We had our family Christmas dinner this evening, or if you want to be perfectly correct, last evening. It was the gathering with the highest hit rate of participants, given everyone’s plans and work schedules. Four generations at a meal is a gift in and of itself. Overall it was just fine, actually, wonderful. In the minutia I found myself challenged by my mother.

The biggest encounter was when she, once again, objected to how my son-in-law (SIL) handled the baby. A light bounce on the hip, accompanied by direct attention. As soon as my SIL left the kitchen, my mother turned on me and said that he shouldn’t be ‘bouncing’ the baby. It could cause agitation. I assured my mom that the baby wasn’t aggitated. She then launched into a “Shaken Baby Syndrome” lecture. Internally, I snapped. I looked at her, held my hands fully above my head and while shaking them violently, said to her, “This is what causes shaken baby syndrome. Not bouncing the child on one’s hip!” She objected saying she’d read about this and how I was so wrong. I assured her my SIL was handling my grandson perfectly and told her to let it go. Kinda forcefully (We’re in the middle of our family Xmas dinner…) She turned on me and said, “YOU let it go!!” I looked at her and said, “Mom, you’re the one who brought it up, you let it go!.” Hello dementia.

As we were settling down to dinner, mom asked my step-daughter, who was wearing a woven hat, how long her hear was. Chloe, showed mom her cute short hair length. This propelled mom to relate to Chloe, again, the story of how her own mom attempted to micromanage her hair styles when she was a young child, and her rebellion. It’s one of many stories about what a ‘shit’ her mom was. Great Christmas dinner conversation… 

Once settled into dinner, and with the full attention of my kinda amazing step-daughter, I overheard mom instructing her on how to make a salad. This story goes back to mom’s college days and is revisited frequently. Chloe is a patient listener. I”ve said that before. It bears repeating. 

The above is layered upon her feeding the 13 year old (barfy) cat raw bits from the the roast trimmings after being asked not to, repeatedly wiping her hands on kitchen towels after handling said raw trimmings without washing her hands, complaints about our dinner out on the 23rd (yea, I said we wouldn’t do that again…). It’s funny how mom can grouse about how little seafood was in the seafood salad we shared, yet not be able to finish her half. Exclaim 6 times about the cost of two classes of wine (each) yet not have noticed the price per glass when she ordered what she wanted…   

No, none of it makes sense, and that’s the hardest part for me. I want dust to line up with true north, people to be logical ALL the time and for everything to reconcile. I guess I’m not in Kansas any more.

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