I called my Mom a little bit ago, to wish her a happy mother's day. We chatted.
My Mom's disappointed by the way her life turned out. She had this plan, and it seemed like a good one: she'd raise her kids and take good care of her husband, and defer the things she otherwise wanted to do, and then when he retired, they'd travel and stuff.
But he died about a year after retiring.
She feels cheated.
She looks around, and her friends' daughters are "all" happily married with kids and living in the area. They visit, and her friends get to see their grandkids regularly. Mostly her friends' daughters are in very traditional middle and upper-middle class white marriages, where they either work part-time or are stay at home moms.
My mom was bored stiff as a stay at home mom. She encouraged me to go to college. But deep down, she really did think that I was going to college to get an MRS degree. It didn't matter what I majored in, because, as she told me, I could always get a job as a secretary until I got married.
And so she's both really proud of what I've done, and has been tremendously supportive, and at the same time deeply hurt because by making my choices, I've demonstrated that I don't think she was right about her choices. And this is true.
But I look at her, and I don't want to defer doing things I want to do forever.
And so I feel in a bind: my mom wants me to invite her to do whatever vacation I want to do, but the vacations that most interest me (riding in Yellowstone, for example) aren't things she's capable of doing.
On one hand, I feel like I should defer my biking vacations and do something she'd like (which would be a bus vacation almost anywhere, or a tour). On the other hand, I'm nearing 50, and I'm not going to be able to go bike in Yellowstone or wherever forever.
I'm planning to have my niece and nephew visit for a week or so this summer, both for fun and because my sister-in-law and sibling should get some alone time together. I know my mom would love to be here for their visit. But if she is, we can't go biking or kayaking (logistics: it's harder to move more people+kayaks in my car). But the kids are tween and teen, and at an age when taking them out biking and such is ideal.
I've applied to go teach abroad, and I know (because she's asked) she'd love to come visit. But again, the things I'd like to do abroad aren't things she'd be able to do. And I was pretty unhappy on our last tour vacation.
I look at her, and I think, I should be patient and invite her, because it would make her happy. And she's getting old, and can't do some things, so I should adapt. And I look at her, and I think, I spent ten years being poor while I figured things out and got a PhD and lived on a really tight budget, and now I've got some disposable income, I should take vacations that I really want to take now before I can't.
Happy mother's day from a crappy daughter.