My mother played the guilt card. I needed to take my grandma out of Houston one of these weekends because she can't drive out to anywhere, else she'll get lost (my mom, not my grandma.)
She knows that by making me feel guilty, she'll get what she wants. However, she also knows that by doing so, she will get the irate version of me.
My parents have comfortably played helpless ever since I could speak perfect english-for the last 12 years or so. Whenever I didn't want to ask someone for directions because I was shy, my dad would throw it in my face and say "Are you embarassed?? You're not helping because you're selfish."
Yep. Guilt trips got them everything they wanted.
And I believed it too, because when you're young, you believe everything your parents tell you; and I believed my dad until just a couple of years ago, when I realized he was talking out of his ass about 50% of the time.
When I visited my brother in France, he cautiously gave me a piece of advice that has since stuck with me:
"Manny (our dad) can talk a lot of nonsense. Don't believe everything he says or take it seriously."
That's right- my brother refers to our father by his first name. I understand him now; My father wasn't a present figure in his life, and when he was, he criticized him most of the time.
So when I was old enough, I started planning the family trips. I made the reservations, and planned out the itinerary. Anyone who's gone on vacation will agree that the itinerary is probably the most tedious work. In a sense, it helped me out in my adult life, though it sometimes made me feel like a control freak. Then again, all fingers pointed to me if I ever screwed up or missed something along the planning process. The positive aspect of these experiences was that I could plan everything on what I wanted to see. My parents would be none the wiser and never realize they'd missed out on something for their taste.
Since then, I've always scheduled my parent's trips around the country. I only screwed up once, and I got chewed out for it bad. I had reserved with Expedia, and as I was finishing up with the credit card numbers, expiration date and verification code, I went through a tunnel and lost the call. I received an itinerary that night by email, and assumed the flights were booked. The day of the trip, the airline told my dad that a ticket had never been purchased. It turned out that Expedia didn't confirm the order because of the dropped call, and what I had received was a confirmation to an itinerary, not an actual booking.
I've never purchased from Expedia since then. I go directly with the airline. I use them as a search engine, and get 100% confirmation when I book directly with the airline........... at the same price. At the time, Expedia was charging a booking fee of about $7.
Sometimes, I feel stressed because I know they were doing all of these things on their own when I was young. They never seemed to show a problem. But now that I'm older, all of a sudden, they're handicapped. When we were out at the Riverwalk in San Antonio yesterday looking to take a tour on a river boat, my mother turned to me and said "Ask him how much the tickets are and where we can buy them."
I snapped and said "Can't you ask him??"
My mom speaks English. Not 100% perfect, but very well compared to others. She plays the victim and has gotten very comfortable in knowing I'll do, write, call wherever she needs to. ANd these things take time. When I come home, I want to unwind, not continue working on her tasks. Supposedly, my job is stress free because I sit in an office all day, and she does manual labor and is physically tired.
My mind is running at full speed when I come home, and all I want to do is zone out for at least 30 minutes. Is that selfish?
Enjoy the pictures from the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch Animal Safari in San Antonio from this past weekend.