We grew up with a tradition of family dinners and lively conversation. For the majority of the last two decades, I’ve lived near my parents. They are members of a local country club and they’d invite me to meet for dinner every Tuesday night. I was a regular guest until about a year ago.
By the time I could leave work and meet my parents, they had already consumed at least one cocktail each. On top of the short-term memory issues, joining them for dinner conversation started to become overwhelming, depressing and aggravating. In addition to having the same discussions over and over, I really had a hard time hearing things that I knew just weren’t true (see earlier blog: I haven’t had a cold in twenty years). I still don’t know why that drives me berserk, but I’m working on it, and they are providing me with ongoing practice. I stopped having any alcoholic beverages with them, but felt the need to have one as soon as I got home.
When my son’s school schedule and my work schedule changed, the only time that worked to meet was for Sunday breakfast. Now, even when we have a holiday meal, I schedule it early in the day when my parents are crisper mentally, and alcohol isn’t part of the menu.
This was a long-standing tradition, so my mom still calls weekly to coordinate our Tuesday dinner. At least half the time, I get invited twice, sometimes within the same half hour. So I feel twice the guilt for not clearing calendars and having to decline. Sometimes I will ask my mom if she remembers and we laugh about it. Other times, I try to make it a challenge to figure out a different way to nicely decline the invitation. Subdued.