Now that the Christmas season is officially over... I can finally let loose on those things that happened this year that either upset me or pissed me off. At the forefront of all this would be the actions of my parents. My parents did not come to our family Christmas this year. They had left for South Carolina just two days before. Was there some dire reason they had to leave? Quite frankly, no. You see, the real reason is that my mom detests my SIL that was hosting Christmas this year. And honestly, none of us like her very much, she is bitter and cold. But 11 of my parents grandchildren were going to be there... how could they let petty differences get in the way of that. The other part of this that upset me is that no one would tell me that she was, in fact, not coming. I called one of my brothers, the one who definitely knew, and left a message on his VM asking him if they were going to be there. My brother ignored my phone call and me. Then two days before the party, I had to call that brother again for the cell number of another brother. This time I was able to ask him directly if mom and dad were coming... he stammered a bit and said that he didn't think so, in fact, he thought that they might be leaving that very day. HA! The jerk knew... see at the party, my brother brought out a gift bag for each of the granchildren present. Apparently, my parents arranged to drop them off with his wife that day that I had talked to him. Lies and secrecy... nice little addition to Christmas.
The other incident involved my MIL. Now to be honest, I get along fairly well with my in-laws, in fact, I enjoy spending time with them more than my own parents. However, every now and then one or the other will do or say something that usually sets me off. My in-laws usually save their Christmas shopping til the last week and do it all in one stop. At one point, my MIL said how hard my kids were to shop for(in fact, my kids have fairly extensive gift lists with ideas from clothes to books to games to electronics). So after looking at the gifts I had purchased for my kids, I called my MIL up to offer her a game that I had for my son. At this point, she said "thank you" but that she was buying clothes for all of the kids (which at this point I was sure when she said all the kids, what she meant was MY kids and not all of her grandchildren). She then went on to mention that she was also giving them money.... for COLLEGE... F-O-R --- C-O-L-L-E-G-E.... (I wish that I could have an audio of the way in which it was said... for she dragged it out and it came out rather snidely). At this point, she then asked... "They do have college funds, don't they?" I was surprised at how it was said and that it was asked at all. I didn't know what to say except that yes, in fact, they do. The phone conversation bothered me for a few days and especially so after she called me after their shopping excursion and said that she wanted to take me up on my offer of the gift for my son. I told the kids that part of their gifts from grandma and grandpa was money but that it was supposed to go into their college fund. I did this so the kids knew that they shouldn't consider it part of their everyday savings and announce it as such. (Although I have to admit it was rather funny when K#2 asked me "but what if I don't want to go to college?" But that is a story for another day.)Well, it wasn't bad enough that she said it to me in such a way but on Christmas day when she handed the kids each in envelope with their $20 she stressed and accented with a finger point to each of my kids... "For C-O-L-L-E-G-E!"..."For C-O-L-L-E-G-E!"..."For C-O-L-L-E-G-E!" Why should this upset me I am not exactly sure... as a gift, it is certainly her right to request how the money is to be used. But it was the manner in which it was said to me and my kids.
So despite my frustrations and agitation over both incidents, I am glad that I had some time to stew about them. I was able to work my way thru them and not blow up. My mother is who she is and will continue to do and say things that alienates herself further from my affections. However, no matter my feelings I would never intentionally keep her grandchildren from her. However, if she is going to purposely avoid opportunities to visit with her grandchildren then I am not going to bend over backwards trying to accomodate her. As for my MIL, while I do love her she has always felt free to voice her opionions. For the most part that is fine. However, on some occasions when she has conveyed her feelings, some of her opinions have been hurtful (our wedding and K#1's baptism). Why she felt the need to stress it not once, not twice but three times, I do not know. But rather than cause a rift on Christmas, it seemed easier to let it go (okay, I am still working on it). The only thing that I can do is to learn from these incidents. Try to remember when my children are grown with families of their own how to act, react and phrase questions and concerns.