Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013

Today is Christmas day for those who celebrate.  For my hoarding mother, this is her birthday as well.  She is within striking distance of 80.  Sadly, due to her choices, she sits alone.  She immediately made a snarky comment about being bored and that it is not a Merry Christmas/Happy Birthday.  I let it go without comment.  Sad, but this is a trajectory that she set herself on at least 40-something years ago with me.

So... why this little happy blurb?  For me, this particular holiday has been an exceptionally happy one.  I had a serious medical issue that threatened my life this summer, and I came through it, and am here to celebrate.  I have amazing friends that are my family, and I spent a lovely day with them today.  I spent time with a friend yesterday evening bowling, playing arcade games and Skeeball, and the like until almost midnight.  I am feeling like myself, and my weight is up to where I was pre surgery, and I am working on getting back up to run.  Life is good.  

So I call my mother today.  To wish her positive Birthday and Christmas sentiments.  Not a terrible conversation, but full of the normal hoardy weirdness.  She mentioned that the folks across the street brought her a plate of food.  She picked up a box of Russell Stover candies and gave them to them, not in a friendship way, but in a transactional way.  I did not comment, and ended the call when I arrived at home, telling her I was planning on going upstairs and taking a nap.  This would have been around 4:30pm or so.  She made some comment in regards to 'good luck with that' and I advised her it would happen, I was going up, unloading the car, and taking a nice nap.  So... that happens.  I come in and fall asleep instantly and deeply.  And at 5:10pm... GUESS WHO CALLS...

My hoarding mother.  

<groggily> Hello?

"What is wrong with you?  Why are you upset?  What is wrong?  What is going on?"

I am not upset.  Nothing is going on.  I was taking a nap.  What do you need?

"I don't 'need' anything.  You sound upset... [starts previous rapid-fire questioning]"

You woke me up from a dead, deep sleep.  Remember the final part of our conversation a bit ago?  I said I was coming in to take a nap.  You called for a reason... tell me what it is.  I am wide awake now. 

"Well, I guess I remember that but I did not think about it ... all I wanted was to tell you what just happened..."

Okay.  So tell me.

"Well if you..."

Look.  I am awake now.  Tell me or don't.  Either way I am getting moving and doing some things done since my nap is over.

"You know the people across the street?  [Excruciating description of their home location...] The man called, and they brought me over a plate!  It was enough for THREE MEALS!  It had cheesecake and [continued itemization of the food].  WHAT IS GOING ON?"

It is a conspiracy of food.  Killing you with kindness.  I do not know.  I am glad they can do that for you.  Say thank you, and move on.  Enjoy your cheesecake.  Getting off of here.  

I ended the call.  Wow.  I would like to think one of the last things I would do if someone told me they were laying down for a nap is to call them 40 minutes later.  I would hope that I would not be so self-focused that I would put what I wanted above the other person's plans or needs.

So, since that call, I am enjoying my evening with my lovely cats, watched 'A Christmas Story' and 'Badder Santa' (please don't judge) and had my favorite vegetarian hot and sour soup and veggie egg roll.  

Conversation is always a bit disheartening, but it is what it is.  Just another affirmation of how pervasive the personality aspect/narcissism is that characterizes hoarding.  I remember growing up if I wanted to nap because I was tired or sick, she would simply not allow it, and if anyone had plans that they wanted to do, like me or my father, she would delay, drag her feet, and generally make going a burden, or make us so late that it adversely impacted whatever we wanted to do.  

Holidays have always been weird for me, and I wish I knew enough about hoarding and the collateral damage to children of the hoard to explain my apprehension and weirdness with the holiday.  I am sure I have puzzled boyfriends, roommates, friends, husbands, et al with my awkwardness.  My mother made any holiday rough.  It was like walking on eggshells, and she always found a reason to be angry, to scream, to rage, to pout, and to not speak to me.  More years than I can count, I would get her a gift and she would not open it, or would toss it aside. Some still are in the corner of the bedroom she shared with my father, I guarantee.  That room is hoarded floor to ceiling.  

Contrary to the reasons my mother does not decorate, I do not decorate.  One reason is my lack of religiosity, the other is I live a minimalist lifestyle in a small, open floor plan apartment and simply do not choose to decorate.  

Despite some discomfort with holidays, etc., I have peaceful ones spent with my furry family (my two cats) and with friends.  My family of choice.  No screaming, no hard feelings, no strange patches of rage.  Just fun, food, and enjoyment of each other's company.  The gifts are secondary, and are thoughtful and fun.  In that, I consider it to be a triumph over my upbringing.  

I hope that everyone has a lovely, lovely evening.  If you celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas.  Whatever path you follow, I wish you the best of holiday wishes.  

Hoarding.  No one wins.  No one...  Thank you for reading.


  1. Happy Christmas and New Year from a regular reader.

  2. Nelly, thank you for your loyalty in reading, and I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!