Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Guilt or No Guilt

Tonight I called my mom to tell her that, instead of coming home to their place this summer, that I was going to take a backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon for my birthday. And as I told her this, I could tell she was disappointed. She asked who I was going with and I told her it was a group of women. I told her this with hope in my voice - hope that she would understand and be supportive.

She wasn't. "Well, I just want to implant one thought into your head: Tom."

"What does he have to do with it?"

"Well, I'm just afraid that if you don't see him often enough, then you won't be able to provide for him in the case that *something* happens."

"And you think that me coming home for four days would change that?"

"Well, I'm just saying, that if you don't see him, then we may need to consider some other people to care for him if *something* happens."

I was furious. "I guess I expected a little bit more supportive response from you. If you need to consider getting some other people, then that's your decision to make."

"You're overreacting."

"I'm sorry. I guess I only have so much money and so much time."

"You know we'd help pay for you to come out here. It's unfortunate, but we'd help you."

"You know, it would be good if you would consider coming out here."

"We have considered it. But, I'm afraid you'd use that as an excuse to never see come home and see Tom."

"What?!? As if I've made an excuse the last seven years I've come home? Why would I do that now?"

Silence.

"I am so furious with you right now. How dare you use Tom as fodder to make me feel guilty? How dare you throw him at me like that?"

"You're overreacting. This is all in your head."

"I'm sorry. I have to go now. I love you. Bye."

It sounds melodramatic, but I feel like I've lived my life under a shroud of my parents' disappointment. Aside from going to college, I have never done anything that they have approved of. I am at the end of this rope. I refuse to live the rest of my life doing everything I can to make them happy. And I refuse to make any more excuses for why I haven't done the things that make them happy.

They wonder why I moved all the way out here. Right now, I can't get far enough away from them.