LockDown Diaries Pt. 5: Baby Boomer Parents

Tuesday marked 3 weeks to the day since I last talked to my Mom. Our conversation was her confirming what my sister  had told me – that she had decided to take a road-trip to Mississippi to visit my aunts, her sisters (with a detour in Chicago to pick up one of her older sisters who was riding down with her). My mother is 69. Do you see where I’m going with this? My baby-boomer mother deciding to take a road-trip in the middle of a pandemic with a pit-stop in a city that has been hit hard by this disease and then onto a non-emergency trip. Her logic to explain all this was “I’ve done my research and I’ve self-quarantined.”(speaking of the fact that she had stayed at home when she returned from vacation in Florida, which is where she and my siblings and nephew were when the pandemic first hit. She also took Indiana saying that they had reached their “peak” as some sort of ‘get out of jail free’ card too.) After having talked to her daily about all that was happening, and sending all the articles I found trying to convince her to be careful when she was in Florida, I thought she understood the seriousness of everything.

And then she confirmed that she had made the decision to take the trip. My response was“oh that’s really a bad idea.” Hers was proceeding to rush me off the phone. I haven’t talked to her since. She texted when she arrived and my response was a text of “smh.”

For context, my mother and I usually talk everyday. We’re close. This time not talking to her has been rough because so many times I’ve had to pull back from my natural instinct to pick up my phone and call her. My overall appreciation for the preciousness and fragility of life and time have made me second-guess myself. But at the same time, this time apart has made me really look at a few things. Yes, regardless of my very valid concerns, I know that I cannot control my mother and that she does not have to explain her decision-making process – as flawed as I believe they may be – to me. She’s been an adult longer than I’ve been alive. But the messed up part about this quarantine is how you have plenty of time to get lost inside your own mind, and not always for the better. So our little rift has made me remember and think about little things that have amounted to big things.

It’s a fact of life that as you get older you start to see your parents as human. You realize that your parents do the best that they can. My mother has been there for me and supported me through so much. But this situation has peeled back the veil, if you will, from my eyes. I’ve realized that as much as I adore her, she’s not perfect. I’m not either, clearly. But I guess while there have definitely been things that I have not shared with her (and will take to my grave without doing so – you can’t tell your Mama everything), I didn’t think that boundaries would have to be a thing I’d have to establish in our relationship too.

I’m happy that she is alright. But with the scariness and uncertainty of this virus still out there, her decision making/lack of appreciation for the seriousness of this matter, has me concerned. I still don’t know what to say to her. But still, I put her Mother’s Day card in the mail today.

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