Monday, October 29, 2007

addendum

Well, maybe I won't need to make any difficult decisions after all.

I called my mother and asked if I could come for Thanksgiving. She said that she would have to ask my siblings, because they might have feelings about my coming. She also said that she was concerned that I would spoil the holiday in the same way that I'd spoiled Mattea's first birthday. Y'know, the one that took place a year ago, a few weeks after the twins died, when, instead of participating in the party, I went upstairs and cried.

She said that I might make it uncomfortable for everyone and that maybe it would be better for me not to come, especially since she knew that I didn't really care about Thanksgiving anyway.


edited to add: I'm overwhelmed with all your invitations and sympathy. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and generosity. And though it may not be exactly evident from this particular encounter, my mother is really not a bad or uncaring person. During our conversation, I told her that what she said hurt me and she was honestly puzzled, saying that she had to consider everyone's feelings, not just mine. For whatever reason, she's just always found it more difficult to relate to me than to her other children or stepchildren. Perhaps it's due to my black little heart.*


*Thanks, Meg for the link (which is likely not to last for much longer).

68 comments:

Katie W said...

Oooooooh I don't think I'd have been able to control myself.....
Seriously it's a good job my arms can't reach across the Atlantic, your mother clearly needs some sense knocking in to her (at least in a verbal sense)
I can tell how much your family means to you from your posts, but they treat you so so badly.

LAS said...

I am horrified at your mother's reaction.

Beruriah said...

No way. Now way. This is so wrong. I suspected as I wrote my last comment that your mother would actually turn out to be a problem, but didn't want to presume. Damn it Niobe. I'm angry. You should not go. You should not feel bad about going, except in that this kind of treatment is bound to be painful. And you and L should make other plans and perhaps do that from now on. Perhaps if you want you can go around her to rebuild a relationship with your step-siblings. But I don't understand her. You should not be ostracized for your grief. A family should have been sympathetic to your pain at Mattea's party, and sure as hell not throwing it back in your face a year later.

M said...

I just don't know what to say. Such a blatant lack of support for one's daughter during such a time astounds me - and I'm sorry that you are experiencing it Niobe, I truly am.

Time to start your own family holidays/traditions maybe? And surround yourself with those you can lean on and rely on in both good and bad times.

Wish I could come and celebrate with you.

x

Waiting Amy said...

You and L are welcome at my home, dinner is usually at 4pm. Email me for directions.

Her response is simply unacceptable. And simply unfair. I hope that in whatever way works for you, you make peace with this rift. Whether it be by approaching your siblings in an attempt to mend it, or simply moving on with your own life and traditions. It seems that your mother is unavailable to you in any meaningful way.

I am so sorry Niobe. Hugs to you. Lots.

ms. G said...

Well, that takes care of that, doesn't it? Plan something glorious for you and L and don't feel one iota of guilt, Niobe. If your in the mood for an 80 degree Thanksgiving, there's always the west coast....

Chicory said...

wow, your Thanksgiving/family story just bitchslapped my thanksgiving/family story and told it to stop whining.

I'm so very sorry that your mother said that. I'm so sorry that your family would treat you that way, and refuse to spare you any consideration.

They don't deserve your company, and not for the reasons they think.

If you lived here I'd invite you over to my Thanksgiving table and we'd commiserate about family while making new traditions.

Aurelia said...

I

I

I can't even type the word I want to call your mother.

You are all welcome to come to my house for Thanksgiving. Hell I'm not even American, but I can cook a fab turkey and I'll do it for you.

Lori said...

That is shockingly horrible. I am dumbfounded. I am aghast. I am so, so angry.

I am so sorry. You are invited to my house too, although it will require a plane ride...

Becky said...

Come on down, Niobe! We'd be honored to have you. Problem is, you'd have to suffer through my in-laws.

On second thought, can I come to YOUR house?

Wabi said...

Wow. That is just stunningly jerky of your mother. I'm sorry!

Julia said...

I don't have very many words that can be said on the radio about this. So I better not keep typing...

Kathy McC said...

Your and my mother ought to meet and become friends. Because they obviously both share the same awful personality flaw.

I am sorry your family hurts you so badly. I'd say come to my house except my parents decided to go to a birthday party for a friend of theirs instead of coming to our family Thanksgiving. So I am not doing it this year.

(((hugs))) I hate families...

Ms. Planner said...

Absolutely shocking. I cannot believe how difficult it is for your family, and especially your mother, to not support you in your grief and your year-plus of healing. I am sorry you are dealing with this, Niobe.

On a brighter note, perhaps it is a good time to start some of your own fabulous traditions!

cinnamon gurl said...

Wow. That's horrendous. Seriously.

At least you're off the hook for making any more overtures... Looks like you've got some new family traditions to develop with new family members.

Which Box said...

I am so ... I do'nt even know waht the word is. I have no idea how to react, or how to suggest you might react. Clearly you and your family have a ong history, and Ihope that history allows yo to make some sense of what was said.

Cause in the real world, that don't make no sense at all.

On the bright side, as others have said, you now have permission to make your own holdiay be anything yyou want it to be. I hope it is, indeed, glorious.

Family time can be overrated.

Which Box said...

Um, I read and admire this blog so much because of the high quality writing. I promise I am much more literate than my poor typing skills above portray me to be. (though the don't make no sense was an intentional colloquialism!

Anonymous said...

Ouch. And isn't your mother a therapist? Or am I confusing her with someone else's mom. Sigh. That's so terribly cold. And self-involved. I'm so very sorry.

Paula

Zee said...

I'm so sorry, Niobe. Some people just have no couth. It's the worst when it's a family member--especially one you expect to be on your side.

Virginia said...

Oh Niobe, I thought my family was screwed up before and after I lost Ben, but you've got 'em beat. I'm so sorry.

For what it's worth, my advice is this: leave 'em alone this year. They don't get it, and you will only feel worse being around them. You don't need that. There is too much pain and too many memories for you right now. I think the stepbrother and SIL who were supportive of you after the twins died deserve a letter, just saying "thank you, but this is where I am right now and I hope you understand I just can't do the family thing." I'd hate to see you cut yourself off from them. Maybe one day you will need to cut yourself off completely from your family, but I think right now isn't the time. I think, when you are feeling stronger, you can make that decision rationally and not let too much of the pain you feel right now be involved. Does that make sense?

Bottom line: take care of yourself right now, every day, whatever that means. If that means no family gatherings, so be it, and screw 'em. Rest. Heal. Gather your strength to face other days. And know that we are with you in spirit.

Tash said...

Permission to: 1) call your mother and explain the definition of what it means when something gets "spoiled." Like LIFE. You know what's "uncomfortable" sweetie? Having your kids die. and then 2) to take the broad end of a shovel to the lot of them. That's a t-day you don't need. We're a train ride away, friends of family so there will be extended there, but the food will be awesome. Don't know you from Adam, but I'm serious, you're welcome as of now.

froggy mommy said...

Not sure where you live, but I'm in NY. You are more than welcome to join us for the holidays. Big hugs to you. I am sitting here stunned by the way you have been treated. You don't need to be around that at all.

Eva said...

This is disturbing. I am so sorry. If you want to you would absolutely not be out of line writing some vicious to her. I know I sure want to!

Kristen said...

Oh, Niobe, I am heartbroken. I'm just hurting so much for you. How horrible to hear that from your own flesh and blood.

Lots of hugs for you. If you lived near me, you'd be more than welcome to spend the holiday with us. XOXO

Aurelia said...

Just coming back to say---although your mother may have perceived things in a certain way, I'm sure your half-brothers and sisters did not. Even if you don't attend, or even feel like being close with them, I really would let them know what your mother said on "their behalf."

Because if anyone ever spoke for me in such a manner, I would be incensed.

Reality is that if she could do this to you, then she could do this to any of her other kids or relatives, and they really need to be warned before they someday get subjected to her sadistic tender mercies.

I've been fuming for you all night. If I could swoop down there and protect you and become your mother I would. Seriously...

susan said...

How positively awful: what a terrible way to treat a child! I am sputtering with anger. This is no way to treat you. I hope you and L find a way to craft your own Thanksgiving tradition.

Angel Mom said...

I'm speechless. I am appalled that your mother would say that. I am so sorry.

meg said...

Niobe, I'm sorry. This is pretty unbelievable. Somehow I only expect these things to be said by my family members, so it is a little bit of a shock to hear that someone else's family is messed up too.

I'm amazed that you could even go to your niece's birthday last year and even more amazed (well horrified) by your mother's words. I know how this feels and I am really, really sorry.

My Reality said...

Oh, Niobe. I am so very sorry that you mother has said these things.

If you are up for another road trip, I will cook one hell of a Thanksgiving dinner.

DD said...

No.

Way!

Nothing like opening your arms to your family when you need it the most! *sarcasm*

Magpie said...

Speechless.

Would you like to come to my house?

And Aurelia's point about your siblings vis a vis your mother sounds spot on to me. My mother is peculiar and narcissistic, and frequently the only way to deal with her is to commiserate with my sister.

I'm sorry.

Cate said...

What a terrible thing to say. Now would be the time when I would say f*ck 'em and go anyway, even if everyone IS miserable.

Renae said...

We have room at our table for you and L. Turkey with all the trimmings will be served shortly after noon.

I cannot comprehend this at all. I don't think you can make things right with your family. They are not reasonable people in the least.

I'm sorry.

Christine said...

i remember that post about the 1st birthday party, and it still makes me crazy sad and angry. who could blame you for being upset. it had only been a few weeks since your horrendous loss.


niobe, you reached out and that was brave and loving of you. and i am sure in your mother's mind she feels justified in her behavior and words. but i don't buy it. i'm sorry. no disrespect to your mother but her attitude is awful.

delphi said...

Is it okay if I hate your family's behaviour (and even perhaps THEM) on your behalf? Because they are earninging it.

I really can't tell you how sad this makes me.

Pamela Jeanne said...

I know you're the mature adult in this bizarre relationship, but technically this is child abuse in the worst form. How could a mother emotionally destroy her own child this way? There's an open seat at our table for you, too.

charmedgirl said...

F THEM!

we try and try to make families...sometimes i think we do it to cure ourselves of our original one. to finally make it right.

and then our reproductive lives turn to sh!t and we're left with double the pain.

sh!t, sh1t, sh/t, sh)t. i wish i could be more of the wordsmith you are...but i'm not. and nothing deserves profanity more than some jerky familial behavior.

megan said...

your mother has rendered me speechless. i seriously cannot believe that she would say such things to you. you should go to my mom's house for thanksgiving. i'm so sorry, Niobe.

Elizabeth said...

I have no words, just tears.

Jitters said...

There is so much wrong with your families handling of this entire situation. I am astonished by their selfishness and inability to understand that you live every day in pain and they are able to tuck their joy into bed at night.

I am disgusted and saddened. If you would happen to be in Mpls for Thanksgiving, you have an invite to attend our kid free event.

akeeyu said...

Good God.

I think it's time for a flaming bag of dog crap on someone's porch.

slouching mom said...

!!!!!!!!!!!!!

no words.

except that i'm sorry.

Caro said...

OMG!! If I had the money I would fly you over here to Denmark for thanksgiving. Even though I have no clue what I'm supposed to do being English.

Huge hugs, oh and I agree with contacting the other members of your family and mentioning you won't be there and why.

Betty M said...

I am astonished - she clearly has no idea that it was probably a really big deal even making that call and then to throw it all back in your face. I am furious and very sorry.

Artblog said...

GAWD! If she's going to be like that, stay at home! nothing more to say!!!

HUGS XXXXXX

Amelie said...

I'm so sorry, Niobe. I don't know what to say. I wish I could offer any comfort after this terrible response. She doesn't know you, it seems, nor what you would need.

T said...

I'm absolutely astounded. I can't believe someone would treat someone else that way - never mind their daughter. I'm sorry.

I know I don't know you, but you're more than welcome here in Boston too. We always have lots of treats and alcohol.

thirtysomething said...

What???!!!!!
OMG. I can only say I am sorry, and I do hope you gave her a small piece of your mind. Ok, I must say this one thing.
It becomes more and more apparent to me as I get to 'know' you that you are perhaps the only member of your family that grew up sane and with any morals at all. Geez, these folks are like plastic, unfeeling creatures..pride yourself that you are not like them. Who else BUT plastic, unfeeling imitations of family member WOULDN'T understand how you were feeling emotionally last year at this time??
God, I am just so sorry.
Hey, if you are looking for the fun, loud, happy albeit chaotic, holiday, fly on down!

thrice said...

Do we have the same mother? I'm so sorry. The worst part is that mothers like these don't seem to chill out with time. Take care.

Rachel said...

Well, I was going to invite you to my house, but it looks like several others beat me to it. The invite is open for you and whoever else you want to bring.

I am sorry your mother is this way. Did it ever occur to her that ever since your babies died, you have been uncomfortable every day? Maybe your family could be up with being uncomfortable for a few hours. Besides, the longer they wait to be around you, the more uncomfortable it will be.

The Oneliner (Christina) said...

um, that example of thoughtlessness (is that a word? if not, it should be)is a sign from the universe that you shouldn't go. I also think that you owe yourself an email to your mother that tells her how these comments hurt your feelings and why.

(remember, as you read the following that i fessed up as to being annoying rather than boring)
and suggest that you and the hubs volunteer to feed the hungry on thanksgiving. trust me, it will be a much better use of your time.

Megan said...

In your blog entries you often wonder why you seem to grieve differently than other bereaved mothers, why you're not angry and why you can't talk about your babies.
Could it be that your mother has punished you whenever you've shown any real emotion? When you cried at the party, she accused you of "spoiling it." Now she's excluding you from Thanksgiving because it might be "uncomforable."
You feel - but she's trained you to push those feelings away because they're not "appropriate."
You should be able to howl, ullulate and rent your garments – or do whatever you want – in front of your family without "spoiling" anything.
I'm curious – have you ever seen your mother grieve? What did it look like?

niobe said...

Megan: That's a very interesting question. I don't know that I've ever seen my mother sad about anything.

Instead of being sad, she gets angry. Sometimes, very, very angry. As a child, I came to realize that, no matter how angry I got, I would never be able to be as angry as my mother.

Eva said...

Niobe, still thinking about that grotesque exchange you posted about, and I really think there's something to what Megan just noted. It might be worth exploring. Also, I guess you've noticed, but your readers seem to feel very protective of you. I've been thinking about why, and a) it seems that you need it and aren't getting it, and b) you are trying to protect yourself from this immense pain and loss by being all cerebral, but that doesn't really work. And you are too sweet a spirit and genuine a person to be emotionless. Thus we all want to take you home and coddle you and give you the mothering you need. The only reason I didn't invite you to MY Thanksgiving, besides the fact that I knew you wouldn't and everyone else was inviting you, was because I figure you are too far. But we are all reaching out. Even though you deserve that from your family instead, I hope our doing so makes up for it a little bit.

Patience-please said...

Yup I gasped audibly when I read your mother's words, too.

The best Thanksgiving we ever had was when we first moved far away from our dear friends and family. We were feeling very isolated and lonely. Then we realized there were other people feeling the same way, and for a few weeks before Thanksgiving, we asked neighbors we ran into walking the dogs if they had somewhere to go. We ended up having a "pot luck" Thanksgiving for ten lonely souls, and it was the BEST EVER! No family squabbles or unspoken tensions, yummy food, happy people!

all the best-
Patience

Catherine said...

Good God...what an awful family. You are welcome at our Thanksgiving table anytime.

Rebecca said...

That's un-fucking-believable. You RUINED a child's birthday because you were grieving? Adjglfdsgldjkfbgfdjkl. I tell you, if I was invited to my niece's ghetto birthdays, EVER, I would be beside myself (she was unwanted, she's uncared for, she's left with relatives all the goddamn time - don't get me started), and I have never grieved in the same way as you have.

Seriously. Come to England. It's nice in November.

xxxxx

I know you can hear me... said...

I am, of course, with everyone else when I say - WHAT?!?! I am amazed that someone could actually say that to you with a straight face - and be serious about it no less. Amazing.

I am also glad to know that I am not the only person who has a mother who is less than kind to her - although my mother has NEVER crossed that line...

Elizabeth said...

I was kind of wondering, too, whether your mom knows how to grieve herself. Because she lost two grandchildren, herself, but doesn't seem to recognize that. It seems like she can't handle seeing your grief so she tries to make it go away by reprimanding you or excluding you from family events. Which suggests that she does the same thing with her own grief.

Anyway, just a thought. I still cry when I read this post.

Elizabeth said...

And I think that Eva is right, and I am haunted by the painting of you at age six.

Ruby said...

Niobe, I am very, very sorry and sad that you were treated that way.

As for your mother...out of respect for YOU I will restrain myself from commenting.

missing_one said...

You're mom's a shrink right?
Niobe this explains so much to me right now. Because everyone else's feelings should not take equal weight, really, because you are part of the family.
I wonder sometimes if she is trying to get you to "get over it"(your grief) or something by the way she is basically showing no sympathy for your predicament, and making this all about you. When it is not. It is about family, and mothers and daughters, etc.
I have no advice, sadly, but it is no wonder you keep people at arm's length..if this is indeed what you get in return.

marta said...

Deep sight... ok, I'll propose an alternate take, probably not very popular (and maybe not very smart). You do care about your half-siblings and your brother, isn't it? why don't you try to talk to them about thanksgiving? bypass your mother and her controlling urges, and look for some bonding with your siblings. Maybe they wouldn't be uncomfortable at all with your attendance, and everything would work out at the end. It's worth a try.

I dunno, for me it would be hard to let it go of the family (me coming from a heavily family-based culture and all that).

Good luck

Manda said...

Boo Mom.
Why is it that the ones who MADE us and brought us into the world are the ones that hurt us the most?
My mom has said some awful things to me to, but yours takes the cake with this one.
Hope that whatever happens, you have a great Thanksgiving this year. You deserve it.

wannabe mom said...

i am so sorry niobe. it makes me sad. i completely understand why you wouldn't want to see your stepbrothers' children, i feel the same way about friends (and some family) who have had babies in the last 12 months. i don't know when i'll be tolerant of seeing them, maybe when the kids are in high school.

tipsymarie said...

I am amazed at your ability to look at this situation objectively . . . "she's just always found it more difficult to relate to me than to her other children or stepchildren".
She doesn't really deserve such a forgiving attitude.

msfitzita said...

I'm speechless. I know that it's hard for people to truly understand the kind of agony we know when they haven't experienced it, but I'm still just astounded when people are as unable as your Mother seems to be to sympathize even the tiniest little bit.

I nearly burst into tears at my Mother-in-law's Thanksgiving table a month ago (I'm Canadian) because my Nephew, who is just 9 months older than Thomas would be, was so cute. And I missed Thomas so much.

It's still raw after two and a half years. Still THAT raw.

I hate that your family seems unwilling to give you the time YOU need to grieve. It's not about their comfort or discomfort, it's about YOU. It just is.

It sounds selfish, but it's not. This was your loss - your heart and soul. Your flesh and blood. It's about your pain and your need to heal, not theirs.

God, I don't understand people. I just don't.

You are welcome here too. I made Thanksgiving for my side of the family the day before the dinner at my in-laws and it was fabulous (if I do say so myself). Say the word and I'll do it again for you and yours. I'm always up for turkey.

I'm so sorry Niobe. I really am.

kate said...

Sorry i am late to respond...You are welcome here too. And don't worry, *my* mother will not be here. So it has the potential to be a decent holiday.

I am so sorry it is like this. I really think Megan & Eva have a point. I am completely clueless as to how excusing yourself to cry could be considered 'spoiling' a child's party? And you know, you say 'my mother is really not a bad or uncaring person' and those words sound very familiar to me. I am always saying that (to self, to dh) whenever my mother says or does something particularly painful or unpleasant. I wonder why?