I feel like I use an extraordinary amount of patience and restraint when it comes to my parents. I only imagine how much I could accomplish in my life if I didn’t have to do that.
One of my best friends is throwing me a baby shower. I’m very excited about it, and a little nervous too, because I don’t really like being the center of attention. But mostly excited.
As you know, my parents are divorced. It is not amicable. They only speak when they have to, and always through text or email. They saw each other once after they got divorced, and that was for my wedding. It wasn’t pleasant.
Anyway, this shower is going to include my closest friends and the women on my mom’s side. My dad’s side is huge and very spread out, so whenever we have a new baby come into the family we celebrate at Christmas when we’re all together. We don’t do showers on that side because, for one thing, a lot of people were procreating all at once a few years back and it would have required a lot of travel. For another, like I said-we’re spread out. Christmas is easier.
So I didn’t invite even the local women from my dad’s side because of this. Also because I knew they wouldn’t be nice to my mom. I also didn’t invite my dad’s girlfriend, ONLY because her and my mom have never met and I also knew she would have literally no one to talk to there. There will be no one she knows. I talked to dad about this and he said it was fine-that he totally understood. I asked him to talk to his girlfriend about it too, just to make sure she wasn’t offended before I sent the invite list off officially to the hostess.
That was WEEKS ago. He said at the time he wasn’t even going to bring it up because he thought I was right in my assumptions. But, apparently yesterday he decided to bring it up. And she really wants to come. She said she wouldn’t be at all uncomfortable.
And she’s really nice for the most part. Sometimes I feel like their relationship is a little one-sided and that my dad is having to work a little too hard, but that could be because he never did anything for my mom so it just seems like he’s doing a lot for his girlfriend. She’s been super supportive of me during my pregnancy and so has her daughter-she’s offered me really nice hand-me-downs (that I’m totally taking her up on). In general they’re nice people.
But this put me in a two-fold awkward position:
1. Telling my mother.
2. Adding ANOTHER person to the invite list I had already sent to the hostess-I don’t want her to be overwhelmed with guests.
First I tackled the telling of my mother. She was passive aggressive about it at best. She kept saying that “of course it’s not your fault” but that this was “the absolute last thing that [she] would want” and “doesn’t your dad’s girlfriend know that this should be MY day as the grandmother? not her’s as the girlfriend of the grandfather?”
Ahem. Or mine, as the mother? But I didn’t get into that.
I tried to stay positive. I kept saying things like “Mom, maybe she just feels like this will be a good neutral place for you two to finally meet-she’s always wanted Dad to learn to be on better terms with you for the sake of K and me.” Which is absolutely true. Dad’s girlfriend (we’ll call her B) is a therapist, and went through a very painful divorce herself, but she managed to stay civil with her ex for her kids and grandkids. The truth is, I can’t honestly think that she’d want to put herself in an uncomfortable position like this to make it “all about her.” She’s not K after all.
Then my mom went on to say that she resents how well my dad treats her because he never treated my mother that way. I tried to gently say “I totally understand that, but you know that’s not B’s fault.” Which she acknowledged. Anyway, it was another “going in circles” kind of conversation. It’s like she wanted me to say I was going to put my foot down and refuse to invite her and I just wasn’t going to do that. Then she told me that she had told my step-dad that he can’t come to the hospital when I’m in labor because it’s going to be my dad’s day that day (again, OR MINE AND CHIEF’S DAY) and why couldn’t my dad be considerate like that?
First of all, I NEVER asked her to do that. And I was actually a little upset that she did. For one thing, I don’t really want any of my parents there until labor is really progressing. But I love my step-dad, and I’m quite fond of dad’s girlfriend, so I’m fine with all four of my parental like people being there at the end to meet Charlie, and for goodness sakes don’t I get some sort of say in it? And for the love of all that is holy, why can’t my parents just GET OVER IT at this point? I realize that seems hypocritical of me to say considering that I’m refusing to spend time with K right now, but in my defense, it took me 27 years to get there, and I’m not the parent in this particular situation.
I think my mother also has the very mistaken impression that she’s going to be in the delivery room with me, but I really just want Chief there. I guess that could change, but the way things are right now that’s the way I feel. I’m fine talking to her right now, but there’s an underlying level of upset over everything that’s gone down. She just wants to pretend like nothing has happened, but I just can’t do that.
All I can hope is that I have learned something from all of this crap with my folks, and that I won’t pull this mess on Charlie someday. Please, someone just smack me across the face and tell me to wake up and remember what it was like for ME if I ever do this to her.