Today I had a surprisingly harmonious day with my mom. After taking her to the state offices to hook her up with some social services, we went to the Senior Services office, where they gave her coupons for the Farmer's Market, which, happily, is held on Tuesdays.. So I drove her to the Farmer's Market with her $21 worth of coupons clutched in her withered (yet still oddly threatening, if you grew up with her) fist.
The Farmer's Market is in the parking lot of the old Wal-Mart, which is down the road from the Super Wal-Mart, where not only you can get shoddy clothing made by exploited brown people in far-away countries chained to their sewing machines, you can also get bad food wrapped in plastic.
The Farmer's Market is a long line of booths selling fresh produce off the backs of trucks. I parked the truck at the most easterly end of the parking lot. She wanted to start at the most westerly end. We trudged over to that end and started looking and shopping and working our way back east. After we'd gone the entire length of booths and were back to the easternmost end, she decided: she wanted the 50 pound watermelon from the booth on the end. The western end. So I, trying to parlay this outing into a mother-daughter bonding session instead of a tragic murder-suicide, said, "I'll get it. Wait here."
I went back for the melon, then wrestled it into my truck. In the meantime, she's moved on and was busily interrogating the eggplant lady about the relative merits of Asian vs. domestic eggplants.
She eventually picked out a few more things, for a whopping total of $12, and we headed back to my house so Lori could cut up the watermelon. I chose Lori for that project since she's less likely to plunge it into my mother's heart than I might be.
All of this is good, since yesterday was the day we stood toe-to-toe and I flatly told her that she'd lost control of her life and I was going to begin the process of making it manageable for her. She narrowed her old lady eyes at me, stuck out her toothless old lady jaw and said, "Don't make me hate you, Evelyn"
I made my meanest Mean Mommy face back at her and said, "Really, I'd prefer that you don't hate me, but whether you do or not, I have an obligation to keep you safe. Either we work together to achieve that, or I'll roll over you like a steamroller. But you're not going to break a fucking hip and die in the driveway and have your face eaten by the dogs if I have anything to say about it."
It would have been a Mexican standoff except that neither of us are Mexican, and I was already guaranteed to win, because I'm more stubborn and I really fear the day I find her dead at the bottom of her front steps.
I have to go to work, but I'm sure I'll have plenty more later...