I said I was going to turn this into a series so I could get all this gunk off my chest. Here’s some more of my story …
Family. One word but it sums up a lot. I love them but there have been times when I wish they weren’t mine, or maybe it’s just that I wish some things about them weren’t true. Because I don’t think it’s my place to air their dirty laundry without their approval I can’t tell you the exact details but I can tell you some things and you’ll get the idea.
There is a series of problems in my family. The problems revolve around one member of the family. This has been going on for almost 15 years. But the truth is that I’ve grown tired of the drama. I feel bad for the person in some ways and in others I’m just embarrassed and annoyed. I’m also tired of the fact that the drama seems to take over the rest of the family. There are times when I feel like the world revolves around this one person and I want to get off the merry go round. I’m tired of trying to be the peacemaker, the voice of reason, the confidante, the secret keeper, etc. No matter how much I say I don’t want to know what’s going on someone in the family always feels compelled to let me know and nine times out of ten I end up in an argument. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m just cold and uncaring. Maybe I’m way more judgemental than I think. I’m having trouble being sympathetic lately. I’ve had enough.
It’s a terrible feeling to love people and to feel anger and embarrassment toward them. It leaves me feeling like a horrible person and I feel guilty all the time about it. I want to be able to visit my family without dreading what events may happen during that visit. I hate the constant worrying that comes with all this drama. It’s even caused a few disagreements between Big and me.
Then their is a second drama that is unfolding in the family unrelated to the other drama. It’s the inevitable aging of my grandmother. She’s 88 years old. God love her, she’s pretty healthy. But she’s slowing down and she’s deaf as a doorknob. She’s the last of my grandparents still alive. This woman has always been independent, hardworking, stubborn, opinionated and a fighter. She does not want anyone to tell her what to do. She’s always been good to me. I love her and I wish I had more of her hardworking, independent, fighter personality in me. But here’s the thing -she’s been driving my mother crazy.
This wonderful grandmother of mine, who can’t hear you if you stand right next to her and scream at her, can somehow hear every whisper and movement that the neighbors in the rowhome next to hers utter. Or so she says. The problems with the neighbors started off innocently enough. She lives next door to white trash. They are well known by the police in their city. She had some problems with them in the past. There have been complaints filed and court appearances. But now Grandmom is taking things to the unrealistic extreme. She swears they are playing loud music, yelling at her through the walls, pounding on the walls, and just making noise to annoy her at all hours of the day and night. There have been times when we’ve all been in her house and she will ask us if we hear them and we all swear we hear nothing. She tells us we’re crazy. Uh, huh, seven people in a room and only one hears the voices but the other six are crazy. Do you see something wrong with this?
My mom is going nuts dealing with my grandmom. In an effort to help my grandmother get sleep because “the neighbors won’t let her sleep” my mother now sleeps on a blow up bed every night while my grandmother sleeps in my mother’s bed. My mom has begged her mother to sell her home, take some of the profit to build an addition for her onto my parents’ home, and come live with them. My grandmother is having none of that idea. In the meantime, my grandmother arrives every afternoon at my parents’ house, has dinner there, goes to bed by 7:00pm and leaves the house at 5:00am to go back to her house for the day. Crazy, right?
I have offered to have my grandmother spend a few days a month staying with us to give my mom a break but my grandmother will not leave her cat for more than the night. I don’t want the cat in my house. My husband has allergies and quite frankly while I like other people’s animals I do not want one in my house. I live an hour and a half away from my family. I’m not driving my grandmother back and forth every damn day for the sake of a cat. My mom can’t take the cat in her house because her cat and my grandmother’s cat can’t be together. No one wants to get rid of their cat.
I wish I could help out more with my grandmother. I also wish that she wouldn’t be so stubborn about keeping score as to who visits and who doesn’t. In her old age it doesn’t count as a visit with her unless you come to her house. So, I can invite her here as much as I want but if I don’t go there then it doesn’t count and therefore in her mind why should she come to my house. Well, the 5:30am to 2:00pm time slot that she is actually in her home isn’t always the most convenient time slot for my family. I see her at my parents house but remember that doesn’t count because it’s not her house. Rock, hard place, me in the middle. Me banging my head on the wall. And phone calls to her are painful because I’m yelling at the top of my lungs and she isn’t hearing me anyway. I’ve stopped calling. I’m a horrible granddaughter and I will really feel like shit when the day comes that she is no longer on this earth. Can you say GUILT?
Now to top all this off I’m going to get all childish on you. You see, while I understand there are other people who need my mother’s attention more than I do, there is that little part of me that wants some attention too. I feel like I get whatever is left over after she gets done with everyone else. And believe me, by the time the rest of them are done with her, my poor mother has very little left over. But I’m having some difficulties of my own (we’ll talk about those in another part of this melodramatic series) and quite honestly I could use more help than I’m getting and the people I feel most comfortable asking for help are my parents. I am, however, the child that is supposed to be okay and who has life under control. So, while they worry about me and do nice things for me they have bigger worries and they need to prioritize those worries. They love me, I know that. But I could use a little help and it would be greatly appreciated if someone would notice that once in awhile. Okay, so now you know. I can be selfish and childish. I want my mommy too! And if it’s not too much to ask, I’d like not to talk about the other family members and I’d like her full attention. (Sadly, I point this more at my mom because my dad is better at compartmentalizing and because my dad is as tired of the drama as I am and doesn’t seem to let things take over his whole life as much as my mom does.) I feel bad about those feelings too because my mom is really doing the best she can and more than anyone she could use a break from everyone’s problems, including mine.
So, that sums up that part of my life at the moment. I’m frustrated to say the least. Feeling guilty and powerless about all of it. Raise your hand if you’ve had enough of this depressing Heart of Darkness Series. Too bad because there’s more and it’ll be coming soon. And by the way, I’m writing this more for myself than for anyone else because I’ve been holding a lot of this stuff in and I need to get it out. A private diary might be a better place for this but then there would be no one who could maybe offer me suggestions as to what to do about all this and no one who could reassure me that they too sometimes have a life of shit to deal with and I’m not the only one with problems and, thereby making me realize I need to buck up and deal with life. (Whew that was one long sentence and I’m sure it broke lots of grammar rules.)
Now that I’ve gotten the family stuff off my chest, next time I can deal with the mommy, wife, me stuff that is bothering me. I’m sure you are all looking forward to that ‘happy’ post.