There's a great 1891 short story by Mary Wilkins Freeman called "A New England Nun," about a woman who has lived alone for many years and decides not to get married to her long-promised fiance because he is basically a disruption to her neat, quiet life. He tracks dirt in and knocks things over, and he's inadvertently but definitely messing up her ordered life. The story has a happy ending, because her fiance is actually in love with someone else but was being true to his earlier promise, so when the engagement ends, he can marry the woman he actually loves, while the protagonist can have the quiet life that she wants.
... which brings me to my mom. She wants my brother and me and our families to come visit her, and she feels aggrieved that it doesn't happen more often, but our being in her house actually stresses her out because we're a disruption. We spread out; we take the coasters out of their little holders and put them around on end tables to put our drinks on; we read books and leave them on said end tables; we eat from dishes that require us to run the dishwasher more often, which is a constant psychological strain on her; we use towels and sheets that have to be laundered; we are too noisy and disruptive in every way.
She really can't wait for us to leave, but then we also all have to pretend that the visit was marvelous. And she gets mad at anyone who lets the facade slip.
All of which is to say that I spent four days around Thanksgiving in the land of my family. And it was good, and it was bad, as always. Same old, same old.
I was really stressed last night, having gotten into an argument with my mom when I called her to say I'd gotten home okay. Not a great ending to the visit. I'd managed to be pretty zen throughout the trip, trying to "respond" rather than "react," but the end of the trip really brought me down.
But then this morning I remembered the story "A New England Nun," and that's helping me to make peace with my mom and my interactions with her. And I had a quiet day of puttering around, raking leaves and taking a nap and getting my head back into my own home, and I'm feeling better now.