I have a feeling that at some level, men don’t really know what to do with their mothers post the age of eight. For a very long time, they are in denial about this, as they are with most things, till one fine day, they meet a woman who can “do mothers”. This is the point at which they are at first in shock and awe, and then eventually heave a jubiliant sigh of relief, as if exclaiming, “Take her…and do what you want with her. Amuse her, talk to her, listen (most important), call, write, bitch, gossip, whatever. But leave me out of it…please..”
It’s almost as though handing the mother over to the woman of their lives gives him the sense of freedom to do more important things. Like playing more pool. Drinking more beer. Watching more television. Hanging out with more miscellanous and utterly random people.
So now, I am now communicating with two mothers — his is definitely more tech savvy than mine, so in a sense is easier to do. As for mine — I have to either talk or listen. Fumbling with either of the two will immediately get her antennae up, as will a slight inflection in my voice, which will set her thinking, “I wonder what’s wrong and how I can fix it..” She believes in a strict two-way communication, so no getting away with an sms or an email. And there is no way you can avoid a confrontation. May be that’s why I have become quite good in that department.
The fact of the matter is, moms are clever, and men cannot match up to their astuteness. So it’s never possible to have an open-ended, “wassup” kind of conversation with your mother, and avoid the sticky areas. Ask me. I am a veteran with moms. At a recent birthday do of a friend’s baby, she couldn’t help observing how well I was “doing the mother-in-law”. I tried explaining to her that I am basically a friendly person, which she banished instantly as rubbish. “Lalli, don’t give me that… you don’t get along with seven out of ten people. Just admit, you are good at the stuff..”
May be I have become good at the stuff, having largely the mediator (and foster mother) for my twin siblings for the most part. They both have issues. My sister is of the opinion that my mother suffers from selective hearing (read: she hears only what I have to say). My brother is largely exasperated that she doesn’t get the concept of time lag between his speaking and the words being delivered to her (he lives in California). So, more often than not, they are talking at the same time, and no one is listening. At some point, out of the extreme need to be heard, he calls me and downloads for the next one hour. And then she calls me and downloads for half hour after that. Such is my life!