My Flower came to me today, concerned and rightly so.
"Mommy, how will I recognize Mam-maw and Pap-paw. I don't remember them."
Those words broke my heart. The distance between my family and my in-laws is not my doing. She doesn't like me and never has. From the very first meeting, I couldn't do anything right in M's eyes. You see, she plays favorites. And my husband never was her "favorite". So I was doomed before we ever met. She has a list of grievances against my husband that go back his entire 39 year life span. Thankfully, she has only been keeping a list on me for a 19 years.
She loves to bring up things that happened years ago. Things that are over with and forgotten. Things that we thought were over and done with. Nope. She is keeping a list and pulls it out when she feels slighted. She flies all over the place visiting her other grandchildren and kids. Yet she refuses our invitations. We have given up inviting her to our home.
Flower is 12 now. She was 4 the last time she saw her grandmother.
Can you imagine how the rest of that conversation went? Here is my response and what I remember of our conversation.
Your grandmother doesn't like me very much and that is ok. You can't expect everyone you meet in your lifetime to like you. Sometimes there are things about other people that you have to learn how to accept and keep on loving them anyway. This is one of those things. It is a part of who she is.
But that isn't a reason for me to be unkind to her.
(my jaw dropped to my chest. WOW! ! ! I was getting to that part but she got there first!)
I expect you to be kind to her. After all she is your grand mother.
Does she love me?
I don't know baby girl. She doesn't know us. But I am sure that she does. (hope so anyway) Don't forget how her behavior makes you feel. And try your very best to never make anyone feel that way. Even if she is mean to mommy or daddy you still have to be nice to her. It doesn't matter how other people treat you. You should always show kindness.
I know Mommy.
I don't think I could have handled this any differently. The kids know what is going on. They see M traveling all over the country visiting her other grand children. They know when I "fake" a gift from M under the tree. What else can I do? I won't lie to the kids but I don't want to turn them against their grandparents either.
I was honest, to the point and as kind as I could possible be in the situation. Don't know...
Before we could make arrangements for them to have a room in our house, a cabin at the lake or condo, they reserved a room. My mother sleeps on the couch when she visits or I give up my bed.
The kids will see. They will know. But they will also see by my actions that it is ok. They will see her rudeness and my kindness in response. I will act like the lady I was raised to be and I expect my children to do the same. and secretly, in my imagination, I will be pulling her hair out by the roots
I am so proud of my children. And M's son that she doesn't want anything to do with? I think he was a fine catch. I am happy he is mine. makes me want to kick her teeth in every time she says something mean to him.
It is time for me to put on my sugar sweet southern bell hat. Put that whang in my accent that I drop up here close to the Canadian border and remember how I was raised! I can cuss you out and you will say thank you. Insult you and make it sound like a compliment. Past on a fake southern sweet tea smile and you will never know that it would me greatest pleasure to kick you in the teeth. I will act like a lady and let her embarrass herself. The people that are attending the ceremony in a few months know me and my husband. They respect both of us. If she acts out of line, I won't have to lift a finger or say a word. There will be plenty of men there to take care of any problems she may cause.