Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Holidays 2009

The year ended in a flurry of activity for us, as we settled into our new life together with our baby, purchased our first house, and celebrated the end-of-the-year festivities as a new family. We were excited about our new-found traditions and looking forward to our future. NMIL and her gang, however, had their eyes set in a different direction: the past. But, rather than using their hindsight to pinpoint their mistakes and learn from them, they chose instead, to point their fingers at us in the age-old blame and shame game.

Thankful for a Touch of the Swine

DH and I decided that my family was priority when it came to scheduling time for the holidays. I was unwilling to spend the bulk of Thanksgiving or Christmas with people who treated me with such a lack of respect or caring, and DH agreed. He still wanted to spend some time with his family, in the hopes that they might wake up someday and start to care, but he understood that, given their past behaviors, it was unrealistic to expect me to give up much holiday time with my family in order to be with his. So, his NM and EF generally got the holiday left-overs, so to speak. We asked EFIL before NMIL, what the plans were for Turkey Day. We considered going to EFIL's house for leftovers the day after Thanksgiving, but it was made clear that such time would not be made available to us because they were too busy. Our initial plans for Thanksgiving with NMIL would allow us to spend most of the day with my family, and some time in the evening with DH's family, as both venues were being held in the same town. NMIL agreed to the plans. However, a few days before T-Day, DH's 8-year-old cousin fell ill with a "touch of the swine" flu, according to NMIL in her email. DH and I discussed in depth and agreed that we would not be exposing ourselves or our three week old newborn to the swine flu, no matter how much NMIL attempted to down-play the seriousness of the situation. So, DH wrote back and said we would not be attending Thanksgiving, due to the risks involved with his cousin's sickness.

NMIL responded that she of course, "understood" and that she "wouldn't expect us to expose the baby to the flu" and informed us that she'd be having Thanksgiving dinner at her house, instead, where some of the girls DH grew up with would be present. She added that those girls were "so excited to meet DD!" DH and I politely refused the offer, having no interest in giving his mother or her slimy friends access to either us or our innocent child, particularly after she made light of the swine-flu situation. Our next plan was to have NMIL and SIL over our apartment T-Day weekend to celebrate the holiday with us. But, as it turned out, the whole "We're having T-Day at my house" ended up being a lie, and NMIL and SIL went to Naunt's anyway, knowingly exposing themselves to the swine flu. When DH called SIL to wish her a Happy Thanksgiving and ask her how the day went, she gave away the truth of where they had spent their holiday, resulting in the final cancellation of thanksgiving plans with NMIL. I pointed out to DH the danger behind the game she was playing with her lies and manipulations. She was willing to expose herself, and therefore us and our newborn baby, to the flu. The flu, Dear Reader, is a potentially life-threatening and incurable ailment, particularly in those with weakened immune systems - see, newborn babies and women recuperating from childbirth. Once exposed to it, the flu can stay in your system for several days before you know you are sick. NMIL knows this, she is not, for all her evil-ness, a stupid woman.

Down the Street

At the end of November, we began house-hunting. Before DH shared this bit of information with NMIL, she said, via email, I am really hoping to be in an even better financial position next year so I can rent you the Victorian without worry if the lease is not expiring in the office. I would really like you guys to live in a bigger place with out financial strain. Would still love for you guys to be down the street!!! I guess we will see what happens over time. That's right, Dear Reader, the same woman who lied to us before, was just continuing the lie and expecting us to believe it. Her disconnect with reality is made apparent in this statement and works toward shedding light on her severely limited access to Truth. She obviously wanted us to "forgive and forget" her behaviors from the past, long enough to be duped into accepting her offer the second time it came around. She assumed we were stupid, blind, and willing to be abused. And when DH told her thanks, but no thanks, since we were looking into buying a house, she responded, I guess I was secretly holding the apartment on X Street for you guys with the hopes you may come this way, but I totally understand and I want to help you guys buy something. I do think about that a lot. The economy is on its way up and we are busy and making money so that’s good news!!!! Shit. Anyone who uses that many exclamation points is usually overcompensating. Besides that, we would have been seriously fooling ourselves if we had accepted any of her "offers" to help control us.

Christmas Parties

We were invited to three Christmas parties in December 2009, NMIL's, EFIL and his wife L's, and Pig's. We respectfully declined each party due to the following facts:
1. I had just given birth a month before and was in no physical or mental shape to be attending huge parties
2. Our baby was a newborn and more prone to falling ill because of her underdeveloped infant immune system and the fact that it was flu-season and we were not going to expose her to potentially hundreds of people we didn't know (or didn't know very well)
3. All three parties were far away and not conducive to traveling with an infant.
4. Two of the events were being held on the same day, and
5. I really didn't want to go. And is it really that surprising, Dear Reader? Why on earth would I ever want to expose myself and my baby to people like NMIL, Exhibit A, and Pig. Really, I would have been forced to halt the paparazzi by throwing their cameras and cell phones in the toilet.

When we found out that NMIL had secretly invited some of DH's friends to her party without his consent or even knowledge, I shared with DH my disgust for his momster's inappropriate and ongoing relationships with his friends. By sneakily inviting DH's acquaintances (or, in some cases, ex-friends) to her party, she was deliberately undermining his authority and stomping all over his rights. She was showing the world that she could do whatever she wanted with her son's friends, and he just had to deal with it. Because she did not openly discuss her inclinations to invite his friends, she proved the intent behind her wrong-doings. The dynamic was also disgusting in a creepy sort of way, since she bounced back and forth between treating these young men like adopted sons, and secret lovers. Remember, Dear Reader, NMIL is the woman who accidentally intentionally let her breast pop out of her shirt, so that Pig could see it when he was a teenager. If it sounds pedo-ryphic to you, that's probably because it was. And no, Dear Reader, I am not letting Pig and DH's other "friends" off the hook for accepting NMIL's Christmas party invitation. They too, were at fault, for ignoring the needs of their supposed friend, and crossing over some serious boundaries that should never have been crossed. Overall, NMIL's Christmas party behaviors left a bad taste in my mouth and gave me all the more reason to be happy that we weren't attending.

L decided to respond differently when she learned that we would not be attending hers and her husband's Christmas party. She sent DH an email saying that she was "surprised we would not be attending the party since she had heard that we spent Thanksgiving with 50+ people" on my side of the family. It is true, we did. It is also true that we offered our time to them for that holiday and they declined. It is also true that, had L been thoughtful enough to ask, I would have told her that T-Day was exhausting for both me and DD, and had not been as enjoyable as I had hoped, as a result. And finally, it is true that my family does not guilt me and would not have attempted to guilt me into feeling badly had I chosen not to attend their holiday festivities. We did not attend any holidays on my side of the family out of obligation, but because we wanted to, and that made all the difference. The same can not be said for holidays we attended, or attempted to attend, on DH's side. Furthermore, we still planned on getting together with L and EFIL on Christmas Eve, thereby giving up dinner with my parents to spend part of the holiday with them, so the argument that we were being "selfish" with our time was completely unfair and unfounded.

Oh Woe is Me

A few weeks prior to DD's birth, DH had contacted NMIL via email (if you hadn't noticed, this was NMIL's favorite form of communication, no doubt because she thought DH was hiding the evidence from me). DH had asked if NMIL wanted to visit us the day after Christmas.

She had said Why don’t you come to the house for dinner that day or early lunch or something? What are you guys doing Christmas day? Translation, "Um no, how about you come and do what I want instead?"

DH then said Hard to travel with a one month old baby. Christmas Eve we're going to my dad's, Christmas day we're doing Christmas at home then going to Jonsi's parents. Then the weekend after we'll be in [town] at her grandparents. So we thought you could come down the [day after Christmas]

NMIL agreed, but then said, Ok well let me know about Christmas Eve day, otherwise we will see you day after Christmas. How’s that? Translation, "Let me just randomly stick in what I want to do again, and see if I can get him to agree without realizing it!"

DH patiently explained, I think it’s way too much traveling Christmas Eve day to go from [town 1] to [town 2] to [town 3] and back. You and SIL come down the day after Christmas day, we'll have a lovely time.

NMIL must not have liked that, because she came back with this delightful guilt-inducing, lie-soaked gem, I think SIL feels left out a little – you know it hard to lose a brother when he becomes a man and not a big toy. That stuff takes time to sink in sometimes and I think when the baby is born maybe you guys will be closer. She is looking forward to being and Auntie and spoiling and cuddling the baby! I am too!...I definitely think SIL will be very warm with baby – you guys have to find your way together in this new capacity as Auntie/Father and sister/brother. In short, NMIL was making it clear that she disregarded our needs for the holiday, that she was going to continue to control her kid's relationships with each other, and that she had no intention of changing the unhealthy dynamics.

Let's move on to the day after Christmas, which was given to NMIL and SIL. No big surprise, SIL didn't show and NMIL excused her absence with the statement, "She's just being shy." That was code for, "I've convinced SIL that Jonsi is a crazy bitch, DH doesn't love us, and that she shouldn't want to spend time with either of them. Furthermore, it behooves me that at least one of my children remains on my side and there can be drama at every turn." So, more lies from NMIL, and no SIL. Whatever, I wasn't surprised. Our visit with NMIL ended up being an hour of opening her re-gifted gifts and listening to her complain that we had hurt her feelings: We didn't call her on her birthday. We didn't call her after her surgery. We didn't come to her Christmas party. We didn't spend Thanksgiving with her.

And no matter what we said to defend our actions, or how much logic we brought to the table, she covered it up with lies and a pile of distortions. We sent her a card to acknowledge her birthday. We'd just had a baby two weeks before her birthday, and the existence of our child was, to put it bluntly, more important than her "special day". A few days after her birthday, we gave her a wrapped, framed photo as a belated birthday gift. We didn't know about her surgery because she hadn't told us she was having it. We didn't go to her Christmas party, or any Christmas parties, because we'd just had a baby and weren't feeling up to it. We didn't see her for Thanksgiving because of HER choice to expose herself to a potentially fatal sickness, if it was in turn passed to our infant.

But it was no use Dear Reader. We might as well have been talking to the wall. And in hindsight, that might have been a better option. At least the wall doesn't lie about it's capability for "understanding."

5 comments:

  1. Holy Fruitcakes.
    Everything was about NMIL wasn't it. Why didn't you do for ME she constantly says. What. A. Load.

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  2. (sigh). I can relate to dealing with all that wrangling. It's like the "mothers" (NMIL and EF's wife) are keeping this detailed score of "how much they get" in order to "prove" they're being treated "unfairly." They're SO concerned about getting their "fair share" yet totally unconcerned with treating others fairly! Fucking mind boggling.

    I don't like that EF's wife was saying "I'm surprised you aren't coming to MY party due to germs, when you were just at a 50+ guest party for HER family." As if germs were the only reason, as if you have to fucking compromise your values to add another set of guests to her party, as if she it is her place to wrangle you into changing your wishes! So much about what they want, with nothing but annoyed dismissal of your plans. Not the reason for the season, that's for damn sure.

    I can hardly imagine how tender and protective you must have felt of little Jonsi, your precious new member of the family. I don't blame you for steering clear of these events, for all the reasons you described. And like I said to LSV, it should be enough that you just didn't feel like it. Why do they not accept this simple truth? (more of a rhetorical question as we both know the answer).

    I always found myself making up excuses that "held water" with NM instead of just telling her I wasn't interested or didn't want to participate. They act like every Nov-Dec is the LAST time we'll ever see each other, we have to be together, what a tragedy you won't be there! Rather than own their preferences, they turn it into some big fucking deal about your controlling spouse or your cold-hearted absence during the holidays.

    The first few months of life with a child are sacred (all the years are sacred, but those first few moreso!), I don't care how much punch you ordered for your stupid party, nothing is worth risking her health and well-being!!

    Enjoying your posts as we get "caught up" to the present.

    xo
    upsi

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  3. Upsi- I was infamous for attempting to provide excuses and "reasons" for why we couldn't do something.

    "Oh well we can't go because...our elephant just sprung a leak and we'll have to get his trunk replaced."

    ...

    You are very right though, I should need to make these excuses. I have the right to not go somewhere if I so choose.

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  4. Ugh. If it isn't what they want to hear, then the reasons are futile. Good for you and good for DH for fighting for healthy relationships, and protecting yourself from unhealthy ones.

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  5. "Besides that, we would have been seriously fooling ourselves if we had accepted any of her "offers" to help control us."

    Let's see now, I would also cross out "control" as well as "help," and in their place, put "shit on."

    Also, it is hard to find the time or energy to even go to the toilet in the first weeks with a new baby, let alone a bunch of crazy expectations of traveling with it.-- quartz

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