My mom went back yesterday. She called when she got in, and while I think she was glad to be home, I also think she wishes I had come back with her - that I could just go "home" and be down the street. Not that she is alone in this!! :) Some of our struggles arise because of that tension between wanting home to include family and accepting that growing up means having a home of my own that may not be close in geography.
We were able to sort out the other issues, too, but the funny thing is, in talking to my mother, I realized I was talking to myself as well. F'rinstance, one of the issues that has been troubling for my parents is money. Not that this is a big surprise, since one of the most significant issues for any couple is usually money: how to spend it, who makes the decisions, etc.
My mom worked for most of her life at a job she was very good at but that she tolerated at best because she could make more money at it than my dad could make at his chosen profession. She resented the hell out of that imbalance, particularly since my dad was (and remains) actually an excellent teacher, but he chose to be a pastor to follow in the footsteps of a man he looked to as a surrogate father, even though he often resents the general requirements of his profession.
Anyway, in talking with my mom about the things that drive her to the despair she has lived with for a while now, I mentioned to her that she had choices - she could choose whether to agree to how these things were done, she could speak up, she could put money into her own account for her own use, etc. And, unlike some families I've heard of, she actually could. My dad can be selfish and manipulative, but he is not unreasonable. He's just too smart for his own damned good (like some other people I know.....)
As we were in this discussion, my mom kept saying that she's tried, but she can't. I told her that she can, but that she chooses not to because she gets a benefit from things staying the way they are. She said, "what benefit? How is this good for me?" I told her, "You like to be right. If Dad is wrong, then you're right." She thought about it for a minute, and then she said, "You know, I never thought of it like that....."
We'll see how things go - I think they are both motivated to move forward with this, and I think with my dad going back to school, he will have less time to get into mischief, but we'll see. My dad is pretty fact-driven. He can make great arguments around the facts, but he's usually up-front enough to admit when a situation is imbalanced. The hard part is getting him to follow through - but that's a tale for another day.
The discussion stuck with me, though, not because it concerns my parents, but because I know that I am like both of my parents in many ways. I started thinking about how their relationship formed the model for my own relationships (or lack thereof), and it finally struck me: How many times have I chosen to be right instead of happy? How many times have I been drawn to men who were unavailable for whatever reason, only to say that I had done everything right but I hadn't found the right person?
Definitely something to think about. Particularly since there is a really CUTE new neighbor that just moved in next door. Tall, dark, handsome, athletic, with dimples.....
Not too sure about the status right now. He had a very quiet blonde with him when I met him Saturday. I tried to say hello to her and introduce myself, but she wouldn't even look at me. He works midnights, so I'm not likely to seek him that often, but I will keep my eyes open for the blonde. If I find out anything more, I will let you know!