Still on my Jane Austen marathon, this morning I re-read Pride & Prejudice. [Sense & Sensibility was yesterday. I was rather dissatisfied with that one this time around. I don't remember thinking it before, but this time I felt I would have found it more pleasing if Marianne and Elinor had ended up with each other's lovers.]
But I digress. Having just had a visit from my mother, I couldn't help but see her in P&P's Mrs Bennet, constantly saying things that probably should be left unsaid, without realising her words' effect on other people's feelings. Here's something my mother said to me during her visit:
"When are you going to move to the north side, so that we don't have to pay the toll when we come to visit you?"
By the "north side" she doesn't mean the nearby North Shore, she actually means the north-western outskirts of the city, where her boyfriend's daughter lives. No, I don't think we will uproot our family to live somewhere more than an hour's drive from our friends, Wonder Boy's fantastic school, the VoR's workplace, the beaches and our favourite local entertainments, just to save her $3.50 a few times a year.
When she says things like this, it's hard not to be offended. She is always in such raptures about her boyfriend's daughter's big, new home and its location, and they prefer to stay there than with me (I can understand that: my home is old, small and sometimes crowded, and there is occasionally a queue for the only bathroom). But I like where I live, I think my home is quite comfortable and I wish my mother did too.
Last time my mother asked whether I would consider moving (or rather, asked when I would move, as though it is already decided that I want to), my feelings were hurt but I bit my tongue and let it go -- I thought it was just one of those throwaway comments that are said without thought and regretted afterwards. The fact that she repeated it during this latest visit, however, makes it appear that she actually thinks it's okay for her to suggest I move to the other side of the city for her occasional convenience!
My gracious sister, the Country Pumpkin, who is so much more patient than me, I am sure would be like Jane Bennet and try to soothe my ruffled feelings and teach me to overlook the hurt. And some others of my friends (yes, you know who you are) would say I am, as usual, being over-sensitive. So I will try to imitate the lovely Country Pumpkin's forbearance. I do love my mother, despite her foibles.