Family drama

Posted: January 17, 2008 in Drama, Family

Family has been on my mind, lately.  Voluntarily, and forced.

Voluntarily, I am thinking about the grandbabies a lot.  Partially because this pic is inhabiting my desktop at the moment:


Lilly got re-married a couple of weeks ago, and her new husband has plans to formally adopt the boys. Michael has pretty much removed himself from their lives, so Lilly’s new husband will be the only daddy that they know and remember. I’m happy for her, and I’m happy that the boys will have a male role model involved in their lives. I am sad for Calvin and myself, though, because more and more distance is being put between us and the babies. We talk, we stay in touch, there’s presents sent on birthdays and Christmas. But it’s not the same as being actively involved in their lives.

They’re driving through Arizona next month, on their way from Texas to California. Lilly was reactivated to active status (Marines) and may be going overseas. Until that happens, they’ll all be living in California again. Which might allow for some weekend visits from the G-Rents! We shall see.

Other family stuff has been involuntarily thrust upon us. I don’t talk a lot about the drama coming from Calvin’s side of the family, but there has been plenty of it over the years. We have basically drawn lines down the middle of the family – one side for the reasonable people, one side for the unreasonable people. We, of course, are entirely reasonable, responsible, have good advice to give, and do not bring any of our own drama to the table. The “other side” thrusts their drama upon us with phone calls and judgemental arguments and shunning.

I actually have Calvin’s permission to be a lot more specific about the goings-on, but not sure that I’m up for the shit storm that would erupt thereafter. The interested parties used to read the website, but I have no idea if they do anymore. Perhaps I shall be braver later. Suffice to say, when Calvin told me his mom said she wasn’t speaking to us anymore, he said, “Do you suppose she means it this time?” To which I replied, “One can only hope.”

It’s not that I don’t want us to all get along. It’s not that I don’t want to like all of Calvin’s family members. And to clarify, I love them all, but liking is not a prerequisite of love. It’s just that certain members bring such negativity with every little amount of contact we have with them, that it just brings us down. It’s not worth it. There are certain fundamental differences between us in philosophy, morality, and opinion on a varitety of subjects (but lately, a few very specific ones), so getting along really isn’t an option if we’re going to be really truthful with one another. Sure, we can play the game and smile and grit our teeth and discuss such innocuous topics as the weather and the Cardinals, but anything deeper than that immediately results in an argument.

Calvin and I are soooooo tired of it all. We have enough of our own crap to deal with, that we DON’T dump into anyone else’s lap. At this point, if being shunned means that we’re out of the drama loop, I’m all for it. We don’t ask for this crap, but it keeps getting dished up anyway.

And then there’s Princess Marie, who owes Calvin an apology. We will be FedEx’ed snowballs from the Devil himself before that happens, so they’re at a stalemate. She lives with us, she still qualifies for (and desperately needs) parenting, she sasses with any sort of attitude she wants and then walks away when Calvin is still speaking to her. The child cannot take any kind of instruction or criticism AT ALL without getting defensive and angry. Which just goes to demonstrate how NOT grown-up she is, contrary to her belief and insistence. She has been allowed to get away with murder over the years in being able to sass back at every turn with little to no consequences. It’s a bit late to stop the sass, but the consequences have arrived. Pay rent or move out. Very soon.

We don’t believe in demanding respect just because we’re parents. We only accord respect to those people we feel have earned it, after all. Dammit all, though, I know for a fucking FACT that we have earned the respect we deserve from both of the kids. We seem to be getting a decent amount of respect from Michael, who has at least enough sense to stand there and endure a lecture when it’s directed at him. No respect is coming our way from Marie, though. She has become a poor household citizen, doesn’t do her fair share of work around the house, and completely dismisses any issues that her dog causes (she is SO destructive we’re almost in awe). Mind you, we did NOT want to add another dog to the household, but allowed Marie to bring Portia with her when she moved back in with us, after the very brief month she was moved out. The straw that broke Calvin’s back, though, was when Marie turned her back and walked away when Calvin was in the middle of speaking to her (she missed a day of work after being employed in her new job for barely two or three weeks. After she was fired from her previous job for being late too many times. Obviously she doesn’t need US to parent her anymore, oh no!). We both called to her to come back and sit down and listen, to which I believe I heard her respond with, “This is bullshit, I’m outta here.” And she walked out the front door.

Oh. Oh. OH.

I’ve demanded apologies from Marie before and have never received them. So, Calvin’s gonna have a loooong wait if he expects contrition from The Princess.

When we do finally move away, we’re not giving our forwarding address to anybody. We have had Had HAD IT.

  1. Heather says:

    I’m told I have the most comfortable guest room in the whole wide world. Just sayin’…

  2. Keri says:

    Miss L, you are to be commended for coming in and being such a strong, caring stepparent; it’s not easy raising your own kids, much less finishing the job as a blended family when the kids are older. I have been a reader of Snerk for some years, and it’s high time you and your hubby follow your own dreams and wishes, too. Hang in there, sweetheart. =)

  3. Angie says:

    Right with Keri-you guys have done a great job as parents, but I’m also glad to see you and Calvin making plans and taking the steps to your happiness. Thanks for the update about the boys and Lilly, too; it’s good to know that everyone is doing well and is happy.

  4. Laura says:

    Keri and Angie, thanks so much for your kind words. It’s hard not to feel totally defeated sometimes but my FANTASTIC readers always make me feel better!

    Heather – I’ll be right there! Just gotta make a quick stop to pick up some tequila…

  5. Jayne says:

    I really like the new site and new look. For some reason I’ve often had trouble leaving comments at the old place and it looks as though this may be more user friendly for a simple soul like me!

    Sorry about the family aggro you’ve been getting, both within your own walls and from outside. I think sometimes as parents we do more than we probably should for our children (perfectly understandable when we love them). The ‘pay rent or move out’ idea sounds pretty reasonable to me.

    It’s tough that you have so little to do with the grandchildren but you’re right to doggedly stick with the sending of birthday cards etc. Some day those boys will want to know more about where they came from and your continued contact will mean a great deal to them.

    Hang in there, you’re doing a great job.

  6. Jeanette says:

    I’m sorry that you are becoming distant from the grandchildren. That picture is precious!

  7. Joanna says:

    One of my clients said this when we were discussing our grown children: “I told my kids, when you are a freshman in high school, you are 25% on your own. When you are a sophomore, 50%. Junior, 75%. By your senior year, outside of a roof over your head and three squares, you are 100% on your own because next year you will be in college and I won’t be there.” I agree…I think it was Kevin Leman who said, “Never do for a child those things they are capable of doing for themselves. It makes them feel inadequate.” At this point, you owe your kids nothing. They are grown and are guests in your home. They should treat you and your things accordingly. I have silently read your journal for years. You have bent over backwards. Sometimes such “bending” works to the detriment of the child.
    Thanks for sharing your world.

  8. Heather says:

    I really, really like Joanna. 🙂

  9. Karen says:

    I dont know I think you should be nice to the princess, these teenagers are “entitled” dont you know that!! She would not get away with the attitude in my house, look to the source its that Calvin guy. He is a push over, a wieny, a mamby pamby of sorts. Tell him to grow some and mean what he says. Calvin must stand up to whatever he says, she knows he wont. Oh well thats all. I have my own snerkerparents website. I am perfect. ok I am done.

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