I found “Lilly” on Facebook (for non long-term readers, she is my step son Robert’s former wife, the mother of our three grandsons – Lilly isn’t her real name, in keeping with the whole nom-de-net thing I used to do). The last time we saw or heard from them was a little over two years ago.
(Okay, I just re-checked, I guess the last time we REALLY heard from them was back in January of ’09 when Lilly mailed us pictures of the boys – JUST pictures, no letter.)
Anyway. I found Lilly on Facebook, sent a friend request, and she never responded to it (back when we were both on MySpace she “unfriended” me, as well). I sure as heck would like to know why she declines any kind of contact from me. I mean, sure, I understand she had a negative relationship with Robert and doesn’t want to have anything to do with him. But I (nor Bill, nor Amanda) have never treated her anything but kindly. It’s not like we want to even insert ourselves into their lives – we’d just like a way to know how they’re doing, or have a way to see pictures of the boys as they grow up. We’d like to be able to send Christmas and birthday presents at least, though if she wants to cut complete ties in order to avoid confusion or whatever for the boys, fine. Just say something.
So. Yeah. The whole thing has got me down. Lilly’s mileage may vary, but I feel that if my former mother-in-law had treated me kindly and had been more supportive after I divorced my ex, I probably would have maintained contact with her. She was a good person, and was a good mother to me up until the end of my relationship with her son (then I gave him back – LITERALLY, he’s been living with his family ever since and, well, I don’t think they’re very happy about that). Of course, my ex and I didn’t have kids together. If we had, well, barring the complications that would have generated in cutting ties with my ex, I CERTAINLY would keep my child’s grandmother in the loop with school pictures and whatnot, at the very least.
Those boys are our grandchildren. We loved them and cherished them. For four years we anticipated their arrival as each one of them was born, drove back and forth between home and San Diego (where they were living, stationed at Camp Pendleton) a bunch of times, and had weeks-long visits from all of them while Robert and Lilly were still in the Marines. Just weeks after Roman, the youngest, was born, we had all three of the boys to ourselves for two lovely weeks as Lilly and Robert wrapped up their military careers in California and were discharged. Then they all lived with us – all of us together, raising and caring for those three boys – up until Robert and Lilly split up, and Lilly took the boys with her to her parents’ home in Texas.
Lilly knows about this website, and used to use it as a way to keep in touch with us. I have no idea if she still reads or not. If so, I hope she understands that I understand that she feels the need to keep her new life with her new husband, his family, and her family separate from us. It’s not my intention to bother them at all with any obligations toward us. I just want to know they’re doing well, and we’d all love to see pictures as the boys grow up. The relationship that we (Bill, Amanda, and I) have with the boys is completely separate of the relationship between Lilly and Robert, or Robert and the boys. Those they can handle between them. And, you know, I’m not even asking that we be allowed to have a relationship with the boys. If Lilly doesn’t want that, if she only wants the boys to know the family they have now with Lilly and her new husband (which, clearly, it seems that she does), I understand.
I’m speaking as a Grandma who misses her grandsons – all of you know my history, and know why being a Grandmother is a cherished state for me. If I can’t be a participating grandma in the boys’ lives, I’ll take what I can get. Which is why I thought being “friends” on Facebook would work out. I’d be able to see any pictures she happens to post, but wouldn’t bother her in any other way. Maybe she doesn’t realize that.
Lilly has moved on, and I wish her every happiness. Robert has moved on as well, and we all really adore Joy. In between there, though, they had three boys together who became a part of OUR lives – me, Bill, and Amanda. We never expected to have a “say” in matters between Robert and Lilly, but we also never expected to be entirely cut out of the boys’ lives, either.
Today, I’m wallowing a bit in the unfairness of it all.