We had a 'family meeting' last Tuesday. I was asked to regularly make dinner Monday through Wednesday. Not a problem. Last week, I said I would make sushi on Monday. I spent all weekend thinking of a few good, simple recipes, an appetizer, the ingredients I would need, etc.
This morning, nothing needed to be said between my mom and I to activate the tension. It existed the moment I opened the door. I don't know why she wakes up every day already pissed off at the 24 hours that lay before her, but she pulls it off with gusto.
"So Mom, I'm making three different kinds of sushi tonight. I'm thinking for the first one, crab, cucumber and cream cheese, it's basically a California roll."
"Why crab? When I lived in a macrobiotic community, we didn't use meat or fish. We mixed things up. We put mustard on things, we used vegetables. You don't need to use crab. It doesn't sound very appealing to me."
"I'm making a vegetarian roll."
"I just don't know why you need to use crab. You can just use vegetables."
"Well... if you don't want to eat that roll, there are two others to choose from."
Later - "For the vegetable roll, I'm using mushroom, avocado and steamed carrot."
"What kind of mushroom?"
"Shitake is too chewy."
"I'm cooking it first."
"Yeah, I just don't know."
"Ok... I'm also making a miso soup with tofu and scallions."
"I guess in Japan they use wakame, too. Do you have any wakame?"
"No... do you?"
It's been my whole life. I should be used to this sort of interaction. But some part of me still wants her to just be NICE and is still hurt when all she can manage is something ambivalent at best and more often, just unnecessarily unkind. When I was a young kid, I drew a picture for her. She erased the parts she said were incorrect and redrew it. That summarizes my entire relationship. Nothing is good enough. It never is.