So I’m sure that all of you have had your say with your parents at one point or another…and this is a letter I wrote to my dad. I share it because I wonder if any of you have dealt with a similar situation…
You and I have had more ups and downs than any theme park in the world. It’s been a long road, one that has been filled with lots of pain and tears…And I don’t want to go back down that path, as I felt that we were finally past it, especially after I moved back to the Midwest. However, over the past several months I have been hurt here and there, and before I boil over, I thought it only fair to address it.
I’ll start with my telling you about this pregnancy and my engagement to Mark. I understand how our relationship progressed extremely quickly and that you may have been apprehensive or judgemental about it in the beginning, but I found out that you had said something to my sister with regard to me, telling her “not to be like your sister and get yourself knocked up…” Though I understand that you may feel or have felt that my pregnancy was either unplanned, unwanted, or in the slightest bit not a good idea, you don’t have the right to pass judgment on me, especially to my sister. It’s very hurtful to me, as well as Mark, and neither of us deserves that. The fact remains that Mark and I discussed it and agreed that we would try, though we were both under the impression that it probably wouldn’t happen because of my medical history. It happened, and it is a blessing. It is something that I have been wanting for a long time, and we’re both very happy. I’d appreciate nothing more than your support and love, not only for me, but for Mark and your granddaughter as well. If I heard wrong, and you didn’t say anything to that effect, then please disregard this paragraph.
I’m also hurt by the fact that you are the man who taught me to be gracious and thankful. You are the one person who emphasized the importance of contentment and appreciation to me. I remember barely being old enough to know what to do with a phone, and yet, making sure that when I received a birthday card or Christmas card from a distant relative or friend, I was calling that person to thank him or her for the gracious gift I received. You taught me how to be appreciative. I sent you a card awhile back, pouring out my heart to you and telling you how thankful I am to have you as my dad and for all of your support…and I never even got a phone call acknowledging that you received it. I asked you several weeks later, and you said “oh yeah, I got that…” and then moved on with the conversation. I felt as though my heartfelt thanks were just brushed off like it wasn’t important.
Twice within the last few months, when you knew that Mark and I really couldn’t afford to come up for the weekend and you wanted us to come, you offered us gas money to help out…Twice I said nothing because I didn’t feel right asking, and twice we received nothing. The one time when I HAD to return to take care of business and you knew we truly couldn’t afford it, you said you were “tapped out.” I’m not your financial advisor, nor will I ever claim to be, but it seems to me a little strange that you couldn’t even offer $20 to help…
Obviously you know where I stand on the issues currently on the table. My sister was incredibly disrespectful to me in your home, and rather than telling her so, I am told that no one owes anyone an apology. That is ridiculous, especially considering the things she said. The fact that you are quite obviously siding with her is rather unsettling, unfair, and unexpected. You make all the excuses in the world for her because she is there, and you hear all of her daily drama…What you fail to realize (or at least recognize) is that everyone has a lot on their plates. Everyone has trials, takes on more than they can for the sake of family and friends, and everyone is held accountable. If I behaved that way, I would HOPE that you would approach me later and have a conversation with me about it. I would HOPE that you wouldn’t allow something like that to happen in your home, and I would HOPE that you would show me how selfish I was being, had I done and said the things that she did.
Now, am I saying that I acted completely appropriately? No, I’m not. In fact, it was probably the wrong thing for me to say that no one cares about Mark and me, but unfortunately, that is the way I felt (and still feel). We went virtually ignored for the time that we were there, and neither you or Barb offered to help Samantha when everyone realized that she couldn’t handle everything she had taken on. You have not offered a helping hand in any of the planning or otherwise. MARK’S parents are planning the shower (all 4 of them together). I purposely sent all of you each other’s information, thinking you might take a moment to call or email any of them and ask if there was any way that you and Barb could contribute or help. She’s YOUR granddaughter, too. In fact, she’s your first real grandchild. And you’ve been seemingly nonchalant throughout the entire pregnancy thus far. It’s hurtful and, I’m sorry to say, rather embarassing. My BOSS has shown more excitement and enthusiasm and interest in this baby than you have. Mark’s mom even took me shopping for maternity clothes…Mark’s dad calls periodically to check in and see how I’m doing and how my doctor’s appointments have gone. I never even hear from you…
And to top it all off, I called Barb yesterday to find out if ANY of the girls would be coming to the shower only to find out that YOU aren’t?!?! Because you have to work…I’d really like some clarification here because if you do, I understand…However, you haven’t even called to let me or Eileen (considering the invitation says to RSVP regrets to her) know. Samantha’s not going, which isn’t a surprise, but it is a HUGE disappointment and truly unacceptable. So, my own FAMILY will not be coming to MY baby shower…How should I be feeling now?
I feel like the red-headed step child. I feel like the one who always gets the leftovers. This is a HUGE moment in my life and yours too. This is a BIG deal, about the biggest it gets. I feel hurt, beaten, and left out…And as I cried last night, Mark couldn’t think of anything to say…because this is NOT the way a family works. This is NOT the way family shows they care about one another…and he’s never had to deal with a situation such as this.
I’m not saying all (or anything, for that matter) is lost, but I am saying that there needs to be some damage control here. Thanks for taking the time to read this and consider my feelings.