I spoke with my mom today about our up-coming zip line outing. While talking, I mentioned that we still have plans to meet at a zoo and feed giraffes later in the summer. She says that she’s planning to have my nephew down for a visit in the summer and we should meet up then. My jaw must have hit the floor. Good thing we were on the phone. This is supposed to be us. She has had numerous adventures with my sister’s family and I was elated to get her to agree to meet us this summer for this one.
In the big picture, I love my nephew. In day-to-day, the kid is obnoxious. My son has to take breaks from the kid a couple of times during a few hour visit. It’s selfish, but I don’t want my nephew to be part of this outing. He’ll pick at our son throughout the time, making his day a lot less enjoyable, and we’ll be miserable for our son. DH and I have agreed that we simply won’t be able to go on whatever Saturday my nephew is visiting Mom. We won’t enjoy the day at the zoo if he’s there, and we’ve been looking forward to this for a year now.
Add to the picture the fact that my children haven’t been invited to spend time at Grandma’s without us in five or six years, and my nephew still goes yearly. My kids don’t currently know that, and how would they feel to know that their cousin gets to spend time with Grandma and they don’t? My kids don’t know about the many times my parents would take a hotel near my sister and take the boys for a night or two and take them to the pool. There are pictures from boat tours, hiking, etc. We get three hour visits, even though Mom often talks about things in our area she’d like to do. My kids don’t know about the back-to-school shopping trips that they’ve never been part of. They wouldn’t care about the stuff, just the time with grandparents. My kids have asked my parents (when Dad was alive) why they didn’t stay longer (arrive at eleven, leave at three). The answer was a vague, “I don’t know.”
My kids don’t know that Mom and Dad made the nine hour trip north in winter every year to see the nephews’ Christmas programs. Our kids got one church Christmas program, and we’re only three hours away. My son asked them to attend a (kindergarten) school program, got a vague answer, then cried as he was on the risers realizing they weren’t coming. I didn’t even know he was still expecting them.
I know that a lot of kids had it way worse than I did, but I’m tired of barely being a third class citizen. My daughter was inducted into NHS this year, and my Mom said, “Well of course she got in.” The morning I was to find out if I got in (way back in high school, sitting on a 4 point at a small school), the last thing she said to me on my way out the door was, “Don’t get your hopes up”.
Time after time I heard Mom telling others about my sister’s wonderful gift for writing. When I placed in a writing contest I heard, “Congratulations. I never thought you’d win.”
One night when my sister was a high school senior and they were fighting all the time, I saw Mom, Dad, and sis all getting their coats on. I asked where they were going. “Family counseling.” “Can I go?” “No.” They walked out, and it was never brought up again.
It’s amazing the old feelings that well up to the surface as the mama bear in me wants to protect my cubs from my mother’s unthinking ways. She told me long ago that my oldest nephew is her favorite. I don’t know what I’ll do if she ever shares that fact with my children.
Mom is going for a colonoscopy this week and she told me that she doesn’t know why she’s doing it as she won’t take action if they find anything anyway. How am I supposed to respond to that? This the the third time since my sister died (six months ago, Dad died two and a half years ago) that Mom has made comments about being “ready to go any time” being “disgustingly healthy”. I don’t think she’s suicidal, but clearly her remaining daughter and grandchildren aren’t enough to fight to be here for. Why am I even bothering to try to get Mom out for new memories in new places with us? If she doesn’t care, why should I? I’ve even wondered to myself if she’ll bother to come to my children’s graduations. We’ll find out next June.
I know Mom loves me. She’s just never loved me the way she loved my sister, and that love has translated in kind to our respective children. That’s what hurts the most.