This morning, my mother and I got into the stupidest argument ever:
Mom (abridged): I'm going with your sister to the professional photographer this morning so that she can get pictures taken of your freakishly attractive niece and nephew*.
Me: Oh, that'll be nice. I like the photographer she uses. Is she getting the pictures for Christmas cards?
Mom: Yes, and also because she hasn't gotten any professional pictures of Lauren yet.
Me: Oh, that's nice. I bet they'll be cute.
Mom (slightly offended): Of *course* they'll be cute. Why wouldn't they be?
Me: Uh.... Oh. No, of course they'll be cute...
Mom: Yes. They will.
Me: (thinking) Maybe I should compliment my sister. Mom seems to be happy with T this morning. (aloud) You know, I'm impressed with T for getting cards made and mailed out every year. Christmas cards are nice, but I don't know if I'll ever send them. You have to be so organized to get everything done.
Mom (clearly offended): Well, as an aunt, a great-aunt, and FINALLY a grandmother, I have to say, I like getting Christmas cards. You know, some people actually care how their family is doing. Besides, you can be organized when you choose to. You just never care enough.
Me: I was... I... I just meant that it seems like an awfully stressful thing to put yourself through. And expensive. And... trees... Um... [Editor's note: here is where I get annoyed myself and everything goes downhill.] And besides. I do have a hard time with organization Mom. Remember the whole learning disability thing?
Mom: Oh, you could get over that if you really wanted to. Christmas cards are wonderful. Your father and I were so excited when we FINALLY got to announce to the world that we were grandparents three years ago. We thought we were going to have to wait forever to do that, you know.
What I felt like saying: Yeah, it's crazy that T had the nerve to wait until she was 27 and married to get pregnant. What an old maid! And it's too bad none of the losers I dated in college knocked me up so I could have just moved home and lived with you for the rest of my life.
What I actually said: Uh huh. Yeah, you're right. My generation is more into Facebook than Christmas cards I guess. Listen, I have to go to work, I'll talk to you later.
Why do I do it? Why do I take the bait? I heard the tone in my mom's voice when we started talking: "You haven't talked to me in three days. I'm feeling neglected, so I'm going to pick a fight."
I know what to do when she gets that tone: cut the conversation short as cheerfully as possible ("Oh! My boss is calling! TTYL XOXOXOXO!") and call her back after she's had a few hours to take a nap and/or get into a fight with my sister.
Instead, I decided to take a stand. Why? Because the mailing (or not) of Christmas cards is so important to me? Because I think I can change her into a person who doesn't enjoy fighting with her daughters**? I have no idea.
Internets, what is wrong with me? Can we just blame it on my lack of sleep last night?
At least I didn't let her bring up the wedding.
*Seriously. Compared to my niece and nephew, the Gerber baby looks like he fell off the ugly tree and got hit by a few branches on the way down. They freak me out.
**Once, when she was in a good(?) mood, my mom admitted that she likes picking fights with my sister and me, because it reassures her that we care about her.