“Do you want the chicken?” my mom asked for the fourth time. Mark was coming up to help me with a work project and in return I was going to help him download his tax information. My mother, who always wants to feed us, wanted to know what food she could send me via Mark.
Even though I have my own food, and I really don’t need anything, I know it makes her happy to give me something. I told her I would take some lettuce. But I really didn’t need the chicken.
“Mom, I don’t want the chicken. You’ve asked me that four times. What is going on?”
“Well, I’m distracted. The weather just came on. I’m watching the weather so I guess I’m not listening to your answer.”
“Well, if you’re so distracted, how do you keep asking me questions?”
“I don’t know, I just do. It’s what I do.”
“Well, does it matter what I answer? Should I just ignore you?”
“No, don’t ignore me. I want to know if you want the chicken.”
“OK, I don’t want it. I just don’t understand why you keep asking me. I don’t know how to have patience so I’m trying to understand what you actually want from me.”
“I want to know if you want the chicken.”
“I SAID NO.”
She hung up on me. She never hangs up on me. I called her back.
“Mom, I’m just trying to understand why you keep asking so I don’t get impatient. Do you really need me to answer you each time? Are you listening? I’m really trying here.”
“Yes, answer me each time. That would be good. Do you want the chicken?”
“Ummmmm, let me see. No. I don’t need the chicken. I have some at home. But thanks.”
“OK, what was I going to give Mark?”
I’m going to try to answer the questions as if she hasn’t already asked me. I’ll see if I can be more patient.
It am sad that she can’t remember but I think it’s more that she’s so distracted she doesn’t focus on my answer. I don’t remember a lot of things these days so I kind of get it.
The difference is that not only does she not remember my answer, she doesn’t remember that she already asked the question. Over and over and over.
So, again, I will try. As an act of love. As an act of compassion.
And if I stop thinking it shouldn’t be this way and should be different, I probably wouldn’t be so frustrated. That would probably help. This is the way it is right now. And I am lucky to have her.
And I can have compassion for myself as well.
Thanks for listening. I’ll keep you posted.