My mom’s coming next month and will be staying until the end of May. There are some things that I know to do in preparation for her arrival. First, in every phone call with her until April, I have to tell her that I’ve gained a lot of weight. I tell her that I can’t fit any of my clothing so I just cut a hole in a queen-sized bedsheet, slip it over my head and tie it together with a worn pair of stockings. I also tell her that I have gout and then she screams over the phone, “NOOOOO! JUST WALK! JUST WALK EVERY DAY!” Like a quick jaunt through the supermall will keep my toes from turning black. I don’t know if that’s a side effect of gout, but I like to add that into the details. My hope is that when my mother steps into the baggage claim, she’ll scan my body and say, “You’re not fat! Well, not that fat. Well, okay, just keep walking! Walk fast!”
Other things I can expect during my mom’s stay include but are not limited to:
1. Trips to the mall and asking the guy at Wetzel’s Pretzels if they use yeast (or as she calls it “east”),
2. Visits to Dress Barn and buying me an outfit so I no longer look like a man.
3. Visiting family and friends in the entire state of Washington and northwest quadrant of Oregon. Whenever my mom visits me, phone calls to my house increase exponentially. Somehow all these relatives that haven’t so much as poked me on facebook suddenly want to speak to my mom. I don’t know if this is a particular custom limited to Chamorro women or if it’s just my mother. I usually have this question whenever strange things happen–is this something all mothers do or just my mom? Do other mothers force their preteen daughters to try on clothing OUTSIDE THE DRESSING ROOM and assuage with, “Do it! No one’s watching!”
4. Asking the fish guy at the grocery store if there are any “salmon necks” available. And when he inevitably asks if she means, “Sominex,” like the sleeping medication, I’ll have to say, “No. She means SALMON NECKS.”
If you’re not living at home, how do you prepare for parental visits?