Christmas started out being really wonderful: I spent the entire afternoon and evening Christmas Eve with the only family I’ve got: my estranged husband’s family and our kids. I don’t even refer to them as my in-laws anymore because they are the only family I have and calling them my in-laws would imply that my “other” family is my non-in-laws. Is that even a word?
My husband was really friendly to me yesterday and even apologized about being rude earlier in the day when I came over. It was the lone apology; there are things he owes me an apology for but he doesn’t apologize, in other words he has too much pride to admit wrongdoing of any kind. So getting not only an apology but, an apology that I didn’t shame him into giving me I could have sworn this man standing in front of me offered to change his attitude, and I didn’t ask him to or demand that he do so. +2 for Me! Yay!
That, however, for whatever reason, was short-lived. After everyone had gone to bed last night, including the three little ones, I proceeded to do what I do every year and have done every year on December 24th since 1994: play Santa. My husband and his family all agreed not to exchange gifts among the adults this year, so it came as a surprise to me when I had already purchased small, inexpensive gifts for each of his family members who would be at our (his and the kids, really) house this year for Christmas. I, as it turns out, did not agree to not purchase gifts for anyone. Plus, I had a couple of misunderstandings which led to silly squabbles twice in the past two years, both times with my mother-in-law who, I admit, I had grown to a point of irritation with her, and although I felt terrible about it, I can’t change my feelings.
So here’s what happened to cause a riff. She’s my mother in law, of course. You know what they say about mothers-in-law; she wasn’t, however, the kind of mother-in-law I had to worry about watching what I say with or anything like that. But since getting older, I noticed she gossips about people in the family a lot. I don’t mean a lot like she has done three or four times; I mean a lot like that’s all she would do it while we were together. The most recent visit, my husband and I had separated last May and she came just three days later. She talked about several members of the family, It bothered me. I could picture her at the next family she visited sitting and talking badly about me. For the record, before I tell you, even my kids thought she was…um,well I will just come out and say it: annoying. So I sat down and wrote her a note telling her my feelings. My thinking was that she would be upset but would eventually come to be thankful I was honest and told her. Well, mad doesn’t describe her reaction whatsoever. Needless to say she called and was not the least bit happy…the last time we spoke before Christmas was June 2012. So this was a big deal to me.
Christmas Eve when I got there I had no clue what to expect from his family. They acted like they missed me, just like they always did. Even my mother-in-law was wonderful. We visited for several hours, then my husband came home. He walked in, saw me sitting there, and in his very sarcastic and obnoxious tone of voice, said, “What is she doing here?” I felt so stupid. Everyone just kind of looked around and felt uncomfortable.It was absolutely humiliating.
The rest of the day went fine, the big guy was tired and went to bed early, and I stayed up visiting with his sister and Mom…it was great. But I knew I had to stay awake to play Santa for the kids, plus I had gifts for everyone in his family as well as him, despite the agreement we (he) made to not buy each other presents but to buy gifts just for our kids. So I stayed up wrapping everything, putting bows and ribbons and candy canes and cute package tags, and writing a personal note on certain gifts (books and a journal, for example). Big guy put everything in his bathroom for me. So I wrapped it all in there, making it very difficult to be quiet. So to compensate for possibly being loud, I moved extra slow. As a result, it was right before 5:00 in the morning when I finished all the wrapping. And my back was hurting so bad I couldn’t hardly move. I went to get in my daughter’s extra bed only to discover clothes, electronics, used plates…everything but the mattress. So I started to clean it off and inadvertently woke up my baby girl. She was delirious and cranky and asked me to stop being loud.
“Go get in bed with Daddy”, she says. I decided just to go home and sleep in own my bed for a short while then to come back and watch the kids open their presents. I knew I wasn’t getting anything and that was a-okay with me; all that mattered was the kids. I have been through so much this year and of course I blame myself, but it’s been horrible just the same and I just wanted to spend every second with my babies.
Well, I got home and couldn’t go to sleep right away…but when I did it was about seven, and I wasn’t waking up easy, if at all. My daughter texted me at 8:15 and when I didn’t answer, the kids went to the living room to see what Santa brought them. Then I woke up at about 10 and freaked out. I FaceTime’d her to apologize for taking so long, and then it happened. What was just bound to happen eventually: my husband walked into the room and saw me on the phone; rather than saying, “Merry Christmas Jen” or “Hey Jen, come on over!”
He goes, “this is the most childish your Mom has ever behaved”
He didn’t even know what had happened. He hadn’t bothered to open the card I left on the front porch, explaining what was going on. I had given him cards several different times the past few years and he would either toss them aside and forget about them, or he would read them weeks or months later and it really hurt my feelings, and do you have any idea why that would bother me? (If you know, then I’m sure you can understand my feelings at his inability to figure out the issue at hand and his “You bitch…Get Over It” attitude.
I planned on coming back over as soon as i woke up; my hope was that I would wake up before their Dad did; every year he has become less and less sensitive to all things Jen, and it’s to the point now that he and I rarely speak when I’m spending time with my kids at the house. In the event we do speak, a fight usually follows. I was so upset that I bawled my eyes out for over three hours. And I’ll be honest: I hoped he would call and ask me to come over.
He didn’t. I was surprised even for him, that he was being so insensitive and inconsiderate. I am always, as are most people, in an especially good mood on Christmas. And the more I think of his callous and pompous attitude toward me, I realize that I really, really can’t stand him. He’s an unpleasant man. I should be jumping up and down for finally getting rid of him. He thinks everyone likes him; in fact, people either love him or hate him, but the ones who hate him are just about willing to murder him. He screams and hollers constantly, not just at our kids but at any other adult or even child in the perimeter of our home. He’s a miserable person. I don’t know how he got this way.
I wanted my kids to have a good, normal Christmas, so I decided I wasn’t going to put myself in the awkward position of feeling humiliated and ashamed on Christmas Day. About 5:00 I decided it was time to go and see my kids. I waited at the door for my kids to come out and talk to me, I didn’t want to feel humiliated again ever. Their Dad walked to the door, opened it, and began yelling at me for being ridiculous; I asked him if he knew what happened and he made some smart ass comment like, “Yes I know, you were being childish”. I was so mad I followed him and we of course began fighting. What kind of life is that for my kids? I cried so much after that three days later I am still very upset.
I refuse to allow myself to ever be put in that position again. I would love to have the kids with me every Christmas from now on, because I don’t have parents or siblings, I don’t even have Aunts and Uncles. My kids are all I have. But it was spend Christmas alone or spend Christmas fighting like cats and dogs. I chose the former and decided even though I was miserable, it was better than fighting because what would it have done to my kids if our day was spent yelling and screaming at one another?
I am disappointed, though, that my kids didn’t care more. My youngest son didn’t even so much as call to thank me for the gifts. Next year one of two things will happen: I will be extra full of Christmas spirit or I won’t care at all. I certainly hope it’s the former..
Nevertheless, here’s to a Happy New Year to all of WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and my wonderful kids and my friends (which are my family). May you have an easier time than me remembering the hardest lesson in life to learn: This too shall pass….