"I got that for you," my mom says excitedly.
I look at her and think to myself, "you sick, sick woman."
I don't say anything.
I don't encourage her glee.
I make a mental note to myself to put this on the growing list of
what not to do as a mother of adult children.
This morning my older brother is coming to see me. We live 600 miles apart and in the past 28 years since I've left home, he's stopped in for coffee once for about 10 minutes. He has good friends who live in our area and he and his wife come to see them every so often. I never know he's been here until after the fact. I think that's weird and at the same time totally normal because we haven't worked at any relationship in the past 30+ years since he left home. C'est la vie.
My mom, in her infinite manipulation, pinned him down a few weeks ago when she learned he was coming up here to see his friends. She knows it bothers me that he never stops in. What she can't grasp is that it's really none of her business. So she says to him "And what day will you be visiting Hope?" And with that he gives her a date. When she was here last week she was so excited to tell me she had wrangled a commitment out of him. A commitment I never asked her to get.
Last night I was doing up the last of the dishes and wondering if my brother would follow through. Right at that moment the phone rang. It was my brother calling to get directions to my house and to tell us when he'd be here today as planned. Planned by our mother, that is, although neither of us say that.
In a few hours he'll be on my doorstep. His wife of 30 years has never been to our home. I have no relationship with either of them and I feel like I'm about to entertain strangers. I have no idea if he really wants to come see me or if he's simply keeping his word to our mom. Fr. Charlie encouraged me last week to simpy be myself, to speak my truth. I suck at small talk. The deep stuff I can do in a heartbeat. The small talk gets stuck in my throat. I don't know if they'll be here for 10 minutes or a few hours.
This will be the first time I'll be seeing my brother since I've been going for counseling to heal the wounds of childhood sexual abuse. He was the first perpetrator. Sometimes I wonder if he remembers that incident.
The one that changed me at my core.
Sometimes I wonder.