Tuesday, February 27, 2007

When Worlds Collide

Visiting my mother is always a trip for one reason or another. Sometimes it's a trip because my mom is literally on one. This time, she was recovering from a surgery she had the previous week. The surgeon had guaranteed that she would be pain-free after two days. I stopped by nine days after the surgery and she was crouched in pain. Instead of stalking the surgeon to get some answers as to why she is not feeling better, she put together her own pain management plan by alternating between oxycontin and gin. Two years ago, I would have been crying and screaming at her for being so stupid. Now, I just take her car keys, dilute her gin with tap water and go on with the visit.

We spent the morning visiting and talking about family. We talked about some major family gossip that is so scandalous that it cannot be written on a public site. We talked about my sister and her two sons and how Mom worries about them now that Haus Sis is divorced and on her own. We talked about the girls and Herr, etc. In the middle of all of this discussion, she suddenly piped in with, "I would really like to meet your birthsister."

I feel it is only fair to back up a bit. Awhile back I wrote about the fact that my birth sister, "L" and I found each other a couple of years ago. At the time, I had decided not to tell my mom about it. Had I found L five years earlier when my Dad was still alive, they would have been the first people I called. My parents were so helpful in trying to find my birth family when I was younger. With Dad gone and my mother in such poor health, I didn't want her to think that I was in the process of setting up a replacement family to take over once she died. I did tell Haus Sis and swore her to secrecy since keeping her mouth shut is not one of her strong suits. And while L has met some of my friends, I have not made it public to my family that L exists and is in my life.

And yet, my mother found out. Around Christmas, Mom and I were on the phone and we got on the topic of secrets. I told her that I had a secret to tell her and that I felt really bad that I had been keeping it from her for so long. She said, "Jesus Christ. Are you going to finally tell me that you've reunited with your birthsister and that you two see each other when you come home?"

Haus Sis swears she didn't say a word, and I think I believe her. My mother, of course, has NEVER given up a source. Ever.

And so my mother wanted to meet L. It so happened that L and I had plans to meet for dinner that evening anyway, so I called her and asked her to stop by my Mom's apartment before we went out. She agreed, and met my mom a few hours later. Fortunately, Mom was only on her second martini, so she was fairly well-behaved and didn't share the story about how she and Dad had me tested for retardation when I was first adopted. She kept the stories of how horrible I was growing up to a minimum. After about 30 minutes of shooting the breeze, L and I left because I knew Mom was really tired. At dinner, L and I talked about how interesting the meeting was. L admitted that she was somewhat jealous that I can tell my family about her but she cannot. She also admitted that she had been initially scared to meet my mom, but that it had turned out well. It was at that moment that I felt really bad for not thinking about how weird it really was for L to meet my Mom.

The next day, Mom was babbling on and on about more family gossip while I was cleaning her bathroom. From the living room I heard, "By the way, your sister's hair is gorgeous."

I said, "What, did Haus Sis get her hair done? It is about damn time since she has had the same stupid style for more than 20 years."

Mom said, "No, Dumbass--your SISTER. L."

"Thanks for calling me a Dumbass, Mom. I guess I am not used to thinking about the fact that I have more than one sister."

Mom said, "L is absolutely beautiful. Are you two SURE that you two are sisters?"

"Thank you for alluding that I am a troll, Mom. Yes, we are sure we are sisters. It's not clear that we have the same father, so at the very least we are half sisters."

"I didn't mean to imply that you are ugly, Honey. It's just that L's features are so beautiful and different than yours. She just doesn't look like you is all. I can't wait to call your Aunt K and tell her that I have another daughter in the family."

"But Mom, that's just it--she's NOT your daughter."

"I know, but I really liked her. She would fit into our family quite well. And her features are simply stunning, don't you think? I mean, she REALLY is beautiful."

Can't you just smell the crazy?


Biotress said...

I randomly came across your blog...just thought it was great that you've connected with your birth family. I know how important it is to make that connection!

Arwen said...

I love your mom. Martinis were a big part of my world too so I understand the insanity that ensues when one of the parental units imbibes AND that you really can measure things by how many they have had.
Was it a bit like the Twilight Zone having those two worlds collide?

Anonymous said...

Oh Haus Frau you are so beautiful. And yes you do look like L, at least from the one picture I have seen. Just take your mother for what its worth ( another martini. I didn't tell her. Your mother likes me and I what to keep it that way. I just love your mom.


Andie D. said...

You know, I CAN smell the crazy!

It's so weird. I have absolutely no interest in having my bmom meet my asis. They are so incredibly different that it would just be too weird.

I am very happy for you that you are able to be close enough to L that she's cool meeting your mom. Makes me thing again about contacting a 1/2 sis I have (she was given up before me).

Scared though.

stefanierj said...

My favorite thing in all this is how funny you manage to be amidst all the stress and crazy. "I just take her car keys, dilute her gin with water and go on with the visit." You're a wonder.

albamaria said...

Haus Frau:

what great stories you tell. would that all people could deal with weird family dynamics with as much humor as you. the world -- and most families -- would be a much better place.


The June Cleaver Diaries said...

I've written about 4 different commeents, and deleted them all before posting. There's just nothing I can say here. But I'm laughing my ass off.

cape buffalo said...

seriously... i am so jealous of your beautiful hair and peaches and cream skin. and your girls are so lucky to have that from you.

i could smell something weird... i just thought it was hubby(the pain meds make him kind of smelly) but now i know: it's the crazy.