There have been many times, as I stumbled down this almost 35 year road that has been motherhood, that I had no idea what I was doing. I have a degree in Early Childhood, have spent my life researching, working with and teaching about children, family dynamics, development. And Im good, damn good. When I am directing others…..but, when it is my own life, my own family, I falter. I KNOW what research says, I know what I would encourage someone else to do, but I am not certain of the path I should take. Why? Is my family so “special”? So different? No, truth of the matter is we are just like every other family, complex, intertwined, separate and dependent. The issue is me.
As a mom I always prided myself on putting my children first. FIRST. My husband and I had a rocky marriage, we are two very different souls, and although I never imagined doing it without him would be a good idea, we did battle — but we always said “well, the one thing we’ve done right is our kids”. Who knew?
We doted on them, we did every family thing we could afford, opting for relaxing vacations at the beach, where we fished, crabbed, boated, swam, walked the shore, you get the drift….over flashy places like Disney or Mexico. We wanted them to find their fun and entertainment in their souls, in each other, in nature. And it worked. They grew up closer than I could have ever dreamed. They shared everything, with a minimum of sibling rivalry or competition for attention.They supported each other. Kept secrets from me and their dad, coached each other through life’s messy moments. They each, we believed, were secure enough in the love of the family, including extended family, that they were okay with each other getting more attention when needed.
But I digress. As I said, the problem is me. My son is preparing to marry a woman who has said, on many occasions, that she does not care about how her actions affect his family. She pulled our daughters out of the wedding BY TEXT message and has spoken to me in a way that belies lack of respect or emotion. My son is set, in a week, to stand at the alter without his sisters, his nephews and nieces, his brothers in law , at his side because it is “her” wedding. I could list the litany of offenses this woman has dumped on this family, but it doesn’t matter. She doesn’t like us, doesn’t want us to be a part of the wedding, has told me to attend “as a guest” and, oh yeah, took $5000. of my money to pay for things her parents refused to cover. And then yesterday, she texted me directing me to “alter” the dress I had made for our granddaughter, my son’s daughter who he has raised since she was 6 months old, to make it more “in sync” with the bridesmaids. And, my son, the man I raised to be compassionate and loving, feels that all of these behaviors are OK. That his sisters should apologize to the “bride’ for hurting her feelings, that he has been ignored in this and that we are more worried about his sisters than him.
As I said, the problem is me. I have raised a spineless, uncaring, lazy man. And my heart is breaking.
So, now the decision is, can I even attend this wedding? Never could I have imagined a situation where I would have contemplated missing my child’s wedding, but I am genuinely concerned about my ability to make it through this day. I have a week to figure out if I can surround myself with people who have been critical and nasty to my daughters ( the bridesmaids dresses we paid for will lay unused) , who have told my husband to F— off, who have directed snarky hurtful remarks at me — or do I just stay home. And how do I let my other children attend that mess without me? And my husband? Oh lord, his answer is to smile and let it roll….
The problem is me.