My mom and dad are the coolest.
They’re supportive, helpful and kind. They have a beautiful marriage and they truly love my children and me. My husband has a very strained relationship with his family and my parents have warmly welcomed him into the fold with us.
We seem to have different definitions of what the role of “grandparent” is supposed to look like.
Please let me know that I am not alone on this. I need to hear from some voices who understand.
Today, my 6-year old son, told me he was “too sick” to go to school and that he was “going to throw up.” Now, I am not going to call him a lying shithead, but I will say that these two statements he said to me are not true. Draw what conclusions you will.
When I left for work, he was sitting on the couch reading Minecraft books. READING. Awesome. You go, kid.
At this point, my husband is preparing to start his day. He was upstairs in our room, still in bed because he had rearranged his work appointments this morning to take my son to school — for his last day of 1st grade. There were likely going to be pictures and a special breakfast and generalized merriment.
Knowing that my husband was unlikely to respond in the desired way to the claims of illness, my son picked up the house phone (OMG — yes, we still have one of those) and called my mother, crying. He told her he was sick and was scared of throwing up and he couldn’t go to school.
Now, we all know rule #1 is “don’t play mom against dad.” If mom says, “no,” then that is the answer. If dad says, “no,” don’t go ask mom. Don’t you good-cop-bad-cop us.
But, perhaps we were unclear about whether it was okay to ask “Nana” for something when mom didn’t give you the answer you wanted and dad was not likely to tell you what you wanted to hear.
So, now, here is where things get interesting: after asking where “Daddy” is to my son, my mother asked whether the “patient” would like her to come to our house to comfort him.
Of course the kid said, “yes.”
And this is all happening without my husband or me knowing about it. And, now my mom is on her way – at 6:30 in the morning on a Wednesday – to my house.
The little guy creeps into my bedroom where he sheepishly tells his father that he “accidentally” called his grandmother to tell her he was sick. Daddy responded to tell him that he is not sick and that he should go back to reading. He also should not bother his grandparents with these stories. If there is a problem, Mommy or Daddy will solve it. It’s our job.
Then, my mother walks into my house to console the now weeping child I’ve birthed. She sees a pained, ill child whose parents are – I don’t know – ignoring him/not loving him enough/not caring for his illness/not listening to his desperate pleas for help and affection. I can’t really be sure what was going on at this point. Allegedly, my mother told my son twice to go tell his daddy that he was sick, but the little man said that he couldn’t because his father was sleeping. In the argument that resulted on the phone later with my mother, she threw in something to the effect that she wasn’t sure if my husband was passed out or had fallen and couldn’t get up or there was other trouble. If that were true, I can’t speak to why she never attempted to contact him directly, though.
And, now my husband is seething. He figured that the kid’s confession of his “accidental” phone call would be soon followed with a phone call from one of my parents saying, “hey, this is weird. Little Guy just called us crying that he was sick. What’s up? Do you need help? Everything ok?”
But, instead of that, our take on this overly dramatic response is that we must be such fucking horrible parents that immediate intervention was needed.
And that’s not all…
After a bit of time cradling a weeping
liar kid, my mother gathers BOTH of my boys up, tells them to get their shoes on and yells up the steps, “I’m taking the kids.”
Then the door shuts behind them.
Neither of the boys was sent up to kiss their father “goodbye.” An attempt was never made to inquire as to whether my husband was in need of help. I was never called to be told that my children were being removed from my home by someone other than their father in whose charge they were left.
Shit just got serious.
And, after a lengthy phone conversation, my mother is mad at me for “not appreciating” her “help” and making her “always” feel as though she “can’t do anything right,” something she says she is, “frankly, sick of.”
In almost 40 years on this planet, I have never hung up on my mother. But, I did today.
Now, you do not have to support me. Maybe I am an asshole. I probably am for other reasons, anyway.
But, if you were in this situation, how would you react? How would you feel? How would you have wanted this to be handled? And, what in the hell do I do now?