I started a recent Facebook post out this way…and I felt I needed to finish it.
I love my parents to death.We have had a LOT of problems over the years, but at the end of the day, I would do anything for them. I would die for them. I am happy to have them both still on this Earth with me. That being said, I am in my mid-thirties, and I can honestly say that I am still absolutely, horrifyingly mortified by a good 50%-75% of the things they say and do. But today….today was “let’s be so incredibly awkward in front of our daughter” day and I obviously missed the fucking memo.
My parents and I have been through a lot of ups and downs throughout my life. They drive me batshit crazy. And yet, they are the most generous, caring, decent people in so many ways. They have done so much for me throughout my life, and they continue to support me in so many ways to this day. I am grateful for them.
But days like today have me wishing I knew for sure if I was adopted. I’m now only 99.5% certain.
Let’s begin with my dad. My Dad is one of the most generous people I know. Flat out. He’s also one of the smartest. He’s incredibly well-rounded. He figures shit out I couldn’t figure out with a gun to my head. He speaks like, a hundred languages. He’s insane at anything math-related. He made sure I had everything I needed growing up, and worked overtime constantly to do it. I owe my incredible education to my dad, who helped my mother to make it a priority for me, their only child…despite not having a lot of money.
My father, being pretty darn intelligent, also knows just how to push my every button. And it’s by being really, really weird. He’s kind of old, but not “cool old,” just “old old.” He just always does strange shit. He has mild to moderate OCD for sure. He taps on lights switches dozens of times to make sure the light is really OFF. He checks every car lock to make sure it’s locked….then goes back to check in it again. He drives a 1996 Chevy Lumina. No self-respecting car thief would be caught dead in that. I think you’re good, guy. He grunts a lot. He bitches a lot. He treats me like I’m 12 years old. He thinks women–myself included–are not as smart as men, so he discusses Russian economics with my husband and yells at my non-level-headedness for having a second glass of wine.
Harmless things, mostly. And I guess the good traits outweigh the bad ones, so you try to let them slide more often than not.
But today. Today was insane.
I go to a different Church than my parents. We are both Roman Catholic, but I go to a Jesuit parish (Jesuits are known for being a somewhat more “liberal” order in the Church) and they go to a couple of different parishes, trying to make a Latin Mass at least twice a month (they can be hard to come by, you know, because no one knows Latin anymore).
But they wanted to go to dinner with me after they heard me sing. I am the cantor for the Saturday Mass at my parish, and my parents really haven’t heard me sing much since they left when the Jesuits took over the parish (again, they were just too “liberal” for my parents)…maybe around 12 years ago.
So, they went to my Mass tonight.
I love my parish because it’s really down to earth and welcoming of all types of people. We have wonderful priests who encourage a lot of the concepts behind liberation theology (encouraging people to really think more for themselves), and they are just really well-rounded, interesting guys.
After Mass, I introduce my parents to my priest/pastor. My pastor is just a pretty “hip” guy. He’s a bit older–in his 60s–but you’d never know it. He’s very youthful in looks and spirit. While I haven’t agreed with everything he’s done, I think he has been an asset to our parish overall. He’s very smart and interesting to talk to–as are our other two senior priests.
Well, I start to introduce my parents, and my Dad just walks right up to the guy, takes his hand, and kisses it. KISSES IT. My average-Joe, very Jesuit pastor.
The poor man looked horrified. I had to just immediately process that this had just happened.
I had just witnessed a grown man kiss the hand of another grown man. Like, knight-kissing-the-hand-of-a-princess style. He might as well have genuflected, too.
Now, in the Roman Catholic Church, it’s a somewhat-outdated tradition, but it is well-known and still reasonably common to see Catholics kiss the hands of bishops, cardinals, and popes. Even liberal me would kiss the hand of a cardinal or above out of sheer respect for the office. But not priests. Priests are more “of the people”, and the Jesuit order is probably the order that lives that phrase out the most in the daily lives. They are very down-to-earth, and that (and education) is generally what they are known for.
So, my poor pastor, who I am pretty chill with, looked so incredibly uncomfortable…and I just stood there. With my mouth literally open. I then somewhat snapped out of it, they made some super-awkward small talk, and I ushered them the hell out of there.
Now, I’m not sure if my father does this shit on purpose, or if he’s doing it just to fuck with my head. Well, Dad, my head is fucked up enough.
And now I feel you have come one step closer to being put in a home.
See, we can’t have this shit happening. I have to at least be able to somewhat predict you when we go out. There isn’t a drop of anything in you that should possess you to kiss the hand of another man, like an 18th Century French Earl would kiss the hand of the queen. No.
So now, my pastor and I are probably not going to be cool ever again, and my father was the one who made it awkward.
And while I’m absolutely mortified by all of this, I can’t be overly mad because it’s relatively harmless in the end.
But the completely weirded-out look on the face of my pastor…well, all this would have made a really good sitcom scene.
Now, my mother is normally relatively sane. How she lives with my father is a mystery to me. But today, her awkwardness just shone through, too! Lucky me!
My mother is awkward because she is anxious. She has trouble talking to people she doesn’t know. She knows this, so at 70 years old, she tries to fix her lack of people skills by being a part-time breakfast waitress at a local hotel. She likes it, and it has largely helped with her anxiousness. I give her a ton of credit for doing it.
Not today. Today, we sit down at the table and the hostess says our waitress will be right with us.
The waitress shows up and says, “Hi I’m Casey.” My mother immediately says, “Urmm…I’ll have the Caesar salad, but I want the anchovies on the side.”
Like, it was mind-bogglingly rude. She doesn’t mean it to come out that way but I don’t know if it’s the anxiety or she has mild autism or something, but she does this quite often to a degree. But this evening was just…whoa, tiger. Calm the fuck down. Let her finish her fucking name.
And I had to correct her like a 5 year old in front of our teen waitress. My Mom literally has shit hearing but hates wearing her hearing aids, so she thought the waitress had asked what they would like…or that’s how she explained it.
So, yeah. That was my evening. Then I came right home and drowned myself in a bottle of wine and a couple of Ativan to forget this weird-ass night ever even happened.