Friday, April 29, 2011

Crazy Talk

When I was out of state to visit my Grandmother (GM) I visited with my NM not only that night I described in my last post but after a good day with the kids and I doing some fun things and a visit with GM we stopped by my NM’s so she could see the kids once more before I drove back home the next day.  I really had the guilts from my GM being happy that I was getting together with my NM.

Now I see that she played the more polite role the first night when the kids were swimming in her community pool, sticking to topics of polite chit-chat such as how am I liking my job (I was surprised as she never asks).  I think she was intending to find out how much traveling I was doing.

We ended up going to a deli nearby and at this meal the kids and I were quickly “over” her conversation.  Once again she droned on to them about how they could excel at a sport if they really wanted to.  She kept talking this usual way without engaging them and none of us had anything to say to her. 

After hardly speaking for two years, my NM had these interesting moments:

When we saw each other the first night she said, “Oh, you cut off all your hair.”  Ummm, it is on my shoulders, and only a few inches shorter than I used to wear it.  Then the 2nd night she asks me how I am liking the shorter hair.  I thought she was referring to herself.  I said I liked it.  She said, Oh you do?  I realized she meant my hair.

During our deli meal when she kept talking she says to the kids, “Your mother was so cute when she was little.  She had long blond hair…..big blue eyes.  She was so cute”  We all ignored her.

After dinner back at her place we didn’t go inside but took a quick walk to look at a fountain and I was really anxious to get to our hotel and I was walking in front of her, heading toward my car in the parking lot.  The kids are behind her.  She says, “You never used to have a butt before and now you are all filled out.”  I turned around and gave her a look to convey that was an asinine thing to say.  I turned back around.  She continued, “Oh, not that it looks bad—it looks good.”

 Put a fork in me, I was done.

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But here’s the latest insanity.

My GM is in a nice rehab/skilled nursing center and receives physical therapy every day except Sunday.  She will most likely be there for another 6 weeks.  She is doing as well as can be expected from voluntary hip surgery, but her upper body is weak.  Once she is released she will have a home health care aid come to her house for 5 hours a day, maybe longer, and she had this service before.  She will need to be stronger as she will not have a full time aid.

For the past few years my NM has lived in a winter home that is near GM from November to April and a summer home from May – October (because GM helped her buy the summer home—remember, my NM told GM she would not be able to visit her unless she forked over thousands of cash to put down).

Well, guess who has left for summer home and left GM at rehab with no one else she knows around.   All I have heard  now in every conversation from GM is how wonderful my NM has been since her surgery on March 1st, bringing her food and treats and doing her laundry. 

NM has left for summer house because she always intended to leave last week of April so that she could plant her garden by May 1st.

Her vegetable garden.  At her summer home.

So, if a worker at the rehab center asks my GM where her daughter has gone, does my GM say, "Oh, she drove several states away to go to her summer home so that she can plant her garden by May 1st like she has wanted to." ??

Have I mentioned she is retired?  When we had a frank conversation in March and I stated that she had many opportunities to visit the kids but never did my NM defended herself, “But I was working then.  Now I’m retired!”

She is retired.  She has no where she needs to be.  Except she had to be at summer house to plant vegetable garden by May 1st.

I work outside the home.  I get a set number of vacation days a year.  I cook every day when I get home for 5 of us.  Three kids in three different schools—Readers, you get my life but NM and GM (now) does not.  My NM planted the seed to GM that after NM leaves for her summer house, I can come visit.

And since she is still in the nice skilled nursing/rehab center, why does GM ask me to drive 10 hours each way or spend hundreds of dollars on a plane ticket???  She is asking for me to bring her over to her own place for some Chinese take-out food (or bring some take-out and hot coffee to her, and to do her laundry in her machines because the nice skilled nursing home would wash her clothes with other people’s at the same time and she does not want that.  GM was telling me this (like I said I thought she needed help if she was getting discharged) and I said, “Do your laundry?” and she said, “Yes, it is very easy—you just put a load in the washer and then the dryer.”  I was silent but what I wanted to say is that I know, I do about 10 loads a week at my house.

I vented to DH about the insanity.  My BFF lives in the same town and had visited GM and could pick up her laundry and take her Chinese food if I asked her to.  DH said he could drive there and knock everyone’s socks off about how spouses do things for each other……but frankly I feel a few days, hundreds of dollars in gasoline or a plane ticket to do a load of laundry is a bit much.

GM has a nephew visiting there on business in 11 days from now and she has asked him to do these things too. 

I don’t know.  I think everyone has gone crazy.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Visit with My NM

The last 5 weeks have been way high up on the stress charts.  It has taken me several weeks to just let some time pass.

I wanted to make the long drive to visit my grandmother with 2 of my 3 children during their spring break (the oldest had some sports tournaments and DH stayed home too).  We left on a Saturday and drove back on a Tuesday.  Eleven hours there and 10 hours back.  My GM had elective hip surgery in early March and my NM lives near her approx. Nov-April.  After the surgery I spoke to my NM as described in the last post, for the first time in a year.  I can honestly say I do not shake anymore while speaking with her as a result of learning so much about NPD this past year and also hearing the words on your blogs.  When I speak to her now or listen to her it is less personal, and more as if I am listening to a “case”.  And then later it affects me and I have to sort through it.

Believe it or not I enjoyed the drive and we made lots of stops and had fun.  For the first night we stayed with an old friend of mine, who knows everything about my family, and she adores our kids and my DH (who was very happy to be home and work on spring yard projects).

I did not call my NM to tell her I was coming—I would have had to hear all about how I should stay with her (!!) or what time to see her or my GM together (GM is at a skilled nursing home getting physical therapy care).  I did call my GM and told her we’d see her Sunday afternoon, the next day.

It was very nice to relax, sleep in and catch up with my friend and go out to breakfast the next day and shop for a few things for GM.  That afternoon as we drove the 30 mins to see GM I called my NM.  I told her we were in town because the kids had a few days off and that we were seeing GM for the next couple of hours.  I had asked the kids if she invited us over what they wanted to do.  I don’t let my kids make adult decisions, but we were on this trip together and they know what is going on.  But the good thing about being with kids is sometimes their simple answers can cut to the chase.

My NM lives in a community that has some gorgeous pools.  And it was Hot.  The kids said in unison, “We want to swim in her pool.”  So my NM and I kept it brief and she asked that since we would be extremely close to her place after our visit with GM, did we want to come over afterwards and the kids could use the pool.  So I told her that would be fine.

We visited with my GM, for two hours and I was so, SO proud of my good boys.  It was hot, they had to share one chair, they were bored but not one time on the way down, or visiting with GM or on the drive back did they ever whine or complain.  I’m verklempt just writing about it.

As I mentioned in my last post, my GM had begun to ask what is it that my NM did to me.  She is almost 90 yrs old and now frail and now needing my NM who is the only relative that lives near her half of the year, she's been needing my NM to take care of household things.  I had told me GM about the disrespect and the mean stuff, all of which GM knows.  What GM does not know and I will someday write about is my NM's betrayal.  My GM certainly had her list of why she was “done” with my NM two summers ago.  When GM heard that we were heading over to see my NM and have a swim, she said, “That’s nice.”  I brought my kids on this trip to be with me, and have a little fun together (beach) and to see their Great GM and although my NM does not deserve to see me or them, we did spend a couple hours with her.

After visiting with GM I called my NM.  In the back of my mind I am thinking, “I cannot believe that I am going to be visiting with my NM, who has behaved horribly two summers ago to my GM in their summer home that I had to go rescue her, and that said horrible things about me to my GM that she relayed to me.  Things that made me realize after all these years that my NM doesn’t like me.  There is no way all that venom can spew out about someone (me) and ever think it was ever right to begin with.

We arrived at her place and as I predicted and braced my middle son, she exclaimed over and over how much he had grown.  She had not seen the kids in 2 years.  From May through October she lives only 3 hours from me and the past two years I told her she could visit us but she never did.  She wants them to be with her without me there, but they don’t want to and we parents won’t allow it.

There was no physical touch for me and our body language likely read to each other to make this a grand-kid related visit and nothing else except of course to review all of her financial woes over past 6 months what she has been up to.  So there we were, sitting by the pool.  It was surreal.  But like I said, it was bearable because I know what she is, I know it is not me, I know who I am, and I just made mental notes of the Narc-isms.

When I spoke on the phone a couple weeks prior and we had some very frank words, I did mention some things about how I realize some things even looking back to my childhood.  My NM responded as to I had no clue how bad her childhood was.  So I think my NM is dismissing any of the current issues I have with her and is focusing on that childhood comment.  The only reference we really had during this visit is she said, “Speaking of childhood abuse…” and she mentioned something about her childhood.  I am very calm and parent-like and acknowledged that I know her childhood was the pits.

The only way my NM has known to show the kids she feels for them is to buy them something so she insisted that although it was late she wanted to get them an Easter gift and we went to the big store next door (which worked for me because I bought some toiletry items I needed).

When we said good-bye and she says to me, “Come here, You!” And gives me a long hug.  I did not feel it and I did not reciprocate.  As others have said in their Narc parent blogs, the body does not lie. 

Of course my NM had wanted to know what we were doing the next day.  My NM thought that at some point we would hook up during the day but we did our thing and she did hers. We ended up seeing her for about another 2 hours the next night and I’ll post more about that next.  There were more Narc-isms then and have been some more in the past week.

I’m worn out, flat worn out.  But my kids and DH are the best people I know and I work during the day and drive home to see them again after work like a bat out of hell to get home.