It’s been over eight months since I graced my mother’s home in Florida with my presence. Although I might be writing from a place of bitterness right now, I assure you that my absence is actually not due to a personal grudge.
My first break of the 2012 year—spring break—was spent preparing last summer’s research for a conference presentation. Then, it was back to classes, straight into Boards studying, then the summer from hell, then back to Boards to studying. Now, I have two weeks before my first rotation.
Incidentally, I also had a $400 credit on American Airlines expiring this week.
Originally, I thought that I’d just go to Florida for four days after my exam. But, thinking of everything that I wanted to get done sent me into a tailspin and I immediately felt overwhelmed. I talked to The Lawyer and we decided that I should just go this week, take my Boards in Florida, and come back right before my rotations.
Cashing in this dumb voucher was more of a headache than one would expect, though, and it involved an impromptu trip to the airport on Sunday and waiting at the American Airlines counter. Still, I got it done and the ticket was booked.
For most people, their parents are thrilled to see them when they get home. There are home-cooked meals, excited parents waiting at the airport, etc. Like with so many things in life, this has not been my experience.
Obviously, my father has been out of the picture since I was 13. With my mother, she became this cougar-type of crazy person after they divorced. She’s obsessed with clothes, dating, and her personal schedule. Even before things were out of hand, I’d wait for hours at the airport when I came home from college. It became sort of a running joke, when after three years, I hadn’t been picked up on time on a single occasion.
It might seem funny to read about, but remember how exhausted you are after that last final before Christmas break, but still used that last push of energy to pack your suitcase with dirty clothes and get to the airport as the RAs are shutting down the dorms? Well, imagine how lovely it is to get greeted at the airport by…no one…and to discover that no one is coming for another two hours and that also, it’s another two hour drive to your house after that person picks you up…and that once you get home, there’s also no food unless you go to the grocery store and cook it yourself. So then, you just buy Wendy’s and eat that, circa your college life anyway.
You can see why I never got excited about going home.
Also, I quickly discovered that anything left behind in my childhood room would be given away by my mother.
Scene: Christmas break from freshman year; first time home since leaving
Me: Mom! Where are all the clothes I left in the closet!
Mom: I gave them to your cousins in Orlando, because you left them here.
Me: What? I left them here because I live in a dorm room, and I didn’t have room, not because I didn’t want them!
Mom: Oh. Sorry. Well, they came up here for the weekend and didn’t bring clothes. They needed them.
Thankfully, people grow up, move on, and discover that if they want a ride from the airport, they should probably rent a car or call their own friends.
Enter this week when I am flying down to Florida.
As per usual, it’s this dramatic explanation from my mother of who can come when, etc. to pick me up from the airport. My mother has problems with her eyes and can’t drive long distances, so FINE, I get it. She has to have another person come too. But, it’s like the same college contingency plan from Florida all over again. No matter how many times I think that those past years are behind us, I know they're not. The last time I was supposed to fly to Florida, my mother called at 10 p.m. the night before and asked if I could just rent a car instead. Incidentally, I had an exam that I was studying for the following morning, which I had to stop studying for, find a rental car with less than 24 hours notice with a return in Podunk, Middle of Nowhere, book it, and pay for it.
I know that I should just shut up and rent a car again this time, but a one-way rental to my hometown is over $80. That pains me. L
Now, I’m wondering if this was even a good idea to plan to go down there. I do try to be a good daughter and see my family, but I haven't even left yet and I'm stressed out! What if instead of cooking and doing my laundry (as my mother promised to do to “help me” right now), I just end up more overwhelmed and distracted than before? The Lawyer says that things will be calmer once I actually get to my mother’s house. I hope that he’s right.