Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Few Days Before Christmas

I have been in and out of stores many times this past month shopping for the kids and found myself sometimes seeing an item that my NM would really like as a Christmas gift.  I saw her favorite perfume...I saw some warm pajamas...I heard of a new book she'd like.

I think the card and note she sent a couple of weeks ago to the kids was just a test to see if they would reply to her.  She has always taken it very personally when they don't write or call her, even telling my oldest "how would he like it if I never called you."

In prior months/years I used to ask the kids to call her but I don't any more.  I did feel a pang of guilt thinking of her not hearing anything from them this Christmas, and have just today mailed her a C-mas card with a letter from each of them in it, PLUS a couple of photos of the three of them.  The photo will stop her in her tracks because from some past communications I know she still thinks of them as younger than they are.  Just picture how much kids change physically when they are 12 and 14.  Even I, who see them every day, feel as if they have grown an inch overnight when they come into the kitchen for breakfast in the a.m.  She hasn't seen any of us in 20 months and I have not sent any photos.

Last November is when I emailed my true feelings to my NM and she wrote back that "she is letting go" and so we did not communicate at C-mas and I can't remember how the kids communicated.

I know that my NM is having some hard times financially like so many others, and like we were 5 years ago (of which I shared none of that with her).  I know that she is busy and trying to sell a home, which is futile these days.  But I also know how much better I have felt this season knowing there wouldn't be a horrible, awful conversation about Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday plans.  And I know there is no upcoming visit to my house to agonize over.  We have had a Christmas at our house ruined and it won't happen again.

I am so grateful and excited over the traditions that we have made in our house with the 5 of us.  I have had to travel lots this month for work and have had much work stress, and after tomorrow I will have the rest of the year off--I could jump for joy.

I have a lot I'd like to still explain.  Hardly a day goes by in which I remind myself what my NM deliberately said to me two years ago that was so pivotal and it's a focus point for me to remember why I have no need for her N-ness anymore. It is not so simple, though.  I have a GM who lives 15 miles from her, who will be leaving pretty much all her assets to my NM, and who is ailing, and who is "in the middle" of us, and I guarantee that if something happens to GM, my NM will not tell me.  At that time the word Turning Point" will not even describe it.

But for now I am so ready to hang out at home and cook and see some movies and read and enjoy my family of five and our traditions.  One of the three of them still Believes and has feet smaller than mine.

However you like to celebrate, I wish you much joy and strength and good times this season.

Friday, December 10, 2010

How I Learned To Not Be Homesick

I have previously blogged about a time when I was 15 years old and my NM and worthless SF left my brother and I home alone for four weeks while they went to Europe on a vacation that was convenient timing for them (slow work time).  Now that I know my NM has NPD, the memories of childhood are coming back to me and I am viewing them from the NPD perspective and also from a parent's perspective.  I feel my NM had a completely different set of feelings for her children (my brother and I) than what I consider normal.  Completely different from how I feel about my children. 

Previously I have felt bad that my NM did not have a good childhood.  She had an abusive, alcoholic father who left home forever when she was 16.  Then she married at 18 and had my brother and then two years later had me.  I see now that her NPD was the result of much shame and insecurity in her early past.  Her high school senior year love interest dumped her for a former flame.  My bio dad was rebound guy—a weak man (and the beginning of a life-long pattern of my NM needing to be the Boss of her man). 

A few years after I was born, my NM wanted to move from our home state and find jobs in another state thousands of miles away.  My dad was not into this, but agreed.  When I was 4 yrs old we moved with hardly any goods at all to another state.  My NM was the worker bee, waitressing (which took care of the bills plus she'd bring leftover food home), and my dad was shy and unmotivated.  I have heard this story my whole life.  One night my NM came home late as usual from waitressing to find me (age 4), my brother (age 6) and father gone with all of our clothes gone too.  Apparently my father had planned to take us back to our home state without telling my NM, doing so while she was at work.  We took a train back and apparently (I have no memory of this) stayed with my paternal grandparents for three months.  My NM told me that she knew her marriage was over and stayed in this new state, working double shifts so that she saved enough money to be able to fly back to us, have a return ticket for her, plus to have a returning plane ticket for my brother and me so that when she arrived and took care of divorce proceedings, we three would return back to the new state.  Which is what happened.  When my NM would tell me this story sometimes she'd add that men would give her a ride home after her waitressing shift (we had no car) and that my dad would not be happy about that.  I am sure that my NM got attention--she was absolutely gorgeous.

My NM is a survivor.  She will work for something to get it.  I always thought she was the champion to save us from a life of being poor with a “loser” dad, in an "unglamorous" city where generations had always lived.  But now, 40+ years later, and as the mother of children……my heart would absolutely ache and break if I had to be away from my kids even a fraction of the three or so months she was away from us.  So now…..I feel she did what was best for her.  Because I am looking at event after event since I was 4 and I see that all of her actions toward her children were about what was best for her.

Years ago I recall speaking with my brother about some mom things.  He says he is grateful that she did not have an abortion and had him instead.  True.  And I am grateful that she wanted another child (me) so that her firstborn was not an only child as she was.  And I know that I am who I am because of my past experiences.  I am independent.  I am flexible.  I can be very strong.

I was sent to camp for two weeks when I was 8 yrs old and I learned about the word homesick, which is what happened to many other kids.  But I was never homesick.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Card

Review of the communication with my NM over the past couple of months:  my NM had requested in August that she visit during a certain weekend in Sept which wasn't good for us, and then she and her "fiance" traveled back to their winter home in Nov.  This traveling takes place very near to our home but she never stops (said in past she doesn't like the busy roads near us).  They are now about a 10 hour drive away.

Then Thanksgiving arrived and there was no phone call made by either of us.

Yesterday a card arrived in the mail addressed to the kids and I opened it.  It was a Christmas card with this note written in it:

"Between December 20 and January 3rd, I will buy 1, 2 or 3 round trip plane tickets from (your town) to (my town).  Let me know asap."


Now, in the past she has asked for the kids to be put on a plane to visit here.  I have always said no.  I think she has always previously thought what I meant is that they are too young (they're now ages 14, 12 and 9).  Also, you may find it interesting that in the past she has asked for 1 or 2 kids to visit during the summer or whenever (as in 3 kids is too many). 

However, over the past 18 months or so, I have let her know via 2 emails that the kids will not be visiting her alone and why.  So she is writing to them directly in a Christmas card.  As if they are going to read that note and then say YES!--Mom I want to go!

My kids are getting older.  They work hard in school and want to hang out at home.  We won't even get into how hard I have been working and the week between C-mas and New Years will be my time off with them to do things.  The kids have been extremely busy the past two days with friends and events--when they see the card they'll say, Um, no.

I showed the card to DH.  He shook his head and we talked about crazy this was.  I am finally aware of how wrong it is to try and address minor kids without acknowledging me.  I've been wanting to have a family meeting with the kids to address the elephant together.  We're gonna have a family meeting tonight about the card and NM.