No Chiclets for You!

“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree……unless that tree’s growing on top of a hill.” – John DePrey

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In case you’re just tuning in, I’m on a ten-day vacation with my mom. First we flew from Los Angeles to New Orleans, and now we’re on a cruise ship to Cozumel, Costa Maya and Grand Cayman.

My mom has been a pill the entire time.

To give you some context … my mom is almost seventy years old. But she’s not like a loose-and-wild “Cher 70” .. she’s like a buttoned-up, likes-her-comfort “Judy Dench 70.” Mom likes to stay home and read and shop at Target. She gets anxious in new, uncontrolled situations, which means she doesn’t travel well.

When Mom’s uncomfortable, somebody must pay.

Here’s an example … when we were checking out of the New Orleans hotel, Mom snapped at the bellboy because he refused to lend her his stapler. It was against policy, he explained. She could go to the business center.

She didn’t want to go to the business center, she wanted to use his stapler. He refused. So she snapped at him. I couldn’t hear what she said but he looked completely taken aback.

I waited until she’d huffed off – to find a stapler, which she did – in the business center – and then apologized to the bellboy.

“Sorry about my mom,” I mumbled.

“It’s okay,” he said cheerfully. “Happens all the time.”

Today she ruined the ruin.

This morning we took a two-hour tour of the Mayan ruins just outside Cozumel. Even I have to admit it was a miserable experience. It rained the whole time and we had to navigate muddy, treacherously unpaved paths through the archeological site.

Mom wore ill-fitting flip flop sandals and kept wanting Rosa, our young woman tour guide, to cut the two-hour short due to weather.  Rosa refused.

Finally Mom interrupted her in the middle of explaining how the Mexican chewing gum Chiclets was made (from the sap of the sapodilla tree in case you were wondering) with a loud, “It’s raining!” before stomping off toward the bus.

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The group looked around awkwardly and then slowly followed my mom. Rosa fell into step next to me. I had the urge to apologize again for my mom’s behavior but I stopped myself.

I me had one of those Oprah-coined “a-ha!” moments.

It’s not my fault. 

This is new realization for me. I have a lifetime of being subjected to my mom’s unpleasant behavior, directed both at me and others. I’ve taken it on, figuring the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree … and then I’d go stuff my anger with a mountain of sugar behind closed doors.

But in this case the apple does fall far from the tree.

As much as Rosa deserved an apology, it wasn’t my apology to make. So I didn’t.

Sorry, Rosa, you’re on your own.

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