Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Very Ugly Post-Birth Saga, Episode 1

Yes, I know, I haven't updated for ages. Quick Bee update: he's started walking! Well, he started about a month ago, one step on a Monday, then another on the following Monday... I started thinking at this pace, he'll be running by kindergarten! I guess I thought he'd be walking by his 1st birthday, even though I KNOW children all develop at their own paces. So in his 14th month, he's gotten the hang of it and is now walking. He still crawls, too but he's walking more every day. He's doing a great job and we're so proud of him :)

He says Dada, Mama, Mimi (we have no idea who or what Mimi is, but we're on the lookout...), cat, there, bye, yes, and I swear he said baboon in reference to a balloon, but he hasn't repeated that. He loves playing peek-a-boo, hiding his face and then peering out from behind the hiding object (pillow, wall, blanket, my leg) with a huge grin. His napping is a little sporadic, but he's sleeping great at night. We love him oodles and still can't believe he's here and healthy. So, our little family of three is thrilled about our domestic bliss. Yay us!

I've had so much stuff brewing in my head for more than a year... Issues with my mother, and Manuela's latest posts have really brought it to the front of my mind. This is a big thing I've wondered about how, precisely to address it; I'm just going to plunge in. This chapter starts after the Bee was born...

Four days after the Bee's arrival, my mother called to tell me she was coming with her cousin to visit me and the baby on Saturday. This was after my first night home with the wee one and I was so exhausted and overwhelmed, I couldn't form a coherent thought. I was panicked because I didn't know what to do to get Bee to stop crying. I told my mom that I'd love to see her, but I was exhausted and wigging out, and could they come next weekend instead? She sounded very put out and said she didn't know if she could make it next weekend; her cousin's husband would be away this weekend and they could come then. Then she said that she only wanted to peek at the baby for 5 minutes, drop off some gifts and leave. Ummm... okay, so you don't really want to visit with me, or see how I'm doing, you just want to see your grandson, say you've seen your grandson and skedaddle? Gee, I'm touched! I asked her again to come another weekend, I was tired and overwhelmed and trying to figure everything out. She got all huffy and said she'd see and hung up. You might not have noticed, but my mom isn't the one to turn to for sympathy (or empathy).

Thankfully my aunt & cousin were arriving that same day to help, so I was eternally grateful to get some assistance. Plus, they would be there for five days. I was so happy once they arrived I cried. They did everything - cooked, cleaned, help me take care of the baby, helped me take care of myself - it was a priceless gift.

Six days after Bee's arrival, the phone rang early in the morning. I didn't answer it (duh! I was exhausted, and Mr. R was sleeping, too). My aunt who was sleeping in the living room with my cousin heard the message: my mother's cousin, the one who was going to drive her (we live about 2.5 hours apart), called to admonish me for treating my mother so rudely, telling me I owed her an apology and said, "Well, I don't know what we're going to do with the gifts now."

My aunt was livid. My husband was livid. I was stunned and hurt. They both told me not to call anyone back. I recognized the tactic; my brother had called for years chastising me over some perceived insult my mother would cry about. My mom is fantastic with triangulation. Since my brother had such a difficult time talking, I felt immediate dread: NOW who's going to call defending my mother?! I didn't call my mother back, or her cousin, by her cousin sent an e-mail to our company's website, which was received by my husband. It was horrible. It was scathing, insulting, rude, insensitive... I was shocked. Mr. R was ... livid is just too mild a term. I was debating on whether or not to post this... I think I will. This is the actual e-mail my mother's cousin (we'll call her N) sent (names have been changed to protect the identity of those involved):

… if you are receiving your messages… or if someone is screening them or what the story is out there in [your town].

I just need to make sure you all know how your decision not to allow [Anna's mother] to visit her daughter and first grandchild has left her devastated. Frankly, I think it’s inconceivable.

[My daughter] has just delivered her third Caesarian birth, so I know from what I speak. I offered to bring [Anna's mother] this Saturday because it was convenient for me. I am not at her beckon call, nor at Anna's whim. We weren’t interested in being entertained by any of you; our intention was to make the drive, stop for lunch somewhere, see the baby and new mother and father, and drive home. It wasn’t going to be an imposition on anyone, least of all Anna.

I feel sorry for all of you. Once again, your inconsideration, thoughtlessness and insensitivity have won out over clear thinking and decency. Too bad; any good that could have come from the fences you mended regarding your equally ill-planned wedding in [Small Country across the Atlantic] have been all but forgotten. Someday you’ll know it’s really your loss.
Sincerely, N"

Just as a note, I have been compared to N's daughter nearly my entire life (I'm 2 years older). So much so that until a few years ago, I used to preface my thoughts, actions, purchases with "Would she do this? Would she buy that?" etc. Late in life I stopped and thought "Who the fuck is SHE?! And why do I keep comparing myself to her! STOP IT!!!" I've finally stopped it.

After a little time but during the same day, Mr. R drafted his response and e-mailed it to both of them:

N & [Anna's Mother] -

I am receiving all of the messages, and I am not giving them to Anna. Having gone through the c-section and taking care of Bee has been trauma enough.

Anna's "decision not to ALLOW [Anna's Mother] to visit her daughter" is simply not the case. We have people here catering to her every whim (and Bee's), The house is being renovated and I have a business to run - sans Anna in her regular duties. We simply felt that this weekend was inconvenient for us, due to the company staying here and the mess around the house. Anna ASKED her mother to come up at a more convenient time. She was not ORDERED TO STAY AWAY. That is simply ludicrous and untrue. Obviously, miscommunication along the grapevine has occurred again, which is regrettable. By no means do we want [Anna's Mother] to stay away. For what reason would we want that?

Now - it seems to me this is an issue of convenience... but for whom?

Anna very much wanted to spend some quality time with her mother, AT LENGTH. Not for five minutes. It was important to her.

Now, If [Anna's Mother] takes it as an affront or a rejection, that simply was not the case. Neither I nor Anna have control over how [Anna's Mother] reacts to situations. Only [Anna's Mother] does. So, I would like to tell [Anna's Mother] directly that it was not our intention to insult you. But you must understand that right now, you are making it more inconvenient for Anna than she is making it inconvenient for you. We were not of the impression that you need to be "entertained". By no means. We simply wish a longer visit.

Now, it seems to me that no consideration is made towards Anna's schedule, but we have to bend over backwards to make sure everyone else is accommodated. Can there be no wiggle room? Can there be no compromise on your part? MUST IT BE YOUR WAY OR NO WAY AT ALL? That's the way it seems to me.

So, [Anna's Mother] let me be the first one to say that your daughter is my sunrise and sunset and I AM VERY OVERPROTECTIVE OF HER. She loves you and wants a wonderful Mother and Daughter relationship. I think that you, as the elder, should be a little more flexible and think before you react. By sicking N on us, you have may have poured gas on a fire of your own making. I WILL NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES ALLOW THIS TO CONTINUE. I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR FROM N AGAIN. EVER. If you have a problem CONTACT ME DIRECT. I love both you and [Anna's brother] as my family and wish us to work out our differences. LEAVE N OUT OF THE LOOP.

Now, I am very busy this weekend trying to support your Daughter and your Grandson, so I'm going to leave it at that. I will call you on Monday when you have had a chance to reflect. If you wish to work out everything, I love and respect you and will be more than willing to diffuse any anger you have towards this unfortunate ridiculousness.

Now, N -

As far as the wedding in [Small Country across the Atlantic] was concerned, do you really think it was about the location? She had no problem going to [Anna's Brother's] wedding in [Desert Casino City], which was essentially the same flight distance as our wedding. We went out of our way to find a place that had a wonderful spot to get married and would be handicap accessible for [Anna's Mother], with a wonderful room, servants, the whole nine yards. Why on earth wouldn't we want her to be at her daughter's wedding? N wanted her desperately to be there. But [Anna's Mother] CHOSE not to go, not because of the distance...


So, in effect, [Anna's Mother] made Anna CHOOSE between her parents.

Need I remind you of the Biblical tale of two women came before King Solomon with two little babies, one dead and the other living. Each of the two women claimed the living child as her own, and said that the dead child belonged to the other woman. One of the women said, "O my lord, we two women were sleeping with our children in one bed. And this woman in her sleep lay upon her child, and it died. Then she placed her dead child beside me while I was asleep, and took my child. In the morning I saw that it was not my child; but she says it is mine, and the living child is hers. Now, O king, command this woman to give me my own child." Then the other woman said, "That is not true. The dead baby is her own, and the living one is mine, which she is trying to take from me."

The young king listened to both women. Then he said, "Bring me a sword."

They brought a sword, and then Solomon said, "Take this sword, and cut the living child in two, and give half of it to each one." Then one of the women cried out, and said, "O my lord, do not kill my child! Let the other woman have it, but let the child live!" But the other woman said, "No, cut the child in two, and divide it between us!" Then Solomon said, "Give the living child to the woman who would not have it slain, for she is its mother."

That was the way I saw the wedding in [Small Country across the Atlantic]. So, for you to call it "ill-planned" just shows to me your contemptible ignorance.

So, the drive up here had to be convenient for you? FOR YOU? You don't give a damn about Anna, all you care about is whether [Anna's Mother] is upset or not.

Having made your way in the world, amassing a successful business, three beautiful children and a wonderful marriage, I would think you would have more of a brain to know that there are two sides to every story. If there was any more smug scolding pouring from your email I think I could have put it in a can and sold it. I am not one of your employees and I am not one of your children. Do your condescending self a favor and stay out of other people's business. You just burned your bridge with me."

Ugh, I feel icky all over just reading this crap, but no one has ever stuck up for me or defended me the way Mr. Right has. (Well, I'm sure my dad would, but I don't think anyone ever attacked me in front of him before). That's all the vitriol I'm going to get into today, but I'll continue again tomorrow or so with N's reply... and Mr. R's response to that reply.

Thank you for reading.


At 5/29/2007 6:09 PM, Anonymous Leggy said...

OMG your husband is awesome. As for the rest of your family, well, I'm sorry you have to put up with this crap. Why is so hard for people to remember how hard it is to have a newborn in the house and that you need visitors who will come when its convenient for you? Anyway, I'm hoping the story gets resolved in a good way, but it doesn't sound like it. And if N can't drive your mom, hasn't your mom ever heard of taking the train?

At 5/29/2007 6:45 PM, Blogger Anna said...

Oooooog, one important note: My mom is in a wheelchair. She can drive with someone, or get someone to drive with her, but she's uncomfortable driving herself for 2.5 hours. I don't blame her for that.

At 5/29/2007 7:48 PM, Blogger Manuela said...

NO, no, no... you can't leave us hanging!!! What the hell happened NEXT?!

Your husband??? AMAZING. LIke you, I've never had anyone stand up for me in the face of my parents... so I applaud him and send him a big huge hug.

As for your mother??? AGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH! I want to THROTTLE HER!! If not only because she sounds like a close iteration of my own mother.

I want to ask you the same types of things people have asked me. Why do you want this toxic energy in your life?? ARe you sure you want your son exposed to the influence of this woman?? Because as he gets older, he WILL see the dynamic, and I'm sure you don't want him to believe that it's ok to treat people like that!

I hope you realize of course, my words are coming from wanting to PROTECT you, not to give you heck!
I'm just so MAD at her!!!

At 5/30/2007 12:53 AM, Anonymous luolin said...

I'm so sorry you've had to deal with this. I'm stressing out over when my MIL and FIL might want to visit, even though I like them a lot and they are not being pushy about it at all. So much harder when somebody is so easily offended.

At 5/30/2007 5:59 AM, Blogger Thalia said...

as everyone has said, thank goodness for your awesome husband. So sorry you have this never ending drama to deal with.

I saw your comment at manuela's yesterday and wasn't surprised to see it had brought up a lot of stuff for you. I'm glad you are getting it out there.

At 5/30/2007 1:26 PM, Blogger Anna said...

Manuela, I'm going to address your questions in my next post (Episode 3 - it's like a Star Wars trilogy in here!). And they're all questions my therapist has brought up, too. And I know you're not giving me heck! Believe me, sweetie, I know. Thank you.

Leggy, Luo Lin, Thalia.... Thank you all for your kind words. It means a great deal to me.


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