Sunday, November 2, 2008
The Oddities of Your Elderly Parents
I am aging, but I always vow that I will never become as weird or annoying as my own parents or my husband's parents. What I've been noticing however, is that even at my age my children find me extremely weird and especially annoying.
Let's start with the annoying. We'll move to the weird in a minute.
First of all, it seems the elderly have a special license to tell you things you already know and don't particularly like pointed out. My father-in-law is excellent at this.
"You need to get out and walk. The exercise will do you good. Someone as heavy (semi-polite way of saying "fat")as you needs lots of exercise. Why, I've never had an extra pound on my body." To which I sarcastically reply that I am actually trying to gain enough to be perfectly round so that I can roll everywhere I go instead of walk.
Sometimes he'd point to your teenager and say, "A good scrub with some soap and a wash cloth might help you get rid of all those pimples." (Pimples...an ugly word at best, but very damaging to someone who is well aware that they have them.)
One year, my dear mother-in-law gave my a dish cloth with a little poem attached as a helpful hint that I needed to do the dishes more often.
"Why, I'd tell her? I have a husband for that."
My mother would often walk around my house and feel the houseplants, then go get a pitcher from the kitchen and water them. (That may not sound that harsh, but you definately felt like a failure at houseplants 101.)
I can't even invite mom over for a meal without her tasting my food and her first sentence beginning with, "Have you ever tried.....I like to add.....but that's just me." (Which is an indication that yours tastes funny, bland, not like hers, or all of the above.)
Now my dad....well, he get's to cussing more when he's at a family gathering. He makes risque or naughty comments and says, "That's just who I am. If you don't like it, too bad." He especially seems to like to shock pastors and new boyfriends or girlfriends who you've been trying not to scare away too soon. Do you know the dad on Everybody Loves Raymond? That's dad. He pats his large tummy and says, "Fill her up."
Now for the weird.
My mom draws faces on the Willow Tree angels. Seriously. She said she didn't like them to not have faces..so she took a pencil and drew faces on them. Stop laughing, Jill.
Mom likes to tell off-colored jokes to people, but then feels terrible guilty about it. I tell her to either quit telling them or quit feeling guilty about it. The funny thing is, she loves to tell the jokes....but always messes up the punchline.
She also has this habit of working this puzzle in the newspaper every week so she can win money. She'll call you on the phone and say, "Can you help me with just one answer? I always ask you because you're really smart at these things."
Frustrated, I'll reply, "Okay." She'll read the puzzle to me and then I'll comment on an answer. Then she'll always say, "Okay, I have just one more to do. What's this one?" Before you know it, she has faniggled you into answering three or four of them for her.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to make fun of them or show disrespect to them in any way. I love my parents and in-laws. As they age, I just worry that I will start becoming them, and my children will start to find me annoying and weird.
I already see myself becoming them, as I take the spoon from my daughter's hand to stir the soup, or add some seasonings. I've got to go now. I need to phone Jill and ask her if she'll have a boyfriend by Christmas. And speaking of Christmas, I can't seem to find the wrapping paper for my daughter-in-law's new dishrag. What's really disturbing, though,is that my faceless Willow Tree collection is starting to creep me out...oh, and by the way, have you heard the one about the farmer's daughter?