sit down sometime so I can give you MY religious classes." If anyone else had said that to me, I would not have spoken to them again. It was so condescending, so incredibly self-righteous and disrespectful, and on top of that it was downright stupid considering that I spent 20 YEARS in her religious classes, every morning and every evening and for 3-4 hours every Sunday! There is nothing more she could possibly tell me about her religious opinions, and I DISAGREE! After lots of research and study of various Christian traditions, I DISAGREE! Deal with it! The more I try to talk to her, the more obvious it is that she will not accept my differences as anything but rebellion or ignorance. So let her think that. It's her problem. And it IS a problem. I'm not going to let them make it mine.

1 comment:

  1. Heya, I saw your comment on Darcy's blog, about going to an Orthodox church. Tell me more! I'm a pretty liberal Christian, and I will be moving soon and thinking about trying out an Orthdox but conscious because I don't want to be hurt again. I'm one of those people whose cool with disagreeing with people, as long as they are also open-minded and understand that I'm close to Jesus, too. You know what I mean?