While living in Phoenix, I would periodically receive a phone call from Mother announcing an impending visit. I wish I could say I looked forward to these calls, but the thought of them filled me with dread. Oh no, I would think.
What can go wrong this time?
On one occasion, Mother got off the plane and announced that her brother-in-law had taken her to the airport and told her to fix her husband:
Show him by staying with your daughter and not coming back.
I immediately let her know that her visit did have an expiration date and we would be observing it.
On another occasion, Mother was speaking with a friend on the phone and the friend inquired about the Chinese restaurant I had taken her to earlier in the evening.
I’ve had better.
she replied. Actually, for a woman who loved to eat, she was certainly very picky.
Another time, Mother was visiting me and the visit was not going well.
You’re going to have to go back early
No, I’m not
It would cost me fifty dollars to change my ticket and I’m not paying it.
My response was simple.
Okay, I’ll pay but we are changing your ticket today.
On her last visit to Arizona (which “conveniently” occurred the week I was moving back to the Midwest) Mother called me at work and asked me to get a cantaloupe and a frozen pie crust on my way home. “Why?” I asked.
Since I am moving I wasn’t thinking of buying more groceries but rather using up what was here.
Mother replied in her classic manner:
I’m making cantaloupe pie.
She refused to take no for an answer. Take a guess at how the pie turned out.
You might think that these exchanges might cause Mother and me to have had an even more fractured relationship than usual, but you would be wrong. Mother never remembered having words with me and considered our exchanges normal mother-daughter conversation rather than the far from normal experiences they were.