Saturday, April 18, 2009

I don't know where I was going

I'm not sure why those words came out of my mouth last time. About my niece, I mean. She is a wonderful girl. I'm just weary and spread thin and was not handling her need for constant interaction very well. She's an only child who has had reason to not feel very stable in her life (through circumstance only, the intentions of her/my family have always been the best at heart) so it makes sense for her to have this need. It is true that she is babied and requires a lot of work but that was not something I necessarily should have spoken about, as it is my problem in handling it not hers.
I'm sure at the heart of it is my jealousy. My sister lives closer to my mother than I do and has always relied on my parents to care for my niece. Sister and niece lived with my parents for several years. When she was a toddler, niece was with my parents constantly even traveling with them when they went out of town. Even now, she sees them almost every day and regularly spends the weekend with them. Keeping up with my niece has been an excuse on many occasions why my parents couldn't visit with my kids.
When my sister started talking about having another baby in the near future, I was upset. Partly because she expects my parents to raise this child too and they're hardly in condition to do it and partly - mostly - because of what it would mean for my kids. I already keenly feel their lower status in my parents' lives, but add a baby to the mix and well, I'm afraid we'll be reduced to holidays only. Which is how it is for some families, but we live only 40 minutes away. I confessed these feelings to my mother and in the nicest way possible she said Too bad, I'm going to choose your sister and any child she has every time.

Recently niece's dad (for future reference, I will probably never call him step-dad as she has no relationship with her bio-father) has been laid off so he has been getting her after school. I can't tell you how many times my mother has told me how much she misses my niece, at any rate, it feels like more than she has told me she misses my kids. When on the phone with my sister early last week, to discuss niece staying with me. I mentioned that I was surprised to find out that on my sister's rare day off work that my niece was staying with my mother. -Yeah [husband] and I wanted to spend some time together today. And mom calls me everyday to ask if she can have [niece] over. She always tells me how much she misses her, how her heart hurts to be away from her so much, so I decided to let her spend today with her since I wasn't letting her stay the whole week [of spring break]. - Really, I say, because when my kids are with them all they talk to me about is how soon I can come pick up the kids. Which is true, there's never been a visit where each phone conversation doesn't include this question. Never a visit where I don't get the distinct feeling they've overstayed their welcome. Which is typically 2 nights every 6 weeks or so. But I blurted that out without even realizing it. I think I said it pretty matter-of-factly. I didn't then and don't now think my sister told me what she did to hurt me, she was just telling me and her reply to me was a sort of shocked moment later, oh well, she's always telling me how much she misses your kids too... - you know the kind of add on statement someone makes when they realize they've stuck their foot in their mouth. Anyway, it wasn't something I meant to say, it probably wasn't something I should have said. I think though, that it was something that was repeated. This time my mom had offered to keep the kids while she had my niece on spring break, but it just wasn't working out so she said she'd keep them a couple of days starting Easter night. On a usual stay, this would mean I'd get them on Tuesday afternoon. But on Tuesday, my husband, seeing my emotional state, called my mom and asked if they could stay until Wednesday, after consulting my dad, she said yes. Then on Wednesday, I asked if we could pick up the kids that evening (when Hubs would be there to drive instead of me) - and she said Yes. Hubs and I both noted several times that we were not asked when we were coming to get the kids. On Wednesday it dawned on me that sister must have said something to mom, although nothing was said to me. I'm not sure how I feel about it.

1 comment:

ViolinMama said...

You did not sound selfish to me. Blogging feelings mean blogging feelings - all we feel. Especially being honest. You deserve to air out any feelings you have, even those you worry about, or make you feel flawed, or vulnerable. Any reader who could be mean or critical, or judgmental about it needs to remember they are human too. Anyone who responds with honesty back, needs to pair that with compassion - even if giving advice to improve (cause really, we do need honesty in life). Honesty can still be given with understanding.

I'm glad you could share your feelings. Having one child held over others is not fair. Your mom and dad, and even sister, needed to know. I'm NOT very good at truly expressing what I feel, for fear of rejection (I'm sure you can think of of an example or two in the last few months with me), so it is easier to say "do as I say, not as I do" but that said, I'm glad it sorta "came up" and possibly made the rounds to those who needed to hear it. Maybe they'll show by action more than words they heard your words.

I know I've worried that Lovely can be like your niece in some regards, because of the years she was an only, and she was at my parents or sister so much and being the "baby" was babied by us all. I feel like many days I'm playing "catchup" - so I did appreciate your last entry's perspective. Honest and real can help anyone in relationships - paired with knowing NONE of us are perfect, so share as you feel!

Much love!