On my last full day in San Francisco early this month, my dad caught a bad flu. I’m not sure how it happened, but he did. I really didn’t think much of it at the beginning. Everyone gets sick at some point during the year, especially during winter. And because my mom loves to mother him like crazy, she got too close to him and even drank out of his cups and bowls, and so she got sick, too. So the last nearly three weeks, they’ve both had terrible colds and flus. My mom has been asking me to come home to take care of them “if you have time.” That’s her passive aggressive way of saying, “if you care, you will come home and take care of us. If not, you’re a terrible daughter and don’t give a shit about us.” I’ve been calling regularly to see how they are doing, but that’s not enough.
My aunt who lives upstairs from my parents came home a few days ago from a long trip to China and Hong Kong, and of course, she realizes they are both sick. So she texts me to ask me if I know they are sick and if I’ve been talking to them. Well, obviously I’ve been talking to them. They’re my parents, and yes, I do talk to my parents. Then, to exacerbate the matter, my cousin then texts me the exact same question, phrased as, “I’m coming back to visit mom and see your parents (that really means… I’m coming back to see my mom, and your parents just HAPPEN to live downstairs, so, I guess I will see them too since I can just knock on their door). Mom says your parents are both sick. Have you talked to them lately?”
I don’t know if either of them realize this, but basically what they are doing is by asking that, they are implying or asking if I care that my parents are sick, and doubt whether I even talk to my parents. Because apparently, since I moved 3,000 miles away, I don’t care about my parents. Because I’m not like my cousin, who basically calls his mother (my aunt) a few times a day every single day to give her updates on stupid things such as what I ate today and how the temperature fluctuated in Sunnyvale and if I washed the dishes, there’s no way I care about my parents as much as he does. Because I’m not codependent like he is, because I’m not still attached at the umbilical cord, because I don’t wish my spouse were just like my dad, maybe I don’t think much of my parents.
What they all need to realize is that I left home to survive. Ed stayed home, and now he’s dead. I talk to my parents at least two to three times a week now, which is a lot given how dysfunctional they are; that’s more than most people around my age I know who have happy relationships with their families. I have done a lot for my parents, and I really don’t need my relatives breathing down my neck to ask me to do something so basic as to call my parents because I already do it, and I don’t need to be told.