I had an Irish Catholic upbringing brought on by a fiery red haired mother, a McCleland, who went to Ireland, found our roots, brought back a guilt shillelagh and beat us when we didn’t want to do something she thought was appropriate.
Mother Mary, how dare her, made us do things together, go places, see stuff, attend boring family functions like my sister’s dance recital, my brother’s ball games, and go on outings to see my grandparents. I can still hear her, “I’ll be damned if you don’t go. For Christ’s sake Larry, we are a family.”
“Then let him go. Better yet, he already knows how this will play out. Tell us now and save everyone the agony.” That’s what I wanted to say.
One of her favorite guilt trips, I lovingly remember, was when my grandparents were 60 years old and my mother was 40.
“Your grandparents are getting older. They’re not going to be around forever. Its Christmas.” (Insert one: Easter, Thanksgiving, Arbor Day,) You don’t know this son, and believe me, they would never tell you, but they have been extremely good to us.” Which brought more guilt for grouping us together and paralyzing the siblings as a whole.
My grandfather died at 84, my grandmother at 95 so for thirty-five years, in my eyes, each Christmas was “Grammy's” last. My mother is now 76, thirty-six years after realizing life is too short.
I’m very glad my mother bored me to death but the urgency might have been extreme, so at what age should one realize something so important as mortality? I would guess when maturity kicks in, which happens through age or incidences in one one’s life.
I wait for the day us baby boomers say 100 is the new 90 and Mother Mary, still hanging in there, keeps telling me I never call.