Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Dirty Underbelly

No, this post is not about Jo's belly. It is smooth and pink and clean and eminently kissable.

I find myself going through phases of wanting to write only the good stuff on this blog. Lately most of the stuff has been pretty darn good, so it's not like I'm lying, but that's never the whole truth, is it? I don't know if that's how I come across (I certainly have my whiny periods), but I'm aware of the impulse in myself.

My mom has been as awesome and caring and helpful as I have described. She has also been, um, crazy.

I posted a while ago about her idea to "host" (buy breakfast for) Jo's naming at our synagogue. I made her promise at the time she brought it up, several months before Jo was born, that she would *not* try to include my dad. We would invite him, of course, but the breakfast itself would be handled only by her with no attempt to coordinate with him. She loves to talk about how great it is to work together with him, how healing, blah blah blah, but for me it equals only drama and whining from her. She never remembers how hard it was the last time. They put on the "rehearsal dinner" for our wedding together, and she was bitching and whining from several months before right through our wedding day and the day after.

(This seems like a digression but it isn't:) In October Mom turned 65 and Nephew S. turned 1, so Mom threw a joint birthday party for them. My sister insisted that she did not want to invite my dad, although Mom encouraged her to. I am a sucker for my dad, and my sister insists she has no positive memories of him and does not care at all. The problem with shutting off one's feelings like this is that it leads one to do mind-bogglingly stupid things like: not invite Dad, but invite his stepson. Stepson B. lives near my sister and they've become friendly. Nephew S. often wears hand-me-downs from Stepson B's two-year-old. I was really worried about this misstep, but I decided to let her dig her own grave. A few days before the party, my dad called my sister and asked what "the plans" were for Nephew S's birthday. My sister felt immensely guilty (I think she had realized her mistake by this time) and told him about the party. (We still don't know if he'd heard about the party, or if he called spontaneously. He might well have just called, that is like him.)

My mom raged: it made her look bad! *She* should have been the one to invite him! Dad stopped by only briefly, but he brought his cousins. Oh, did this piss Mom off. Though she admitted that the actual time with the three of them was quite pleasant, she is *still* carrying on about how he just "shows up as a guest" and had the audacity to bring his cousins, and there are more pictures of him with Nephew S. from the party than there are of her with Nephew S. (This is because, Co pointed out, Dad spent the whole hour he was there hanging out with Nephew S., and Mom, because it was her party with her friends, was pretty much never with Nephew S. Overall, in life, there are *lots* more pictures of Mom with Nephew S., because she lives 10 minutes from my sister.)

Fast forward to my discussion with her about Jo's naming, now that we're trying to plan it. Mom begins, true to form, to insist that Dad simply must be included in the hosting. "It is only fair to him. He's the grandfather. And besides, he always just gets to show up and be a guest and I do all the work and spend all the money. And then he brings his cousins. It isn't fair. In fact, I paid for Nephew S's party, so he should pay for Jo's naming."

Yup. Never mind that it was her idea, that she offered when Jo was a mere bump in the belly. Never mind that she *had* the idea because *she* has friends in our area she wants to invite (and feed).

We told her we were paying for it, and she backed off. We'll see what happens.

(and to end the post, here's some cute -- Nephew S. meets his cousin Jo!)

S. meets Cousin J.


Anonymous said...

The drama of divorced parents. I feel your pain! Here's hoping that everything goes smoothly for Jo's naming - no one needs extra stress surrounding such a special event!

EggDropBlogger said...

Well it wouldn't be family if there weren't some drama. Stay strong and hold your ground. It's Jo's special day.

fostermama said...

omg. oy oy oy oy oy.

I think you were smart to nip it in the bud by deciding to pay for it yourself. Sucks that she's making her drama get in the way of what she really wants, but you at least don't have to feed that.

charlotte said...

isn't it a whole new kind of crazy when you have to deal with your parents being crazy grandparents? good for you for not participating in her craziness for is rarely worth it.

FosterMommy said...

oh dear.

good plan on your part, but it sucks that now you have to basically pay for your own gift. and still deal with her shit. I hope it goes well! *hugs*