to reach out or be reached out to?

This year for the first time I really made no effort to get together with my mother for the holiday.  We met early in December and she gave me several packages for Christmas for the kids living here in Wisconsin and for me.  There was nothing for my husband, unsurprising as after finding out my mother’s true feelings for him, he told her not to waste her time or money on meaningless gifts.  Although I am not working this holiday season, I did not offer to come spend time with her nor did she ask me to come.

I have several small items for my mother and a token gift for her husband. Although I have had them for a while (in fact, two items I intended to send as birthday gifts late in the summer), in my lack of planning and poor holiday preparation, I have not yet mailed them.  One item is rather fragile; I determined on Christmas Day that I really need to get it to her in person somehow.

My mother often complained about her mother’s imperious attitude.  Grandmother insisted that her friends all come to her, rather than the other way around.  Mom said it was because her mother was the spoiled only child of a well-to-do family.  For all her protestations otherwise, my mother was also a spoiled child of a well-to-do family, although she has an older sister.  Her father was the vice president of a major local company and her mother was very active in local society.  My mother is a “big fish” in her little world. They are quite well off but are known all over town as cheapskates.  They once received an anonymous letter calling them out for their penny-pinching ways–with all their money, they never buy a cocktail while dining out and never buy a drink for a friend.  Yet Mom is president of this society, secretary of that one, and was, until recently, active in local government as well, while her husband is president of their club and their homeowners association.

I tell you all of this as background for some of my recent decisions.  With all of my children here for Christmas and a full slate of activities with them and with my father, I was really very busy the past two weeks.  My mother has my phone number and two of my email addresses.  She emailed me a few times after we met to ask about the gifts she had sent for St Nicholas Day and I briefly responded, but winding up my old job (in retail) and getting ready for the holidays, I really wasn’t on email much.  All that said, given the busy-ness of my life, I didn’t call or write to her over the holiday week.  That said, I am also kind of tired of being the only one who calls (unless she calls when drunk) so frankly, I decided not to reach out.  I waited to see if she would call me.  The answer was no.

But yesterday she had the audacity to send me an email telling me she is tired of trying to make up for everything she did wrong and wishing that I “Have a nice life”.  I decided to play it cool and expressed puzzlement over her message and she followed up with another message of the same ilk.  She also stated she was tired of trying to make up for “whatever” she had done wrong last Christmas.  WTF???

My response? I reminded her that she could contact me, I reminded her of her complaining about HER mother and I reminded her that what she did wrong had nothing to do with last Christmas–it was her walking out of my daughter’s wedding like a petulant child when not given the microphone to offer a toast.  I haven’t heard anything back yet, but I imagine this has gone over like a fart in church.  And that’s fine with me.

You see, the thing is that no matter how hard I wish her to be different, some things about my mother will never change.  She will never acknowledge all of the OTHER horrible things that happened since 1975, she will always insist that I was the problem, that I was the bad one, that her husband was innocent.  She will always be in the right and in any situation like this, she will be the one that is wronged and I the one that is wrong. The good news is that I am fine with that. I know what is true, I know what is right, and I know I am no longer prepared to kiss anyone’s ass, least of all hers.

This year I will continue my journey of self-awareness and self-love.  I have adopted a strategy a good friend and social media guru suggested and am using three words to guide me in 2015–create, commit, complete.  This means I will create a world of love and comfort for myself and my family, I will commit to being a friend to myself and my family and I will complete the things I have been putting off for a while, including regular updates on this blog.  But most of all, I will not succumb to the games that my mother plays.  This time the game board is mine, as are all the pieces, and I have made the rules. Now I will win!


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