My mom has been in the mood to tell me stories this past week. They are, for the most part, stories I’ve heard over and over again. They can be categorized into at least two types: events, and emotions.

The events are sometimes things I’d rather not know, classified as too much information: grandma deciding she doesn’t want any more pregnancies and telling grandpa she isn’t going to have sex, and grandpa feeling sad about it is not something I really needed to hear over and over. My grandmother lost a son (and mom a brother) to SIDS, and my great aunt blamed grandma, saying it was because the baby was nursed in front of a fan. My grandma’s ignorance of the workings of the female body and reluctance to talk about it with her daughters meant that my mom had to find out from her older sister about her menstrual cycle. Stories like that stick with me, but I don’t tell her to stop because she seems to need to talk about them.

Some stories I enjoy hearing: mom talks about the garden her mom planted and the vegetables they harvested. She enjoys flowers and talks about the bushes and flowers they had in their yard. I also get to hear about what I was like as a baby from time to time.

The emotional stories are harder to hear. Mom did not have an easy childhood, at least in her mind. She was shy, but prone to temper tantrums at home. She lived in a very small town and was picked on. Mom turned to books and was an excellent student, but the pain of never feeling like she fit in never left her. Apparently my grandpa told someone that mom was unstable, and she believes that to this day, even though she claims she was very close to her father. She felt like she and her mother were never very close and is sad about that. And she mourns the loss of the life she thought she’d be living until the day she died.

Sometimes I feel like saying “Didn’t anything good happen in your life? Isn’t there anything you can find that’s positive about the situation you are in now?” and I desperately need to connect with someone, anyone, who can remind me that life is good and can be fun.

Last week I spent a few hours with a couple of friends after mom and dad went to bed. I was tired, but oh, it was so nice to be with people who enjoyed the things I enjoy. I need more time like that. I need a vacation. But that’s for another day.


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