Monday, November 03, 2008

It's My Shower, And I'll Cry If I Want To

Posted by Anonymous.

What is it that is so hard about sending out and responding to baby shower invitations?

We moved out of the suburbs and into the Big City so that my husband wouldn't have to commute to work. It was the best decision for our family, but... and isn't there always a but... we may as well have moved to Mars. It's been a rough transition, and the loneliness is killing me.

The good news is, I now live within a few miles of several extended family members. Family members who I don't really know because our parents only met once a year for Christmas dinner, if that. It's a chance to get connected to them, if they'll have me.

The bad news is, my friends have always been my extended family, and now they're just out of reach. Just far enough away that I'm not part of their weekly routine anymore. For the most part, they haven't called, or emailed to ask how the move was... which is fine, that's life sometimes. But it hurts that they're not answering my efforts to go visit them, "Oh, HI! I got your messages, I /meant/ to call you back."

It *is* a lot of work to drive all the way out here to visit me and grab a cup of coffee. I am just out of reach. I've spent the last few lonely months thinking "maybe they'd come visit if there was something big like a party." People like babies, right? A family member offered to throw me a baby shower. It was so gracious of her. I can't express how grateful I am that she's making an effort to do something sweet for a relative she barely knows.

But, she invited my mother. And where my mother goes, so does all of my mother's drama. My father doesn't know about the last three months of drama. My mother lives for excuses to visit my father. I insisted that this party be women-only, because this should be about me, and not about my parent's failed marriage. My mother fought me on it, and tried to go behind my back to get our relatives to override me, because she wants an excuse to get my father to come visit her.

My husband is such a guy. When I started freaking about about the invitation list, he says "It's your party, invite who you want, don't invite who you don't want." HA! Ever the fix-it-man, he's even offered to rent me a place to throw a separate Girls Night, so I can see who I want.

Since this has become my mother's party, I couldn't invite my step mom, my dad's best friend (who helped raise me), or anyone else from my dad's town, the town where I grew up. Word travels fast in a small town. If my dad were to find out that I invited her, or her, or her or her, but not my step-mom, my dad would be livid. So none of those people who are part of my world were invited.

My father has already caught on that there is a shower that my step-mom wasn't invited to. He called and dropped some not-subtle hints to find out what was going on. I wasn't /really/ lying when I passed it off as "/Mom's Family /is throwing me a shower," even thought that's not how it was meant to turn out. He seemed to accept that. Or, at least he dropped the subject.

To make it worse, my mother can't attend a party without her sister and her sister's Ten Person Party Posse. I put my foot down about not inviting my father, and not making the party coed, so I had to concede to The Posse. The Party Posse is just that, an instant party: just add a buffet table. But it's not my party. It's a posse of distant relatives I see once a year, and have nothing in common with. The Party Posse is my mother's idea of a good time. Fine, whatever. Except that The Party Posse is so huge that there's no room in the house to invite *my posse.*

A month ago the shower invitations went out, to a dozen members of The Party Posse, and a few of my friends. My friends haven't responded, or have apologized when I've asked if they could come. Three weeks ago, my mother's sister found out about an unequally divided inheritance, and started pushing my mother to share the wealth. Of course, there was a huge phone-war that isn't resolved yet. The first time they will see each other is today, at my shower. I'm alternately bracing for a fight, and wondering if anyone from the Posse will even show up. I'm worried and embarrassed because my cousin ordered and paid for a huge pile of catered food that may go wasted. Either way, I feel empty and drained, and now I don't want to go to the shower.

There are ten people who I cling to, ten people who I've been desperate to see, and to share this pregnancy with. Ten people who would have /loved /to be invited to my first baby shower. Ten people who I trust to give me sound advice about having my first baby. Ten people who I've been desperately lonely for. Ten people who have been just out of reach. Ten people who know me well enough to understand how lonely I am, and how my mother and The Posse effect me. Ten people who I couldn't invite because my mother and The Party Posse, my father and the inheritance have taken over. I feel alone, even though I'll be surrounded by people today.

My husband said, "It's your party, invite who you want, don't invite who you don't want." Part of me wonders if I should have invited everyone except my mother. If that would have had more or less fall out.

This is my baby shower for my first baby. This was supposed to be the last thing /about me/ before life starts revolving around the baby. I feel robbed. Today, I'll be faking it, pretending not to miss my posse, keeping up appearances for everyone else's benefit. Again. Anything less would be ungracious.


Anonymous said...

I'm sooooo sorry to hear that. Your mother seems to be quite parasitic. But you're lucky you walked away with 10 people who like you. My mother destroyed my life and left me with no family or friends. I'm just rebuilding now. I say you need to put yourself and the friends you have left first before you end up like me.

Anonymous said...

I suspect this is one of the reasons why family members aren't supposed to throw showers, because family politics and drama often enter the picture.

I'm sorry you're having such a tough time. But as you're committed to the party, I suggest you just try to get through it and not worry about how your cousin feels about the attendance. And post-party, try to find a way to see the 10 friends you need in your life to be happy. Even if it means you travel to them on a fairly regular basis. Because it sounds like your only option right now.

Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

This sucks. I know exactly how you feel about the moving thing - we recently moved 30 minutes away from most of my friends and it's been really tough. No one comes by, and usually people are completely objectable to coming to our place. All I can say is that I'm trying to make other friends who live near me, and go visit my friends whenever possible. I hope it gets better, because I'm pretty lonely too.

And for the shower - maybe you could ask your dad if you could do a lunch or something with your stepmom and the people you couldn't invite? Then it's not as much work as a shower, but it's still a nice get together...

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I'd take your husband's offer of having a Girls Night out so you can see who you want to see. Its hard not to let the family politics get in the way. Grin and bear it through this one and then go have your own party without the family drama.

Anonymous said...

Repeat after me:


Because I have one of those moms, too... And YOU are the mom now, and it's about YOU and YOUR BABY and YOUR FAMILY, and she and her ego are going to have to start taking a back seat to you and your desire to create the kind of family you want for yourself and your child.

She can only take your power if you let her.

Blended families suck. I totally understand. I really do.

Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

Big (((HUGS))) to you-- I'm sorry so much of this is difficult and sucky for you.

How did the shower go?

Anonymous said...

Have a Blessingway with YOUR posse only! it is not a gift thing it is a night to move you forward to your new life of motherhood. make it potluck with lots of treats. Blessingway descriptions are online you can look them up and see what they are all about.

Anonymous said...

Most of my friends, even before I was married, before I was pregnant, were married with children. When my mother was planning my baby shower, she told me it was women-only. No men, no kids. Which means that all those married friends with kids would not have been able to come (many of them from two hours away where I went to school).

I know it was a breach of etiquette, but I called a friend from that area and vented, and in doing so expressed my wish to have another shower so that all my friends share it with me. I asked her to host, and let me know anything she needed to do so.

If you're not comfortable asking one of those 10 to host for you, maybe you could arrange a small get-together with them, like brunch out or just an informal thing at your place. Then you can vent about your family taking over what's supposed to be yours, and they can give you the advice and support you need.

Let us know how this works out.

Anonymous said...

If those ten friends are as wonderful as they sound then I would explain my troubles to them, take hubby up on his offer and let my hair down.

Now that a baby is in the picture you have really got to understand that you are not the one who decided to divorce. Let them work it out. When "baby" has it's first birthday, invite them both and move on. If they can't function together then shame on them.

My parents are divorced, I am divorced. It wasn't my fault and I shouldn't be punished and it wasn't my son's fault and they shouldn't be punished. Goodness sakes our parent's should be a heck of alot wiser than us, I think they should be able to get along at a function for their daughter.

Hubby is a smart man, it really is that simple.

Anonymous said...

I felt so sad reading this post because I hate that families can be so dramatic sometimes. When my parents got married she was not allowed to invite her soon to be sister-in-law bc my grandparents didn't like her fiance. It was so hard on her and to this day she wished that she could have been there to share in that day almost 30 years ago.

I say have a night out with the people you wanted to have there so badly. Let them know how important they are to you and to your new babies life.

Best wishes to you!

Anonymous said...

Stop letting other people run your life. Stand up to your mother.

Also true friends will make an effort to see you if you move a little bit away. If people don't then you can find new friends. I found my two closest friends at age 32 & 35. You never know when they will pop into your life. Making friends is a contact sport, the more contact you make the more friends you will have.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for your situation and I assure you everything is more emotional and difficult when you are pregnant. Your hormones and changing body sometimes make things seem worse than they are. I think you will enjoy your party if you let these people's drama go- focus on your baby and I bet it will go by faster than you expected. I think your friends should throw you a shower- most women I know had family and friends showers. Maybe they are already planning it without your knowledge. Concerning your mom and her posse, put your foot down and tell your mom you are sick of talking about it- the inheritance, her failed relationship with your dad. Don't let her pull you in to her drama- just say you won't talk about it and don't. Good luck