Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Button Pushers

Button Pushers. We all know a few, don't we?  Those people that, for some reason, love to kick you when you're down. Maybe it's not always a kick. Maybe it's just a poke where you are the most tender. Or then again, maybe sometimes it feels like a knife. These are the same people that will swear up and down after they've done their damage, that "That's not what I meant" or my personal favorite..."You're being too sensitive." 

Fuck those people. Seriously. Fuck them.

I've been practicing a lot lately. At this whole acceptance thing. At doing nothing. I've practiced for a straight week with a few major speed bumps getting in my way. I'd give myself a B. Not an A. Definitely not an A because today, I am pissed off. Today I get to take a break, and instead of suppressing the anger and turning it inward, I'm going to let it out and allow myself to be really fucking mad.

I'm not going to focus on the speed bumps today. I can only handle one anger inducing topic at a time or seriously, my head will explode. I'm going to focus on the visit with my parents. If you can call it a visit. Tonight they will have been in town for a week. We've seen them for possibly eight hours. On one hand, this is probably a good thing, because if I can reach this point after only eight scattered hours, just imagine the kind of rage more time would induce. (A voice inside my head, we'll call said...but it wouldn't be like this if they were different. The other again...reminded her of what I already know....but you can't change people.)

Before they even got here I got a basic itinerary. A list of things my mother was definitely going to do. If I could or felt like joining her I would get to see her, if not, well... tough shit, because that is what she wanted to do, and my mother always does what she wants to do. My father, who has no itinerary, has basically just taken off everyday to do his own thing. Okay. Fine. I dealt with that. I'm no stranger to this type of behavior from her. This left some days/evenings free where maybe they could spend some time with their only grandchild and their only daughter.

So far this is what has happened...

(I apologize for the rambling. This is a "get it out" type of blog, so you are reading it just as it appears in my head.)

Every invite I've extended to go out to eat has been met with a no, because "they just can't be going out to eat everyday!" Meanwhile, they are going out to eat with my Aunt, who they are staying with, just about every day.

After making plans to come visit right after school last Thursday, my son and I show up to an empty house. An hour later I get a call saying they are on their way. They did bring pizza though. Pizza loaded with every topping that no nine year old boy in his right mind would ever eat. He scraped it off and ate pizza dough. He's a trooper.

They came bearing gifts because that's what grandparents do, right? They brought him a baseball glove. In case anyone doesn't know. My son doesn't play baseball. He doesn't like baseball. My BF and I got two t-shirts that were given to them by my grandparents in the 80's. No, I'm not kidding. If you know me I don't care about gifts. I really don't. What I do care about is the thought behind them.

Next, I invited them to a family event that happened on Saturday, which I thought would have been a perfect time to hang out, see other family members too, and possibly meet my BF's children. That was also met with a No.

The whole weekend that my child was home, not having to go to school,  his grandparents didn't see him once. They had plans. They were busy. Next weekend he is with his father. They knew this.

I called Sunday night. I reached voicemail.

Monday morning I got a phone call with a request to come over that night after Jack got out of school. "We were coming over anyway because remember you said you would spend time with Jack while I went to the open house at school?"  I said.  Apparently, they forgot.  This time I brought food so my son could eat something besides pizza dough. Our visiting consisted of Jack and I sitting in the Kitchen alone while my Dad said close to nothing, and my mother and aunt were "busy" doing things around her house. I watched and listened as my son tried to talk to his Grandma. Trying to tell her things he was excited about. I also watched and listened to her response. "Really? Okay, honey, now you have to get out of the way because we're moving this over here."  I watched and listened as my child, who has been so excited to see Grandma and Grandpa, told her he learned how to play Scat and brought cards, and did they think maybe later they could play?  I watched and listened as my mother, completely oblivious to anything outside her own selfishness told him no. "No, grandma doesn't feel up to that tonight. Maybe we can play if your mother ever invites us over." (Please refer back to my every invite being met with a no.) I bit my tongue during this whole experience. I practiced doing nothing. When I went to the open house Jack was watching a movie on my iPad. When I returned he was playing with a few Lego's alone in the kitchen. "Did you and Grandma and Grandpa do anything tonight?"  "Not really..."

This brings us to Tuesday, which was yesterday. Part of the Itinerary was an early Tuesday dinner (4pm) followed by an Antique Auction. (preview at 5pm, start time at 6:30pm) Both of these events occurring in the same town. Not exactly a child friendly activity, but this was our option so my son can see his grandparents and he was up for it. Okay. Jack gets home at 3:30 roughly. If we jump right in the car (no time for homework) and head out we can most likely make it there by 4pm. We did. We arrive to find my mother, father and my aunt sitting in a four person booth, that clearly my BF, my son and I won't fit into. "Oh we can squeeze in, just pull a chair up to the end."  To which the waitress informs us this is a fire hazard and we can't just pull a chair up to the end. Okay. So logically, (at least I think it was logically) I suggest we move and sit at a table with six chairs. Six people. Six chairs. Seems like it might work. My mother and my aunt exchange a look, to which my mother follows up with. "I don't know...what do think?" The fact that my head did not explode at that very moment is a pure fucking miracle. Are you fucking serious? Were we not invited to come join you for dinner? And you are not even willing to sit with us? I didn't say that exactly, though. I think I said something like, "We drove all the way here. If we're going to sit at a table by ourselves, we might as well just leave." I said nothing else, and that was the kick in the ass that got them up and moved to another table. Nothing else was mentioned and we proceeded to order. Beer. I desperately needed a beer. The rest was bullshit small talk that I paid little attention to. Mostly I talked to my son because, honestly he was the only one I felt like talking to. As dinner was wrapping up my mother then asks. "So...have you gone over how the auction works? Does he know how this is going to work?" I've told him the basics. I'm not worried. He's a well behaved which my mother continues with..."The auctioneer is grumpy. He gets real mean and really mad if anyone makes any noise. He'll even yell at people." I'm watching carefully as my son looks at me and I see it in his eyes. Fear. I try to counter what she is saying to ease his mind. Maybe it's true. I've been there before and never witnessed it. Regardless, there is no need for this. The look on her face. The tone of her voice. I'm talking to Jack, but inside I'm screaming at her. Shut the fuck up!  What are doing? He was excited to go. You don't purposely scare someone who suffers from anxiety. Especially not a child!  I don't say any of this. Instead I calmly say, "Stop. There is no reason to scare him." To which she responds, "Oh Jesus, you need to get him out his protective bubble." Mama Bear syndrome has now kicked in with me, but my head still doesn't explode and I'm still calm, and I simply say. "STOP." From here, the three of them get up while I'm still finishing my drink. Apparently it's a rush. They have to get there. They have to get seats. It's now about 5:05pm. Again, auction starts at 6:30pm. Same fucking town. Fine. Go...we'll meet you. We leave not too long after they do. Arrive at the preview,and look at all the items. Apparently there was nothing worth staying for and they decide they're going to go home. A big frantic fucking rush. For nothing. For fucking nothing. Game over.

Holy shit. My head is spinning at this point.

We then talk briefly about when they would come over to my house for dinner. I had already told them Wed or Friday would be best as the other nights can be crazy with kids and kid activities. My mother shot down Wed. It'll be too hot. (too hot for dinner?) Fine. Breath. "Friday, then?"  Again, they exchange the look. Something was said but I didn't quite hear it as they both started heading to the car. Something else was said about there being another Auction next Tues. (are you fucking kidding me?) To which I replied, "For the amount of time we spent with you, I don't think it's worth it."  I vaguely heard my mother yell, "Well come over to the house then." as we were crossing the street.

At this point I'm exhausted. Mentally exhausted. At this point I'm beginning to realize that doing nothing and acceptance isn't always enough. Sometimes when a person or people are too much, too hurtful, too selfish, or too toxic, your only option is to remove them. Forcing yourself to deal with them, on their terms, in their way can do more damage than just simply walking away.

We didn't go over to the house. Instead we stopped an got ice cream from Cherry Hill. We sat outside in the calm and the quiet, and laughed about what someone had carved into the picnic table.

I'm not sure what this next week will hold, but I am sure I'm not up for anymore button pushing. I'm not up for frantically chasing down people who so obviously have better things to do than spend time with me or their grandson. I'm not up for witnessing "the look", whether I know what it means or not. (I admit, I do not) I'm just not up for their kind of crazy. I think I'll just stick with mine.

Hope, who again, apologizes for the rambling and lack of order in this post. 

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