I came home after visiting my mom, deep in thought. I think I understood something about her that I didn’t realize before.
Many things have been going on with her in the past two months. It started with arthritis in her knees, which she rapidly developed. It was a hard hit on her because she used to be able to move around very fast, and she does not like and can’t adjust to the current situation. Then there was a wrist injury, and now I am not even sure what exactly happened with her hands. Still, for a couple of days, she could not do anything with her left hand, and I could not get a doctor’s appointment for her (I could only schedule for the end of November). I was very busy figuring out how to deal with this situation and didn’t even want to write anything about it. I was just trying to make sure she won’t fall inside her apartment or something like that.
At the same time, I had my own local “refugee crisis,” trying to help one family who fled from Russia. They were looking for somebody with whom they could talk in Russian, and I introduced them (actually, just the daughter) to my mom. She (the daughter) was very excited to meet somebody new, and she genuinely liked mom and wanted to help (again, it was in the midst of the disability crisis). When I came to see mom, she told me something like: why is N asking whether she can help me? I can manage. Besides, if she is helping me, I need to pay her something. I was shocked by this suggestion but asked N to stop suggesting help to let mom cool down.
Today, mom told me that “N stopped emailing her, and she knows why.” When I asked her why she thinks it is so, she said: her hours at work were reduced, so she makes less money. She was hoping I would give her some work and would pay her, but when she realized I was not going to, she decided to stop emailing me. I was so shocked that I started to yell at mom, asking why she always thinks badly about people. She replied that she was not implying that the person was bad. And that was it.
I know it sounds unbelievable that I have known my mom for almost sixty years, and only now am I realizing such a fundamental thing about her, but that’s true. It was the first time that I understood that when she says something like “I gave her a thing I didn’t need,” or “I didn’t pay attention to what she said,” or that the store cashier purposely cheated rather than made a genuine mistake – all these times she indeed didn’t think she was saying bad things about people. She truly believes that thinking about their profit is the most natural thing for any human, and everybody should watch up to ensure that nobody takes advantage at their expense.
One of these revelations made you go back and re-evaluate a lot of your past thoughts. Now so many things are making sense! I admit I was wrong in thinking she wanted to hurt people (including me) when she accused others of taking advantage of her. She does not. She indeed believes it’s in human nature and wants to look out for herself.
Remembering my paternal grandfather, I think she took it from him. He had a lot of what is called “the cunning peasant,” somebody who does not believe in charity, altruism, and free stuff.
Well, not like it is going to change anything in what we are doing, but it explains a lot!
4 thoughts on “A Revelation”
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You know, this post produced a storm of personal emails. Since most of my friends read my posts using email subscriptions, they just replied… The thing is that I can’t attribute it to “being Russian” because I have plenty of friends who are not like this, though they were born, raised, and keep living in Russia. It is possibly one of the “archetypes” …
“Archetype” sounds right.
Since I don’t know your mother, it didn’t seem appropriate to say much, but the post was thought provoking.
You are more than welcome to share your thoughts, and I won’t be surprised if you actually saw my mother on her walks :). When I called it “a revelation,” I meant it. I never connected all the dots and always thought she was just passive – agressive when she accused me of all sorts of things. So when she said that she never said bad things about this refugee girl, I realized first time ever that she does not consider that bad! So she is completely logical when she accuses me of all these things AND says I am the best daughter… look, I still can’t wrap my mind around it!