My mother arrives any minute. I am trying not to be tense about it, but I'm tense. Even if we avoid topics likely to incite disagreement, our personalities are so different that there's always a little tension. My mother cannot sit down and have a conversation. She must always be doing something. This drives me nuts. When people come to visit me, especially people I haven't seen in a while, I want to sit and talk to them. Though we may talk on the phone frequently, a face to face conversation is different. So if we are sitting, I'm always aware that my mother is getting antsy, that she wants to do something.
And she also gets bored when we are doing something. We can go shopping or to a museum and after a while, she's getting antsy and wants to go. She can never do one thing for too long. I try to be patient and understanding about this, but it's so counter to my own personality that it's hard. And of course, it's disruptive. We are used to moving kind of slowly, especially on the weekends, while my mom is a whirlwind of activity, flitting from this project to that project.
Was it Phantom Scribbler who was talking about the fingernails down a chalkboard effect of being around your parents? That is exactly it.