If you'd like to use this space to vent or rant or tell the stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal (or paternal!) mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...
If you read my blog, the details here will immediately reveal my identity. That’s fine, I’m only hiding this from one person. One person who reads my blog religiously, to my huge chagrin. She feels it’s necessary to call me after every entry to squeal about one thing or another. Or, most annoyingly, to try and share ownership of an experience I feel very much to be mine and mine alone.
In many ways, my husband feels like he raised himself. He was a difficult kid and I think at some point his mother just threw up her hands and gave up on him. But she also went further, when he had an opportunity to attend a world-class public high school, she prevented him from taking the entrance exam because she, "wasn’t losing another kid to HIM!" You see, her daughter (my husband’s sister) had moved out at age 13 (um, red flag!?!) to go live with her father and attend this same high school. So, essentially, this woman intentionally hindered her son’s educational possibilities rather than "lose" him to her ex-husband.
And the positive choices kept coming. She indirectly forced him to quit the wrestling team. She had decided he needed to contribute to the household expenses, so he had to get a job instead. That’s right! At 15, my husband was required to pay rent. Directly after high school, my husband went to live with his father who had moved from the same metro area as his mother to California. While in California, my husband was accepted to a small, private college. Rather than tell him, or even submit the financial aid information herself, she let the paperwork sit on the front table until it was too late to apply. As a result, my husband attended a community college and later a state school from which he eventually dropped out.
When we first started dating, I met the parents of one of my husband’s childhood friends. The mom invited me into the kitchen, sat me down and poured me a glass of lemonade. She asked me if I’d met "her." I hadn’t yet. This woman was clearly troubled about something, but ended up telling me anyway. Apparently, she had observed the vast difference in treatment that my husband and his younger brother received from their mother. She said she often felt it was her responsibility to invite my husband in and feed him, ask him questions about school and offer encouragement because, clearly, he wasn’t getting any at home. She hesitated before saying this, but she said, "It was like he was ignored."
That isn’t even the whole history. The background, on top of her manner (loud, abrasive, generally low-class) didn’t endear her to me. But I did my best in the beginning. Even my husband couldn’t stand to see her. They do pretty well over the phone, but for the most part, she drives him totally berserk. She is the consummate drama queen. EVERY. THING. IS.
ABOUT. HER. No matter what happens, it always comes back to her. When we were having trouble getting pregnant, she’d ask about it with this unbelievable sad-sack look on her face. Like it was SOOOOOOOOOOO disappointing to her. Forget how we felt about it. And then, when we told her, in confidence, that we had finally gotten pregnant, she had a public breakdown complete with flailing arms and harpy screams. She would make knowing gestures and ask questions that would have revealed our secret to anyone who was paying attention. Luckily every one else in my husband’s family is similarly self-absorbed.
When my husband was almost killed at work, I dreaded calling her. I expected her to cry and rail. Surprisingly she calmly made arrangements to get up to us. But that was where the easy part ended. Pretty much the minute she arrived, I expended almost as much energy managing her as I did captaining the ship of my husband’s treatment. Now, I know it was her SON lying there. But the law dictated that I was the person in charge. I had to make decisions about surgeries, transfusions, hospital transfers, legal investigations. I was the only person allowed to call the ICU. I was the only one cleared to hear medical updates. And on top of all of it, I was pregnant.
Yet, every time I went to the bathroom or slipped downstairs for a cup of (decaf!) coffee, I came back to the waiting room to her grilling the doctors for information. I arrived at the hospital one morning to a tongue lashing from the ICU nurses because somehow she’d found the number and was calling all night for updates and to have the nurses tell my husband she loved him. Every meal we ate, she magically didn’t have her wallet. So, I’m pregnant, with a husband on death’s door, very tenuous future financial prospects and I’M TREATING!?! She made every single thing I had to do that horrible first week ten times harder than it had to be. Because of her driving we arrived a few minutes after visiting hours started one day. I was so angry I stormed to the front of the line, got a pass and went upstairs without speaking to her. She thought I’d gotten an urgent call and ran up to me. And then, with all her dramatic flair, she grabbed my arm and hollered, "What happened!"
"Nothing." I said, "I just don’t like being late!"
Later that day I told her she needed to go home. There was nothing she could do. My husband was barely conscious. He definitely didn’t know she was there. I promised she’d be the first call I made with ANY information. And I kept that promise.
But I’ve been unable to forgive her for her antics during those weeks. I know how she treated him as a child and I resent her trying to take ownership in this crisis. To this day, when I write about the accident, she calls right away whinge about "the horror that we all went through."
I hate how she disregarded him as a kid. I hate that she pats herself on the back for how he turned out. I hate how she credits the rest of his successes to me, instead of giving him the credit he deserves. I hate how she always puts her own wants and needs ahead of her kids’. Pretty much, I hate her. Yup. I hate her.