Last week I announced I wanted to go eat at Kona Steakhouse, my treat. No, I'd never been there, but I just wanted to try it. With my current realization about Mom, I should not be surprised at the outcome.
She's probably fretted over it for the entire week. She griped at Daddy all the way over, got him so flustered he couldn't park, then griped about where he parked. She didn't like that they brought bread out, didn't like the coconut in the butter and didn't like that Daddy and I took a piece of bread because she was afraid she wouldn't get a crusty piece.
She thought the wedge salad Daddy and I split had way too much dressing (that's why I didn't offer to split it with her) and then she couldn't understand why I ordered it and only took one bite. (Hello Mom, Lap Band). HER salad had an onion ring on it-she only likes lettuce and tomato and EYETALIAN dressing. She made a face at her soup before it was even sat down on the table, and complained that the dishes were way too big.
I had a couple of bites of rib and then went and threw up and collected my thoughts. My main thought was disappointment at the Hawaiian aspect-there was no Hawaiian food in sight. So I said to myself, to Hell with it, I'll just eat desert. Because I really wanted to eat something.
So, I asked for the desert menu and ordered a cheesecake for all. I didn't even ask, we'd already discussed how we don't eat rich deserts and I said "that's fine, I want cheesecake, I'll share". How much more hell can take place over one small slice of cheesecake?
Well, first came the to go box for my ribs which I didn't want (I was giving them to Daddy) and that was fine, except that I mentioned that the leftover bread would be good crisped up. "take it home" urged Mom and I said "no, I don't want it" and I'm not really sure what happened then, but there was a long back and forth. I said something about not enough time, which opened entire tirade and I finally circumvented it by saying "No, I will eat the whole thing"..."but you can't...." I said "over time" she said "but" and finally I said "I don't want the goddamn bread in my house".
The next few minutes involved a discussion of the facts-last week I said I wasn't much of a dessert eater, I won't eat dessert at Mom's house as a general rule (too full usually) yet here I was ordering a high dollar cheesecake full of "all that rich stuff."
Then, blissfully, the waitress came with spoons and cleared the remaining plates. What more could happen?
"The waitress took my fork and I don't eat with a spoon, EVER." I sighed and said "I asked her to bring the spoons, I'll asked her to bring a fork", but the truth of it was I had my head in my hands when I said it, so there was drama on my part.
"NO, I don't want it".....and Daddy piped up and said "Well what DO you want then?" and it was on again.
Anyway, the cheesecake came, Daddy and I had a few bites and we left. The end amen.
So, what's going on here? Old age, dementia? What's going on with me was that I was disappointed that I couldn't go out for a nice, semi genteel lunch with my parents. I wanted to go to a place that was somewhat like I would choose, and enjoy a nice lunch. Instead, I spent 50 bucks for a horrid experience and a net 3 bites of cheesecake (the rest ended up in the loo).
The lunch I wanted isn't ever going to happen. It can't. Mom cannot deal with new places or menus that she's never seen before. She can deal with the Chinese Buffet, Jakes and the fish place. By the way, it's bad form NOT to eat dessert at the Chinese Buffet-FREE ice cream.
And really, in retrospect, why should suddenly I get Ward and June Cleaver at this point in the game? We don't get to pick our parents, we just get to love them no matter how they act.
The golden nugget here is not that my mom misbehaved, but that I expected her to go and be someone she couldn't be. And that really wasn't fair on my part, was it? And, honestly, learning to eat out at a lot of different places took a lot effort on my part, it didn't come naturally. So, while I can eat cheesecake with a spoon, Mom can crochet dog sweaters. It doesn't make either one of us better, just different.
I guess, for Mom, the Kona Steakhouse would be a little like asking me to put on a dress and go to church on Sunday. Or, giving your daughter a doll that YOU had always wanted when YOU were little. Thanks, but no thanks.
It's always humbling to realize your parents are just people after all.