The parent visit

Okay so I need to just quickly vent about my parents’ recent visit.

I had told my mom about the shit happening with my landlords (complaints that other tenants could smell my cats’ litterbox from the hallway; pressure to fix the issue; obviously the implication being that if I didn’t fix it, they could evict me or whatever). Mom had been wanting for her and my dad to come visit, anyway, and I guess they decided to use this debacle as an excuse. My mom declared that she and dad would come over and help me clean.

I did not want them up in my personal space. They have a history of boundary issues, from the five million times they came into my room without knocking when I was a kid to walking right into my husband’s and my home once when I didn’t hear them knocking. Who fucking does that? It’s weird because they were sticklers for privacy when it came to giving out my number; once I moved out of their place, if anyone called for me, my parents insisted on passing me the message so I could call them back. They wouldn’t give my phone number out without permission. And yet they’re weirdly rude and nosey in other ways.

One time when they were here, they saw some loose change on my floor and wouldn’t fucking shut up about it. I didn’t think it was that weird to throw a pair of pants on the floor every now and then and maybe coins would fall out of the pockets and not get picked up immediately, but goddamn, all night long they were making jokes about how I must be so rich that I can just throw my money away. Like okay ha ha you can let it go any time now.

So yeah. I was worried they would judge me for my lax housekeeping and I was worried that if they saw something intriguing poking out of a dresser drawer they’d go “derrrrrp what dat?” and fling the drawer open and also I just generally hate my dad and didn’t want to be in such close quarters with him at all. My apartment is tiny.

But I could use the help and it seemed like they would be stubborn about it if I tried to say no. So fine.

They are so fucking socially weird. I asked them to text me when they got here because I couldn’t remember which doorbell in the foyer was mine (the labels fell off ages ago). So what do they do? They text me saying “We’re at your door” and I flung open my apartment door to go down and let them in but they were standing right there in the hallway. They’d taken it upon themselves to ring a random doorbell anyway, causing my neighbour to answer the door and let them in. Then instead of texting me that they were on their way up, they chose to carry all the supplies they’d brought up the stairs in dead silence, stand outside my apartment door in dead silence (the walls are thin as hell so it takes some doing to make me not realize someone’s going up and down the stairs/standing right outside my door), and text me instead of just fucking knocking. And so I didn’t goddamned know they were right there, and I coughed as I opened the door to go down and let them in, and they made a joking comment about how rude I was to open my door and cough right in their faces. Yeah, okay. I’m the one being rude. Sure.

They did bring a steam cleaner and a bunch of helpful products they’d bought for me, which I appreciated. I figured the best way to keep my sanity was to set them each to a particular task and then leave to run some errands. I’d taken the precaution of hiding my sex toys in a bin under my bed, wrapped in a blanket so you couldn’t see them whatsoever, so that was one thing off my mind. If it had just been my mom there, I might have hidden the toys less well and if my mom saw the tip of one and did her whole “derpity derp what’s this?” and yanked everything into plain sight, she’d be mortified and I’d be like “Okay, now what did we learn about touching my stuff?”

But my dad was there too and as I said in a previous post he’s been sexually sketchy with me. I honestly think that if he found anything of mine that hinted at a sex life, he’d feel compelled to offer some commentary about it, or at least get a look on his face that he was speculating about what sorts of acts I might enjoy. Which NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE. So I hid shit really really well.

I asked my dad to change the litter in the two litterboxes and sweep the floor, asked my mom to steam clean the couch, and then begged off to run errands. When I returned, my dad had thankfully fucked off to do a little shopping and my mom had finished the couch and kindly decided to tackle my dishes for me. The closed bedroom door was still closed so if they pried they at least had the decency to cover their tracks (but I’m…pretty sure they wouldn’t pry on purpose? I think they just act without thinking when they see something interesting, but they wouldn’t go out of their way to open a closed door or drawer. Probably).

My mom and I sat down and chatted for a while. But then she asked me if there was anything my dad could do in order to fix my relationship with him and I found myself furious. Like um I dunno, go back in time and not be an abusive dickbag for the first twenty years of my life? …I can’t remember if I said that out loud or just thought it. I definitely told her that there was nothing he could do, since he probably wouldn’t admit to or maybe even remember most of the things he did to me so an apology would feel kind of hollow.

I’m not sure whether mom was asking me this on my dad’s behalf (I know he wishes we were closer) or because the way I barely tolerate him makes these visits awkward (she hasn’t specifically said this, but it’s true. She’s the one I want a relationship with; I don’t care about him; but the two of them always come visit as a unit. So I acknowledge his existence the bare minimum and focus mostly on her). Either way, though, I’m pissed. Awwww, so dad terrorized me for two decades and now he has a sad that I don’t fawn all over him? And mom wishes I’d be more chatty and affectionate so the visits go more smoothly? GO FUCK YOURSELVES.

My dad returned and then my parents started indicating that it was time for them to go. I’d kind of expected them to take me out for a meal or something – their last few visits comprised only dinner together in a restaurant before they went off and visited other relatives in the area – but nope, oddly this time they opted to drive three hours each way just to come give my place a rudimentary cleaning and then leave again (with no other local people to visit, as far as I know). I had no particular wish to extend my time with them so that was fine.

I hugged my mom goodbye while my dad stood around looking jealous. Then he stepped up and was all “can I get a hug, too?” and, again, GO FUCK YOURSELF. He said and did sexually uncomfortable things to me when I was younger. For years I was convinced that he’d sexually abused me and I’d blocked it out. If you are a family member and you want me to press my body up against you then maybe don’t ever, ever do anything to indicate that you’d get off on it kthx.

Our visits have such a veneer of civility, though, and my dad seems so benign that there’s nothing about him (now, in his current incarnation) that I can reasonably object to. And both my parents were always really big on controlling me through guilt (“we were having a nice visit and you went and ruined it!”). So I couldn’t bring myself to just say “NOPE!” and walk away. I grudgingly offered him a handshake. I wish I hadn’t. It disgusts me to touch him and when I turned and walked away to run yet more errands I was wiping my hand on my pants convulsively for the next ten minutes. And now I really never want to see him again because I suppose he’ll think this handshake was progress and he can try to push for a little more next time.

Bringing me cat litter and cleaning spray was nice but it doesn’t buy him a get out of jail free card for making me walk on eggshells in my own home until I moved out at nineteen. There is literally nothing he can offer me that would make me be the kind of loving daughter his stupid preening ego thinks he should have.

I considered writing to my mom after this visit and telling her in no uncertain terms that it’s her I want a relationship with – not him – and that if she keeps pressuring me to be closer to him, I’ll cut them both out of my life again. Maybe I’d even put my foot down and tell her I’d only see her alone, never with him in tow, or else they’re both cut out.

Then I remembered that they are pushing seventy and I’m pretty sure I’m the sole beneficiary in their will. Their big three-bedroom house has been paid off for a long while now and they’ve indicated that they have hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings, too. It would be a shame to lose such a huge and life-changing bounty right when it’s maybe about to come to fruition.*

So I’m staying silent. For now. But I never have been good at playing nicey-nice with folks I don’t like – even when I stand to gain a lot from it – so it’s entirely possible I’ll ultimately cut them off, after all.

Especially since they both seem to be in relatively good health. They carried stuff up my stairs. They get around okay. No mention of any upcoming surgeries or current wasting illnesses. It’s possible they’ll live another twenty years. I don’t think I can deal with my mom’s mopey passive-aggression or my dad’s obtuse “Duuuuh why don’t u like me?” bullshit for that long.


*Although, my parents are really really into appearances. It’s entirely possible that they’d keep me in their will no matter what because if they left their money to someone else, or to a charity, people might talk.


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2 responses to “The parent visit

  1. Steve

    Instead of writing to your Mum why not just give her the link to this post. I’m sure they would both love to read how ,after driving for hours ,cleaning out two litter boxes ,brushing the floor , steam cleaning your couch and washing your dishes you can say “Go Fuck Yourselves”
    They might even decide they wont care what anyone thinks after they are dead .and leave the big house and thousands of dollars you don’t want to charity.
    Remember the old adage “If you cant say something good about a person ,then keep your mouth shut”
    I bet you turn into a really “nice” person when you grow up

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