Monday, 26 November 2007
They F*** You Up, Your Mum and Dad....
I can't believe I ate the whole thing. Anyone remember that Alka Seltzer commercial? I didn't do too badly though because I still lost a pound this week.
Thanksgiving marks the beginning of six weeks of family agony for me. Many years ago when I was almost 21, after being put in my place very rudely by my stepmother's father one Thanksgiving, I decided life was too short to spend holidays with my family. And except for a couple of rather disastrous ones, I haven't since. That doesn't mean I don't think about them and don't want them to think about me, though. A phone call or even an email is always welcome. This year I got neither. My sister seems to be suffering from memory loss. That is, she claims she can't remember my email address. She DID remember it up until the crisis with my mother last summer. She never calls me, and I stopped calling her because she would spend an hour talking about herself and her family. It goes without saying that my brother doesn't keep in touch. My dad and stepmom, after many, many years of being so self-involved they'd forget to call me, were doing pretty well but not this year. My mother did call yesterday.
So why don't I call or email them? Because I'm tired of the one-way system of our relationship. They have no idea what goes on in my life because they don't ask. I haven't told them about Hubby's job going in January. I haven't told them about Son's cross-country success. I haven't told them anything about Daughter. My mother hasn't visited me in 8 years and I doubt she will again. My sister and brother came for my wedding (I cashed in my 401K and paid their way). My dad and stepmom are having financial difficulties apparently (though they seem to have money to do up their house) so I won't be seeing them over here anytime soon either.
These are people who would call me at 11 p.m. on Christmas Day, my first Christmas after I split from my first husband when I was all alone, and say "Oh, we forgot all about you." That was my stepmother, never a sensitive person. And they used to have a system of pulling names out of a hat for Christmas presents. That year I got nothing because my brother, who pulled out my name, decided not to give me anything. Or they would call on Jan. 9, the day after my birthday, and sing "Happy Birthday" and wonder why I wasn't thrilled to hear it (my dad and stepmother). Or actually bother to come see me on Christmas, then pull a martyr act (my mother). And back to that Thanksgiving: My stepmother's father was an ignorant oaf who delighted in putting people down. Do you think my father stood up for me? Did he hell!
I MIGHT send them an email, but I'm just a bit too pissed off at the moment.
I have been inviting my in-laws for Christmas for the past few years. However, I haven't done so this year. Last year I was held hostage in my own kitchen by my mother-in-law, who has verbal diarrhea (I can't spell this the UK way), while everyone else drifted in and out and did their own thing. I'm using the dog as an excuse. The kids are a bit upset, but frankly it's their own fault. They should have been spending time with their grandparents instead of leaving it all to me. And Hubby didn't want to invite them in the first place, he said.
At the back of my mind I wonder if my kids will feel this way about me when they and I get older. Of course, I would never have my head up my ass so far I'd forget to call them at Christmas or Thanksgiving or their birthdays. I remember my stepmother telling me one year, "I finally figured out that it matters to you to be remembered on your birthday." Well, yeah.
Am I any different from any other human being?