Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Stress upon stress

My stepmom just called - my dad wants to come visit. !!! Now that may not seem like a big deal. But my dad has been to my house exactly twice since I've lived here, and only once since J was born. He and K are about like gasoline and a match, and they just don't need to be in the same space. On the one hand, I'm glad they're coming - my dad is my family, I hate that he's felt unwelcome in my house the past ten years, and I'm glad he feels like he can call (or my stepmom can call) and say he wants to come visit. On the other hand, in some ways my dad still makes me feel like I'm 12 years old. He's always been a bit of a perfectionist (OK, a lot of a perfectionist), and for so logn I felt like I didn't measure up. Add a fairly ferocious temper and the complete inability to censor thoughts before he said them, and you've got big-time stress. He's mellowed somewhat as he's gotten older, and my stepmom has been good for him, too. And he and I are trying to learn how to relate better to each other (my mother always ran interference while she was alive, so sometimes that's been a challenge). So on one level I can think to myself, "My house isn't spotless, if he doesn't like it he can help me clean it, I can only do what I can do." But on some deeper level, I'm scared to death that he'll come and blow up over the house, or the yard, or something (he's done that before - the great Labor Day fiasco of 1996, the first time he and my stepomom came to visit - that was ugliness), and that the visit will become a total disaster. It makes my stomach hurt to think about it, and I want to rush home and just clean, clean, clean, get everything as close to perfect as I can make it (which isn't very close most days).


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