Sunday, March 04, 2007

sleep well (post). I'll most likely kill you in the morning.

This post gets way more personal than I normally do here. I might just delete it later. Right now I need to write it out and stare at it for a while.

My kids are the first grandchildren on my side of the family (meaning my father and stepmother and mother and stepfather). My oldest is seventeen, so grandparent names have been in place for that long. My sister is about to have her first. For my mother and stepfather, this will be the first grandchild that is not one of my kids.

The names that my children call my mother and stepfather were chosen by my mother. Possibly my stepfather's name had input from him, but not necessarily. At my sister's shower today, it became apparent that my mother has chosen new, completely different grandparent names for this new grandchild to call them. Not because of duplicate names (you know, where my sister's husband's parents want dibs on a certain name).

There is a history of hurt feelings involved...past cruelties that, were you to ask my mother (I have), I invented. There are two sides to every story and our versions of the past do not mingle. In the house that I grew up in, I frequently felt like an unwelcome member. As a result, my mother is not involved in my life on a daily basis. We basically see each other at holidays and birthdays. This, despite the fact that, until we moved here in 2005, we lived next door to her for 13 years. I love her but it hurts to be around someone who seems to shower attention and affection on my siblings, skipping over me.

A couple of years ago I told Billiam (half joking, but not really) that when my sisters started having children we would have to move far, far away because it would be too painful to see her all over those babies when my own are largely ignored. Again, ask her (I have) and she will tell you that it's my fault. The kids, by the way, eat up any attention she does throw their way.

Now this name thing is gnawing at me. It feels like yet another jab. Treat me different and I hurt. Treat my kids different and the hurt aches fresh and worse than before.

My father says that I shouldn't let it bother me. That she is who she is and I know that. He's right. I do know that. And I know that I should be thankful that my kids have loving grandparents in my dad and stepmother who are involved in their lives on a daily basis. And, until she died, they had my husband's mother who thought my kids hung the moon. I am truly grateful for those people. It should be enough. My mind tells me this while another small piece of my heart breaks.



Blogger Pearls Mother said...

a big hug for your disappointment,
remember that it's ok to love a parent,
but to not like how they behave.

3/05/2007 2:31 AM  
Blogger Angela Martínez said...


Oh my goodness, I think I could write you a novel on this exact topic. If you take out the element of the name change, which just seems bizzare to me why anyone would want another grandparent name for another baby, we could sing the same song. J always seems to get the short end of the stick when it comes to the grandparent's affections. I know they love him, but he doesn't seem to fit their ideal mold of grandchild.
You can feel free to email me if you'd like to vent out of the public eye. I've got big ears and broad shoulders. :)

3/05/2007 8:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry Gretchen. :(
We deal with some grandparent issues, as well. They just suck, and they hurt- no matter what.

3/05/2007 11:09 AM  
Anonymous Debbie M. said...

I am so sorry. We've laughed over many of our children's grandparent's things together, but some are just not funny.

3/05/2007 11:12 AM  
Blogger msubulldog said...

I have a friend who deals with this same issue re her father. It is really heartbreaking how people can divide their love that way. I'm sorry you're having to go through this. *hugs*

3/05/2007 7:55 PM  
Blogger Knitting Mummy said...

I can totally understand how upset you must feel, all I wanted to add was we have no female grandparents left in our family, hubby and I both lost our mums a couple of years back within a year of each other, then the following year I lots both my Nans, that is what we call them over here in the UK. So all I am trying to say is I know it is tough when people aren't the way they really should be, but In a weird way anything is better than nothing I notice you have lost your mother in law who was lovely, so you can appreciate how hard it is without them. Anyway that is just my opinion and I don't want to detract from how upset you feel as I obviously don't really know the whole truth.
All I can say is from what I read your kids have great parents, so who cares what the grandparents are like, you are what matters to them.

3/06/2007 4:44 AM  
Blogger DD said...

I have to admit that if my son's grandparents had created their own "names" for him to call them, I would not have participated. The grandparents should be happy with whatever they are called, especially if it's the grandchild's own invention.

My son went from calling them "papa" and "mama" to "granpy" and "grammy" to "granpa john" and granma jean".

I'm sorry to read that your mother is making you feel left out and exposed. She really is a lucky woman to have enjoyed your children exclusively for this long.

3/06/2007 3:55 PM  
Blogger JayJay said...

I can understand how you feel. My dad's parents clearly felt that we were the least favorite grandkids, probably because my dad was the least favorite kid. Probably much to their dismay, my brothers and I have all done extremely well, so it just goes to show that good parenting is the real key! (and having really great grandparents on the other side helped too) Hang in there!

3/07/2007 5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've lived with the same thing for 21 years. In 1989 we moved away from living near my parents to be close to dh's newly widowed mother. Sadly, she treated her own son (dh) somewhat abusively as well. She never babysat my children, never offered. Cards for birthdays and Christmas gifts were sporadic. When she did visit (twice yearly, although we moved 1500 miles north to live within a mile of her home) she spoke in glowing terms of all the other grandchildren, including the two kids across her street who had 'adopted' her. My children, begging to be picked up, paid attention to, loved on (as they were with my own parents in Florida) were ignored to their faces.

I finally had it out with her after several years of this neglect and emotional abuse and she was oblivious. She appeared to have no idea that she was doing this. I informed her that she would not be seeing me or the kids again until things changed.

It's taken years and years (my kids are 18 and 21 now and we've been here for 18 years) but we have a civil, if not warm, relationship. She (mostly) remembers to send cards and call, and when the kids are in town they stay at her house. I am working hard on letting go of the anger and resentment that I built up from seeing my children hurt so much.

In the intervening years, we managed to 'adopt' several sets of grandparents who have doted on the kids and been wonderful and loving. I figure that in the long's her loss.

I pray that your mother will see what she's doing and quit it...and in any case, that your heart will mend.

3/14/2007 1:23 PM  

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