The Queen of Good Intentions Run Amuck
I guess I shouldn't be surprised by my mother's surprise visit. It's not like she ever warns me of the fact that she is coming... or rather it's not like she ever actually manages to make it all the way to Cascade when she tells me of her visits in advance. I think it's been something like twelve years since the last time she actually came when she told me she would, but this time around I really could have used a heads-up. While she knew I had been in touch with my father for the past two years I hadn't had a chance to tell her that he had actually moved to Cascade and was living next door. It's not that I tried to keep it from her, it's just that the last time I heard anything from her she was on her way to a spiritual retreat somewhere in Nepal where there would be no possible contact, and that was more than six months ago. The problem is that having her here now that there are so many secrets floating around this place is going to be even more complicated than it was before the whole dissertation fiasco... and I'm far more aware of just how devastating she can be if she happens to find out something she shouldn't.
Of course the fact that she hadn't been expecting Giles to be living here led to some rather amusing situations and far more suitable living arrangements for her stay. Her first reaction was to come up with the wonderful idea that we would all be more comfortable if she were to stay with him rather than with Jim and I... at least that way I would still be able to sleep in my own bed, or so she said. It sounded like a reasonable idea except for the fact that we could all see where she was going... and we were all aware that my comfort was not her primary concern. My father's reaction was priceless, he had this dear-in-the-headlights look going there for a minute until Willow and Tara finally took pity on him and told Naomi that she could take their guest room. Giles was relieved, Naomi was fuming but couldn't quite come up with an excuse to turn down that invitation and I think I caught a mischievous glint in Tara's eyes. She may be quiet and painfully shy but she doesn't miss a thing. As far as Jim is concerned, he was in heaven. While --for the most part-- he has forgiven Naomi for what happened with my dissertation I know that even after all these years he still lives in constant fear of her sage brigade. At Willow's and Tara's at least she will be free to burn sage to her heart's content.
I love my mom but I am aware that while Naomi is here we will have no choice but to play cloak and dagger in our own homes... again, and we all know how wonderfully that turned out the last time around.
Naomi will finally be leaving tomorrow, and the truth is that her visit has left me with rather mixed feelings.
I had never really spent any amount of time with her, which seems odd considering that she is the mother of my son. Before this encounter I would have described us as passing acquaintances at best. Now I've had a chance to get to know her a little better but I'm not sure whether or not that was a good thing.
I think there's a part of me that would have preferred to be left with the wonderful memory of our one encounter when we were kids and not much else to ruin it. The fact is that she puts up a good front but it's not a front that can stand up to closer scrutiny, and even if I had been unwilling to see it, it's not like Tara would have allowed me to ignore it.
I am well aware that while Tara is nowhere near as powerful as Willow when it comes to spells and magic intended to have an impact on the physical world, her empathic abilities mean that her powers are greater than Willow's when it comes to spiritual magic, though she rarely taps into them so we sometimes tend to overlook that fact. Her empathic levels come close to Blair's and that's amazing considering that he's a full fledged Shaman. I've learned to respect that power over the years, and one of the lessons I've learned is that it makes her an excellent judge of character. In other words, I've learned to take whatever she says about someone seriously because more often than not she is right... and right now that's the problem.
We were talking yesterday about Naomi. I guess I was curious about how she saw her considering that for me the woman remains an enigma. I guess I shouldn't have asked if I didn't want to hear the answer. As usual Tara managed to tag her with the simplest of definitions. She described Naomi as 'the queen of good intentions run amuck' and --whether I like it or not-- that definition does agree with what I've heard about her and what I have been able to observe in these past few days.
From what I've been able to see Naomi is loving but she has no regards for the possible consequences of her actions. She wants to help but she is unable to see anything but the outcome she desires, and I can't help but wonder how that has affected my son. Even after all this time his past is still a mystery to me, whenever I try to bring it up he always manages to steer the conversation toward a different subject... at least when I try to bring up things that happened before he was admitted to Rainier. Up until now I have been unwilling to press the issue but I suspect that that's no longer an option. Some of the things Tara hinted at are too disturbing for my liking and now that the possibility has been presented to me, it just won't leave me alone. I have always assumed that my son's childhood was a reasonably happy one, now I'm not so sure about that and a number of subtle hints I had neglected along the way are coming back to haunt me.
I remember how when Blair first came to Sunnydale Buffy was having a hard time adjusting to his presence, and I remember the conversation I overheard between the two of them. At the time I was so overwhelmed by the discovery that my son had actually been murdered that some of the other things he mentioned didn't even register, things like the comment that even during his childhood his mother was far from a constant presence in his life. And there were other instances as well, moments when he let his guard down to help others and something slipped out unnoticed, like when I was thinking of leaving Buffy after she was brought back from Heaven. He asked me if I believed that a twenty year old was capable of taking care of a child on her own. He was referring to Dawn, of course, but he said a child --not a teenager-- and at the time I didn't even register the fact that his own mother had been only seventeen when he was born.
And then there are other things. Things that Tara mentioned almost as a fact which I can only pray were just a mistaken assumption on her part, or simply things she said in an attempt to illustrate a point. She said that Naomi was like a small child unable to conceive the possibility that someone else might feel or act differently than she would under any given circumstances, that too is consistent with what I've been able to observe, but then Tara went further than that, she gave her concerns a more specific form. She said that Naomi could not conceive that when she was leaving Blair behind, her son might have wanted her to stay or that --because she would never deliberately harm a child-- Naomi could not conceive that someone else might... and what I can't stand is the combination of those two scenarios in my mind.
One thing I do know is that I need to have a long talk with my son... and for the first time since I met him I'm not looking forward to it.