A concept that boggles my mind is that we’re supposed to accept blood-relations as family under all circumstances. Gaby sent me a great article called “Motherless by Choice” by Katie Naum. Ms. Naum’s mother wasn’t loving or supportive — she inflicted psychological terror and abuse. After years of trying to build up her self-esteem while her mother constantly tore her down, Ms. Naum escaped. She has cut off contact with her mother and has become happier, healthier, and more mentally stable.
I commented on Ms. Naum’s article to congratulate her for working on becoming the great woman she always had the potential to be. I assured her that there are many of us who have toxic relationships with our parents, so ignore the naysayers and people who don’t understand. I couldn’t believe that numerous commenters shamed her for removing her mother from her life. People quoted the Ten Commandments about “honoring your father and mother.” People warned that she would regret not making peace with her mother when her mother died.
My relationship with my mother hasn’t been as toxic as the author’s with her mother. But I related to Ms. Naum’s feelings. For years, I attempted to be the perfect, obedient daughter that she and my father expected me to be. Any time I would disagree with them, they would berate me for being ungrateful and insolent. My father constantly itemized how much supporting me cost. I blindly accepted everything they said as true. I thought my worth was based on their pride in me.
Father’s Day is on Sunday. I’ll be in Alpharetta for the day, as Brie needed someone to watch her while her nanny makes lunch and my parents go to church. I’m looking forward to having sister time without our parents or her nanny. I didn’t attend Mother’s Day, as I took a trip to California with Andrea and Shaina, instead. I don’t regret missing lunch with my mother that day — she was still harassing me because I don’t make spend enough time with “the family.” (Even if for the past several years, I would go there for lunch or dinner once a week. I don’t know any other people in their twenties who make that kind of effort, especially with parents who are the vortex of negativity in their lives.) Raf is in charge of getting our card, but there is no Hallmark card for those who have strained relationships with their parents.
Family’s involvement in your life should be conditional, just as it is with anyone else. Sharing genetics shouldn’t be a free pass to repeatedly tear someone down. Birthing someone doesn’t give you the right to consistently scream that you hope she fails, since her goals don’t aligned with yours. On the surface, I’ll be civil. But I can never be sincere about celebrating the days that praise the two biggest haters in my life.
The Wild Beaver Saloon isn’t the classiest establishment. It’s a hilarious honky tonk bar where you can sing karaoke, ride a mechanical bull, and do free shots (courtesy of scantily clad ladies who promote disgusting candy flavored vodka or other liquors). Whenever I would visit Andrea in Nashville, we would exasperate the other bar patrons by singing terrimazing renditions of pop songs with our other lady friends.
During spring break our senior year of college, I visited Andrea in New York. For one of our cultural outings, we went to the MoMA where Marina Abramović was performing “The Artist is Present.” Strangers would sit across from her while she stared back at them intently (silently).
Over the years, Shaina and I have helped Andrea expand her culinary horizons. We’ve been successful for the most part. She eats kale and chickpeas on a regular basis now. But there are still certain foods she won’t eat.
It was the week after Andrea’s birthday, so we had a celebratory dinner at Inoko in Athens. While she enjoyed the fried rice and vegetables, she hated the shrimp. I was happy to steal the rest of her shrimp after that.
Paprika is an excellent restaurant in St. Mark’s. Prior to NYC’s ban on brunch-time bottomless drinks, Andrea and I had bottomless mimosas to accompany our delicious entrees. It’s a tiny spot, but we didn’t have to wait since we were both running late. The staff didn’t mind that we lingered to catch up (and enjoy too many mimosas) before she had to take the bus back to D.C. and I had to meet up with Ceddy to catch our flight home.