My mother called me this afternoon. She said she wanted to run something by me: She'd like to have a combination 75th Birthday/2-years-cancer-free/Thank-you-to-the-church-folk party.
She kept using the term "open house" both before and after explaining that no, she couldn't possibly host it at her condo, she wants it at the Church Hall. She wants it earlier than her actual birthday because, because, because. She wants it during the day.
She wants her children and grandchildren there, though one granddaughter is excused as apparently the distance of most of the continent does indeed give her an acceptable excuse. At least today. (My four-hour drive one way doesn't constitute a continental divide.) She wants it open to all church people. She wants to ask old friends.
She doesn't want presents, but if people would like to donate to the different church funds, she'd like that.
She wants finger foods. ("I don't want anything highfalutin. No macaroni and cheese.")
I asked her directly if she was asking us to do the work. Her "Oh, no!" was followed immediately by an idea that had us -- her two daughters -- doing the work.
I don't think it's out of line for people to throw their mother a 75th birthday party. It's pretty clear that she wants us to do it and she won't ask, even when asked to ask.
Why do I feel like I've been asked to be a dutiful daughter and cut out a piece of my flesh to make my mother's soup, a la The Joy Luck Club?