Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holiday triggers and drama

This Christmas has not gone as planned and as I write this I am very sad.

Working like crazy before the holidays trying to close everything in order to spend time with family, big family expectations on both sides, being pulled into many directions and then Christmas day and yesterday.

My DH and I had planned for a very long time to spend many days (almost 2 weeks) at my parents house with the rest of my family, yet today we are back home with no plans for the next days and very sad.

My paren,s when my dad retired,  built their dream home 45 minutes from the city in a beautiful location near the woods.  Instead of downsizing they grew by a lot  (we 5 family members lived in a very,  very small house all our lives)

 Their plan has always been to have space for their children and grandchildren so we could stay and have also a lot of space in terms of garden and trees.

 We were to spend with them at this beautiful place since last Sunday to celebrate Advent until early January, right before Ephifany which is a very important holiday here.  My sister and her family would come and go since this year Christmas was at the inlaws and leave 4th of January.   My brother would arrive on the 30th spend the rest of the days with us.

 The cousins, my sisters 2 children, and JM could spend a lot of time together and get to know each other now that JM is older.    All seemed perfect and specially compared to my DH side.

On my DH side things have been tense in the last weeks.   There were 3 out of the 5 children spending this year at home on the 25th.  (my family celebrates Mexican style dinner on the 24th and DH side has lunch on the 25th)

Participating would be one  brother who is divorced and has no family (who is always grumpy and is very controlling, yet is striving to be more easy going and making great strides), his other brother with his wife and 2 children and my FIL.  This second brother  is very nice and good hearted, yet has a very,  very difficult wife that puts my FIL on edge each and everytime  and neither of them help in any way, shape or form unless you give them clear instructions and push them.  

My FIL since becoming a widower has had to take the reins of an enourmous house (far too big for 1 person) and the holidays overwhelm him.  My MIL did a production of them using her 5 children as  help and expectations are always very very high.    This one was no exception.   Basically my SIL and my DH take the reins, but this year she was not home so all fell on my DH and I .

For weeks he had been nervous since he would be hosting these 2 not easy sons and had relied a lot on my DH to listen to his worries.  My DH is the one always helping and the peaceful one.   A few days ago I had asked my FILwhat was missing and found out that he needed more help than expected.  So my DH and I set out shopping at the very last minute for food items so we could prepare the eggnog, salad and desserts for 12 people, while preparing to leave all ready to be out of home for 2 weeks.

Since my FIL was nervous about these 2 sons   he decided to invite my parents to lunch on the 25th to make things less tense.   I knew all along that it was not a good idea, but since he was hosting I did not have a say.

We spent the 24th at my parents very nicely and then set out early for my FILs house so we could help.  The appointment was for noon so we could open presents and then prepare the rest.

When DH and I arrived we encountered a disaster.

My FIL told us that a lot was missing and you could see anger and fear in his eyes,   the girl they had hired to help out  was pouting since she said it was too much work,  my BIL still in pijamas after trying to find tons of things and no sight of the other brother.

Well my DH and I had to start giving instructions, working like crazy and we began to sort everything out, so when the other brother arrived 2 hours late all was ready.

His wife acted all surprised that all was ready and said she had been prepared to help out, yet had had other important things to do and time had passed.  The look on my FILs face was priceless.   Lets say this was expected and it was even more clear when my DH and his brother started serving the tables, cleaning around and  she, her husband and children did nothing.  NOTHING!

Later my parents arrived and you could feel all of us very tense.  We tried to make the most of things and had a pleasant time, yet it was not easy and my parents were in shock of this attitude of the wife and brother.   I decided to sit still at the table letting my DH do the work so  I would not leave my parents alone at this very formal dinning room.

My parents left not very late and we left soon after.

When we arrived at my parents house my sister had arrived and we experienced an amazing night playing with the children , etc and the same the next day.   JM was laughing like crazy and he could not stop kissing his cousins.  Later my dad commented to me how surprised he had been about the attitude of this brother and his wife, but left it at that.

During all this time my mom had been also very tense.   She is not an easy person, is not sociable at all,   gets overwhelmed easily and all three of us at one time or another have had major fights with her, well into adulthood.    She is a very good woman, yet had many times very harsh words for us and even more so when stressed.

My dad on the other hand is easy going, very sociable and practical.

So all day  yesterday I see my mom in a bad mood, yet I could not pin point what was going on.  Maybe it was having all of us there, maybe the scene of my FILs house, no idea.

I spent the morning with her at the farmers market buying the food for the next days and helping her carry tons of vegetables and fruits, etc. and she seemed to relax.  We had a chat about the wife of the brother and how shocking their attitude was and left it at that.

Since it was late we decided all (my sisters family, us and my parents)  to have lunch at a restaurant that my parents knew well and had enjoyed, but we had never been to before.  The whole thing was horrible.    The food, the service (took forever etc).   We were all tired after waiting hours  around for bad food.

So I come back to the table from walking the children in the gardens and out of nowhere my mom tells me I am exactly like my DH´s SIL.

The wife of this brother who is so very difficult and never helps out.

   My mom said she had been observing me the other day  at my FILs house and I was slowly becoming like a little her.

If you knew her, you would know this is the very worst thing a person can say you are.  She is neurotic, lazy and in general not a nice person.  

I have no idea why she said this, but it hurt me profoundly and I started crying.   Well one thing led to the other and we started fighting and I left making the decision to leave my parents house and return home.  

 I simply could not deal getting hurt this way.

My sister called me a few minutes later and said she agreed my mom had been completely out of line and that the comment was meant to hurt and while it hurt her deeply she agreed it was best to leave.  She would make sure that we see each other next week and that the children get to spend many hours together.

She said that this is why she keeps my mom out of her inlaws lives since the exact same thing had happened to  her  years ago.  My mom mixing her worry for us  (I am sure she is worried about my inlaws situation) with very harsh judgements without reason.

My DH was also supportive and agreed this was a comment completely out of line, perhaps out of stress, but that it was meant to hurt and that he could not see us spending the rest of the days with my parents.   This coming from the most peaceful man ever.

My dad has been silent since then.

We arrived home last night and my heart and head hurt so much that I could not sleep,.  I am hearbroken my son cannot spend more time with his grandparents and cousins, yet truly I cannot forget these very harsh words from my mom.   Why in the world would she use them?

What we will do the next days with no plans whatsoever I have no idea.   My first vacations in over a year and this happens and worse,  much worse during Christmas.  

So so sad.


  1. Is it something maybe medical? Is it out of character for her? Maybe a result of age or something happening in her mind? It seems so strange! I am so very sorry!!!

  2. That is sad, I will pray for your heart to have peace. Good job sticking up for yourself and setting boundaries of how others treat you even if they are your family!

  3. This sounds like me. I've had many holidays where family members were mean to each other and to me, hurtful, and just plain verbally abusive. It can hurt you to the core. It hurts your heart, and I am so sorry for you.

    Be nice to yourself.

  4. I'm so sorry!! I will pray for healing with both families. And I know I only met you one time, but I do not think that describes you at all!! I happen to think you are a wonderful, giving, thoughtful person.

  5. I have never met you before, but this comment by your mother does NOT sound like you at all. Not even one teeny tiny bit. I understand why you spent time with your parents while the others did things, as they were in another unfamiliar house / stressful situation ... I would have done the exact same thing!
    I so deeply wish that your holiday celebrations had gone as planned. I will pray for your mother & you.

  6. I am so sorry Christmas was difficult :(

  7. I cannot begin to explain how my mother's selfishness and complete disregard for my feelings drives me absolutely crazy! Is it a comfort that you are not alone in your frustration? Hugs and prayers for you!

  8. Also, we are not our mothers. Thank God!