I was 9 months pregnant and we were looking at daycares for Audrey, my two year old daughter. This all stemmed from Tonnie and Allen telling me that it was a little too much for them to watch Audrey anymore at the flower shop. They said she needed to be able to get outside and play with friends more. I agreed. Mike wouldn't look into this so I had to do it initially by myself. Of course, Tonnie didn't want to admit that she couldn't do this anymore. She wanted to be Super-Grandma so even the thought of this got her all worked up. (I can't win with her on anything! She says one thing and then another.)
After I checked one place out, Mike came to take a look at this daycare and immediately put the nix on it. I don’t blame him. It smelled like a humane society. I think they used the potpourri on the carpets when they vacuum. This daycare was in a church. Not our church though. I was hoping to get her into our church but it was all full. So after seeing that place he finally got involved as if he didn’t trust me to find a good daycare anymore. But I found out from our pediatrician and from my sister-in-law's friend (who has an exercise program that she does at all the daycares) that they recommended Kadlec Child Care Center. This was the most expensive place. We checked it out and I fell in love with it. Very warm, loving, fun, and great learning atmosphere. I got everyone together at the interview with the director. I mean Tonnie, Allen, Mike, and myself were all there. Now, both Mike and Tonnie had attitudes that really bothered me. Allen couldn't hear the lady and didn't bother to say that he couldn't hear her because she was very soft-spoken. So basically, I was the only there that cared. Funny how Tonnie and Allen are the ones complaining and then they acted like I was ripping the rug out from under them. (Can you tell that I still harbor some feelings?)
Well, the time came that Audrey started “school”. She had separation anxiety really bad. I ended up taking off work so that I could stay with her at the daycare. I would lie down next to her on the hard floor at naptime so that she would feel comfortable. The teachers would go around and pat the kids backs to get them to sleep. One teacher came up to Audrey (because they wanted it to be as if I wasn't there) and she rubbed Audrey's hair and temples. Audrey sucked her thumb and looked at me like "MOM!? Who is this stranger? What are you doing to me?" The next day I came during my lunch and did the same thing during her naptime and would lie down with her on the floor. Granted this was not a fun time for me when I'm ready to burst with baby number two!
Now I can understand to an extent what Mike and Tonnie are going through. They don't want to see Audrey sad and going through a tough time adjusting (neither do I!). What gets my goat is that they wanted something to be done about it and yet didn't want to go through the trouble. So I'm the one made out to be the bad guy for getting this taken care of.
Tensions are high for a good long week. It took Audrey exactly one week and then she was fine. She actually loves school now and sometimes asks to go in the middle of the night. Mike was unbearable at home. Nothing I said or did made it any better. One evening, Mike was telling me how horrible this all was so naturally we argued. What did he want me to do? I have no idea. He didn't want to hear anything that I had to say. I was getting to the end of my rope dealing with everyone. I told Mike that I was tired of his Mom saying things to me and I was going to tell her how I feel. He gets even more upset with me. So I decide that I was going to list things out and get this all squared away in my head before I talk to her. I ended up scratching the whole idea of saying anything to her and was just going to call her and tell her that I was going to take Audrey to school the next morning so she didn’t have to.
It was late (after 8pm) and Mike went over to his mother's house for band practice. I called her and told her that I would take Audrey to school. The next thing I know she's yelling at me on the phone. I mean going ballistic and screaming at me, telling me I'm a bad mom and that I said that she was a bad grandma. Literally. I didn't say anything. I was going in shock. The first thing that came to my mind was that Mike said something to her when he got over there. I didn't yell at her or anything. I calmly told her that I never said she was a bad grandma and never even thought that. (I have no idea where she got that idea) I have always told her and everyone how grateful I was for her being such a great grandma and being so close to the kids.
After at least 15 minutes of her hysterical antics, I got fed up. So I said "since we're getting into this, I have something to say." I told her I didn't appreciate a time when she was holding Audrey in her lap feeding her whole grapes (at the time I was cutting the grapes in half) and letting her flip backwards upside down, I mentioned to her "please don't do that, she could choke." Tonnie said to Audrey in a joking manner "what mommy don't know when mommy's not here won't hurt her". That made me mad but I didn't react. So I told her that even though she was joking, I thought she was teaching Audrey to not respect me. She said that if I couldn't get Audrey to respect me then that was my problem. Later on, when I mentioned this to my counselor he said "it's one thing to say what mommy don't know won't hurt her but another thing to say it to your face" that was Tonnie's way of being controlling and almost daring me to confront her. As if we had a battle of who's got the authority overall.
OK. I'm getting upset right now. This is still very raw and it's been 7 months ago. You'd think that I'd get over this...I need to take a break.
After I get off the phone with Tonnie, Mike comes home around 11 or 12 pm. He was obviously upset and didn't talk to me right away. Then he lays in on me. He tells me how rude I am to his family and he's sick of it. He's telling me all this stuff about how bad I am and never once asked me my side of the conversation with his mom. He heard his mom on the phone because he was at her house but he didn't hear a word that I said on the phone. He automatically assumed that I was rude and hateful to his mom. So I'm crying my eyes out and at this point I felt spiritually beaten to death. And quite frankly, I wanted to die.
Up to this point in my pregnancy I have been very depressed and moody. It was the total opposite with Audrey’s pregnancy. I was on cloud nine with her. It must have been the added hormones. Then to have Mike side with his mom - that killed me. I thought they would be better off without me if they felt this way about me.
Mike and I ended up going to a counselor and up until a couple months ago we were going once a week and then once every other week. It helped a lot. Mike heard from the doctor that his mother is controlling and some other stuff. Unfortunately, we've stopped going. With my schedule now and watching the kids we don't have the time to go to the counselor. We may pick it back up if we need to.
I have a lot of issues with his mom and I don't want to talk to her if I can help it. Because there is no talking to her! She doesn't listen, she takes everything so personally and literally (when it has nothing to do with her), she's a nosey busy-body who fishes for answers...I could go on and on. I know that I'm no angel either, but I'm working on it. There's no telling her anything because she won't change- she does no wrong (just like her boys).
That's just the tip of the iceburg. Sad thing is, when I was sitting in my bed getting told how horrible I was, I didn't think to call anybody. My whole family lives 2000 miles away. All of Mike's family is here in our town. It makes for a lonely time. When I told my Mom a month later she was scolding me for not calling her earlier or even that night. I didn't even think to call my friend, Lynn, who lives near me. That was stupid.
About a week ago (7 months later) Tonnie came to pick up the kids in the morning so I could get some sleep since I’m on nightshift. She apologized for saying I was a bad mom and said she didn’t remember or realize that she said that on the phone when we had our argument. She told me I was a good mom - just look at the children and how great they are. She said that her mother had to work from 6 am to 6pm every day and even though she may have raised her differently than how she would have raised her own kids that was ok, everyone raises their children differently. What was good then is not good now with the changing times. She said she did remember saying something else that she wanted to apologize for and that was saying how often Audrey was sick and how she thought it was from her going to daycare. She knows that kids get sick and it didn’t matter where they went.
That amazed me that she said she was sorry for that. Because for one, I didn’t think she was that astute about the comments she makes to me. That’s ridiculous of me because she is very smart when it comes to saying something to get a point across. I’ve always said she was the type to rip someone a new ass hole while smiling at you. Anyways, I felt like she blamed me for the fact that Audrey was going to daycare in the first place (so I guess she really was and that’s why she felt compelled to apologize for commenting on how often Audrey gets sick). She did tell me that she was hurt that Audrey was going to school and that’s why she said those things. But she made it clear that I was a good mom and that it must be hard for me to leave my kids to go to work and she understands that. She said she knew of mothers who left their children in her (day)care when they didn’t have to simply because they didn’t want to bother with watching their own kids. That bothered her. I immediately thought to myself “is she commenting on this to make the point that maybe I didn’t want to watch my own children?” I put Audrey in daycare when I was on FMLA from work right after I had Cameron. I could have watched her and Cameron together, but it was hard for me. After trying to deliver Cameron vaginally for 5 hours they ended up having to do an emergency c-section. I was recuperating. I would like to say for the record, since I did have one child before vaginally, that having to heal from both aspects is very difficult. I also put her in daycare to get her accustomed to it since she would have to go when I went back to work anyways.
Well, the floodgates were opened and I couldn’t stop crying. Audrey came up to me, looked at me seriously, and asked me if I was crying then she kept poking me in the eye. Funny. I was holding Cameron in my lap, bouncing him on my knee. I didn’t say much. I wanted to tell her how I thought she didn’t think I was good enough for her son. But I knew that would be bad.
She also said that I was a good mom because I believed in Jesus. She said that I got Mike into believing. That it was my doing. I really didn’t give myself any credit for that. I thought that was all Mike, but she didn’t think so. She said that it was because of me and she thanked me for that.
For the first time in a long time, I felt ok around her (but it didn’t last long). I haven’t been comfortable around her even before we had that argument. She also stated how hurt (concerned, worried, curious – can’t remember exact words) she was that we haven’t let her watch the kids that much recently. She told me, even though Allen may be physically ailing that she was still able and wanting to watch the kids as much as she can. She said that’s why she moved out here. I wondered at that point how much Mike had said to her. She did mention right away in the conversation that Mike spoke with her that morning and that’s why she was talking to me. She said she noticed that we weren’t bringing the kids around much and it hurt her feelings (I think that’s the description she used). Again I didn’t say much.
I ended up drinking two glasses of wine after she left before I went back to sleep. Mike came home and woke me up at 4:30pm. I jumped out of bed thinking I would be late for work. He asked me where the kids were and I freaked out. I looked at him and said “oh my God, where are the kids?” I forgot for a moment that Tonnie picked them up. Scared the shit out of me!
Even though I feel a lot better I’m still leery of Tonnie. I mean, she’s volatile and I can’t predict what or when she’ll go off on me. Even if she is menopausal, that’s no excuse for the way she treated me. Long before she ever apologized to me, actually just a few days after the fight I called her to say I’m sorry. She told me that that’s what families do. They fight and get over it. She asked me “Didn’t your mother ever yell at you when you were growing up.” I never got a word in to tell her “no, my mother never yelled at me the way that you did”. I wish I did say it just to be spiteful and let her know that my mother is better than her in that way.
I believe she will still take things personally and misinterpret what I say. There’s a lesson in all of this. A few. I don’t want to be like her when I get older. I don’t want to treat my in-laws or children the way she does in that regard. She is a great grandma and loves the children very much, but if I’m a lot like her which Mike seems to think so then this may be difficult to do. Also, I have to watch everything I say to her. I’ve been working on that ever since the argument. I think twice before I say something but even when I turn things around in my head and decide that I need to speak about something she still takes it the wrong way. It’s hard for me to trust her especially since I know how she talks about my sister-in-law behind her back. I know she will still talk about me in a nasty way in the future.
I’ve really noticed how snobbish Mike and Tonnie are. Tonnie is when it comes to her sons (referring to the comment I made earlier that they can do no wrong). I’ve seen it in the way she reacts to her sister, Tommy, too. She complains about Tommy and rolls her eyes when she’s around her, but funny how she doesn’t notice that she acts the same way as her sister. Mike is snobbish when it comes to having material things or making food. Material things have to be top of the line. Which gets very costly. The food cannot be simple. He’ll turn his nose to it. Can’t have just plain steamed vegetables, he’s got to concoct some special sauce. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great cook and I thank God for the fact that he does it all the time. But come on, jarred spaghetti sauce is just as good as homemade. But I digress.
I do love my husband even with all his faults. By no means am I without flaws. However, that doesn’t mean I have to like some of the things he will do. Or his mother for that matter. She may be a very loving, affectionate grandma but she has a dark side too.
Sometimes I wonder if Mike thinks that I do or say things out of malice. I don’t intentionally go out of my way to be rude to people. He doesn’t like the look on my face he says. He thinks I’m negative all the time. In the past, this was so. But in the last four years I haven’t been that bad. I may be just going about my day thinking about stuff to do and he thinks I’m miserable. I’m not. Is it cruel fate that I have a crinkle between my brows (that which I call my worry frown). My mother has it too. Some of it comes from squinting in the sunlight.
When I first met Mike I was going through the worst time in my life. A friend of mine committed suicide on Halloween. I never had a connection with anybody like I did with Larry. We were truly intimate spiritually. He was much older than me and naturally everyone thought that we were screwing around but we weren’t. I had to deal with sneers and looks at the funeral. His father looked at me like I was some sort of slut. But I never had sex with Larry.
Mike and I met at work right after this happened and I poured my soul out to him. I told him everything. How Larry left me his beneficiary. How his mother sent me a letter to tell me "not to worry they were going to pay for the funeral”. Except he was a vet so his funeral was already paid. After what Larry told me about his parents I really didn’t trust them. He said that his father would beat him and kick him while he was on the floor. His mother just stood by and watched.
It took me a long time to heal from this. It still hurts. I miss him so much.
Mike and I married a year later. For years, I tried to deal with this on my own. I didn’t see a counselor or anything. Four years ago I realized that I couldn’t do it on my own. I sought help.
Mike still complains that he has had to deal with my depression for years. Now it seems the tables are turned. I see him being miserable with his job and hating it so much that it consumes him sometimes. He thinks I’m still negative but I think it’s him. I told him this recently. He was a little receptive to it.
Being a scorpio, once you hurt me it will take a lot for me to trust you again. The good thing is Mike and I talk a lot. We strive to resolve our issues and usually we end up peaceful, loving, and understanding each other better. We don’t go to bed angry and he can’t work if we left each other on bad terms.
Through it all, I’ve noticed that his umbilical cord is still connected to his mother. He likes to deny it, but it’s there. He’s trying to be the head of the house. But what am I to do? I can’t do anything. I just wish I could learn to keep my mouth shut sometimes.