So far, no call.
My mother should’ve got my letter Thursday and for all I know it shredded itself to pieces the moment I left the post office.
I sent it signed-for so it can be easily tracked but after a cursory glance around 2 of my Top 3 Putting Places, the receipt is no-where to be found.
I’m not checking the third place because I assume it’s in the bin. And besides, I don’t want to find it because if I do then I’ll knowingly be in receipt of what I thought would happen. Although not being sure allows for hope it feels uncomfortable.
So I’m sat here at a loose end.
Knowing but not knowing.
It’s more likely that the letter was delivered rather than shredding itself through spite. I would go so far as to say that it has been delivered by the Royal Mail. My confidence might be misguided but her letter was sent the same, first class ‘signed-for’, and even with a redelivery, I managed to get it without fuss.
Redelivery is not an issue for her because if she was out then Jeff would’ve been home, and if not then he certainly would’ve collected it as the card instructed, upon waiting the minimum 24 hours.
So she’s got it.
No call. No text.
Any hope of a well-received letter is surely gone by now.
Recieve. Read. React.
My letter is 4 pages long.
I know it took me a fortnight to respond to her letter but mine was really hard to write. I spent weeks beforehand writing my own letter to her into knots and loose ends.
Surely, if well received and within the spirit of that intended than the next outreach is by phone. Either text or call. Instant communication. If she’s not able with words then Jeff could’ve called to say they’ve received my letter. She holds much upon his ‘they’ and he would’ve jumped with gratitude on a thaw.
So since no-one’s called, and she has my letter, it can only mean that my letter has been ill-received. Even if Jeff wanted to thank me for his Christmas card, he wouldn’t call if she was at home. That’s the kind of rookie mistake that makes you eligible for the gallows.
There is something stopping her picking up the phone.
I think it’s my letter’s contents.
Because I think this I’m resisting the urge to re-read it. I know what it says, its message is simple.
Mother, I’ve rarely been who you’ve thought me to be.
I love you but I don’t love the things you do.
I don’t say this outright but translated this phrase means,
I love you but I love nothing you do.
Or otherwise stated,
I love you but you are worthless.
I’ve asked her at the very end of my letter to find a way to include the word ‘always’.
I love you but I don’t always love the things you do.
I’ve said that words are powerful and that this little one could mean there’s something in me to cherish. Is there something in me to cherish? I once I didn’t think so but I’ve found it, and I hope she might find it too.
If I re-read my letter then I’ll only confirm that I’m a nasty piece of work and been like it since birth. I don’t care for her, I’m disloyal, I’m loathsome, blah blah blah.
And although I sparingly used ‘trigger’ words, she would’ve seen their context and how my letter very much stays focussed on me in my own care, my nastiness will be quick to note.
How I’ve laid out my letter will be my attack formation.
It just starts with her phrase, no proper etiquette, and explains why I always add an ‘always’.
It then moves on to my wait for her apology. I account for the tannoy and her slamming the phone down, and conclude quickly how this makes me nasty. I hope but then lament ’cause she’ll never see me.
And next is the poem, I feel like at age…
I then address how I’m not accountable for the actions of family, and I disagree that through them I am their blame. I’m not, quite simply. I’m my own blame, thank you very much. She said in her letter that I fail to consider her pain, and so I say that it frustrates me that she’s never heard me listen and never felt my care. I suppose, she’s never sensed my support because of that poem.
The last little half-page addresses her goodbye, which is her letter’s lasting impression, and how it’s different to my wait for her apology. I say it nicely, but I after she slammed the phone down on me over a tannoy I think that deserves her “I’m sorry”.
I end it all with my hope that she might include the words ‘always’.
Signed: Your son Tom xx
All of it will prove one thing: I don’t care for her so therefore I’m nasty.
She’ll recall spending 4 pages speaking of her mortality and health, and besides my vague reference to her “current present,” I never mention it.
She lays bare her feelings of worthlessness and despair, but besides my frustration that she’s never heard me listen because of that poem, I never once consider her pain.
I have always considered her pain. She forgets, I know she’s the only person who hurts; no-one else is ever pained.
That poem is incendiary.
It alone, through its lies, could prove I’m nasty.
As my mate Laura might say, I’m guilty of emotional terrorism.
I set alight to some history that explodes, and I did it all the while smiling in a picture.
If I describe it like that then alright, maybe I am nasty and been like it since birth.
Otherwise, I’m sure I was helpless at first. I return to the poem.
All this, and so much more, has been running around my head because I’ve felt at loose end this evening. I was sat here unable to write or pretend to write, or watch telly. I’ve been sat in silence for a good few hours because sometimes that’s what I do.
But at long last, after 6 hours, I’ve finally arrived at the purpose of this post.
Should I call my mother on Christmas Day if I don’t hear from her first?
My gut answer is ‘no, because she isn’t treating me fairly.’
But should I be the ‘bigger person’?
As that ‘bigger person’, what price might I pay for that poem?
While I’m at it, who will I need to be for her to love me again?
It would be nice if it wasn’t possible, but if I called and she was not at work and I spoke with her, I wouldn’t get anywhere until I retract my letter and restored full deference. I would be expected to excuse how she chooses to treat me and find the true error here being in that I’m nasty. When required under her roof I had to be lower myself, had to bow into a standing ball; pleading forgiveness.
I’m disinclined to go through all that because it’ll make all those weeks I spent writing that letter rather pointless.
It would mean nothing, change nothing, and give her permission to do this again.
So my answer is ‘no’ but I’m countered with ‘be the bigger person’?
But to be this ‘bigger person’ asks questions that answer as ‘no, don’t call because I’m not being treated fairly.’
And then I wonder if I should be the bigger person.
All my mother has to do is apologise for slamming the phone down after that tannoy.
If she managed to do that very simple thing it would show me a little respect.
Of course, it would be coerced so she’d need to follow it up with remorseful actions, but nevertheless. Her respect. Her saying, “I’m sorry I shouldn’t have done that.”
And that’s all she has to do for me to bring her out of the doghouse.
For the first time in history, my mother is in my doghouse. It’s winter now and it’s cold.
So after all that, I’ve got my answer.
I’m not going to call.
To clarify my reasoning for when I wonder about being a better person:
I’m not going to call my mother on Christmas Day because she doesn’t treat me fairly. The fact it’s Christmas is an unfortunate clash of the diary. For the first time in history, my mother is in my doghouse so it’s her turn at remorse. If she doesn’t want to acknowledge that then she has been told and she making her bed.
She can either lie in that bed or give me a call.
That’s your only choice when you’re in the wrong.