Sunday, September 19, 2010

In which I tell Primo I have no interest in talking to his mother on the phone

It's our anniversary. Two years. Still not at the finger in the bellybutton stage. Primo has to wait until our 50th anniversary for that, although he had a chance a few months ago when I had told him I would go out to the bar with him but I really didn't want to go (I never want to go out to a loud bar where people are drinking), so I offered a finger in the bellybutton in exchange for not having to go out.

He didn't take it.

Too bad.

Now he has to wait 48 more years.

The subject of his parents came up. Just what I want to think about on our anniversary when we are still in our PJs at 11 a.m. and eating this chocolate-ricotta cheese-chocolate cookie dessert for breakfast before Primo makes omelettes with the chorizo-cheese-pepper thingy leftovers from supper at a Mexican restaurant last night.

It came up because I pointed out an article in the Sunday USA Weekend magazine, which sets the standard for responsible journalism. All the accurate, important news.

The article was about how to stay healthy and the last piece of advice was to keep a positive attitude, which is something Sly and Doris know nothing of, as they seek opportunities to whine and be miserable.

My great aunt watched her first husband crash his plane into the ground in front of her and their two daughters. She re-married and had four more kids and lived a happy life. Not a bitter woman. Another great-aunt lost her husband to leukemia when he was 37. He left her with eight children, one of whom died of cancer two years later. Not a bitter woman.

Point is that you decide how you are going to react to things and if you want to be miserable, you can be miserable. If you want to be happy, you can be happy.


I showed the story to Primo, who pointed out that his parents were different, that it wasn't their fault, that they weren't responsible and they had no choice but to miserable. Yes, he was channeling his mom and dad.

Then he noted that if his dad dies before his mom does that Doris will probably want to live with us and he will feel responsible for her.

I reminded him that his wedding present to me was the promise that they would NEVER live with us. NEVER.

Well, close to us, then, he said. There is an assisted living place two blocks from us.

Uh huh. If Doris wants to be in assisted living near us, whatever. That does not mean we bring her over to our house frequently or that we(=I) take her to the doctor or shopping.

"I don't think you know how nice my mom is," Primo said.

OK. Maybe I don't, as I have not seen evidence of that.

I still don't want her living in my house, taking my bedroom because she can't take stairs, telling me over and over how she can't help anymore and how bad she feels about that and could we move the TV into the living room (from the basement) and how Primo is her ONLY JOY.

"I don't even want my mom living with us and we both like and love my mom," I pointed out. "I don't want anyone but us living in this house."

Primo sighed. "I guess I need to call." [His mandatory weekly phone call or else they feel abandoned.]

I shrugged. "If that's what you want to do on your anniversary - submit to the parental guilt complex."

"They'll want to wish us a happy anniversary," he said.

Oh sure. Because they were so thrilled with his decision to marry me.


"What if my mom wants to tell you happy anniversary herself?" he asked.

"Tell her I'm out."

"I don't want to lie to my mother."

"Fine. When you call, I'll go outside and then you'll be telling the truth."

"You don't even want to talk to my mom for a second?"

"No. I don't. It's my anniversary. They already made my wedding stressful. I don't have to let them ruin my anniversary."

"My mom says she keeps reaching out to you," he said.

Yes, she also tells that to my sister in law Stephanie - that she reaches out to me all the time and I reject her.

I suppose you could count giving us a framed photograph of themselves as reaching out. Or sending me an email after I wrote a sympathy note after a family death and then complaining that my response to her email was too short.

"Just be nice to my parents," Primo sighs. "It will make life easier for me."

"Fine," I tell him. "If I am driving and I see your dad in the crosswalk, I'll stop the car until he gets to the sidewalk."

"Not what I meant," Primo says.


  1. I'm pretty sure that him bringing his mother to live with or even near you is a deal breaker, as far as your relationship is concerned. With any luck, it will never happen.

  2. Omigosh Jen, I would have to slit my wrists if she lived with us.


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