Something Hard

22 Dec

I did something hard today. Well, I did a few hard things – like shampooing some of the rugs and completely re-arranging the kid’s rooms – but this was even more difficult, because it involved money.

Rewind to a month ago when I told the internet about my issues with the sperm donor’s side of the family. I did NOT go to the photo shoot, and will not be going to the surprise anniversary party.

So a few days ago we got a card from my grandmother. In it was a check for $125 for the entire family. She did this a few years ago as well, and we used the money to buy Holly and Noel, our two black cats (we now only have Holly – Noel got a little too curious and never came home one night). So this year we get money again, only it’s $25 more than we did the last time.

Hmmm – my immediate impulse was to rip it up. Then I thought maybe I’d send it back. Then I thought I’d spend it and actually get a real hair cut and color (or upgrade my Flickr acct…I’m getting dangerously close to hitting those 200 photos LOL).

Scott works with one of my aunt’s husbands. He isn’t well liked either in the family, because he speaks his mind. Perversely, I love the man. Scott told him what was going on and he said, “If you really want to wake her up, send the money back.”

When Scott told me, I realized that he was right! My grandparents have always been about the money. When I was little I swore that they had millions of dollars in the bank (they had a SATELLITE! And an inground POOL). As I grew older I realized that they didn’t have millions, but they certainly weren’t hurting (they spend about three months in Florida every year). I realized that my grandmother sends the money as a way to assuage her guilt! She believes that if she pays the money, all of the inattention is forgiven.

I also found out that she’s treated my other aunt’s daughters (the aunt who is married to the uncle-by-marriage that works with Scott) pretty much the same way she treats me. And my Aunt D isn’t too happy about it. Apparently when my Aunt D’s oldest daughter was getting married, my grandfather didn’t want to go because he had a golf tournament that day!

So today I wrote a letter that said:

“Dear Gram and Gramp –
Thank you for sending the Christmas money, but due to everything that’s gone on, it doesn’t feel right to accept it.

Yup, I sent the money back. It was actually harder than I thought it would be, because who couldn’t use $125? But at the same time, I didn’t feel right spending it. I felt that, even if we used all of it for the kids, I was sending the message that her money was good enough for me and that it took the place of her affections and attention. My dream is that she’ll receive the money and will finally realize how she is acting.

See, there’s something I don’t think I’ve mentioned. They had 4 children – two boys/two girls. Their youngest son is Scott’s age (he was a surprise baby), and his kids are my kid’s age. My grandmother dotes on those children like nothing you’ve ever seen. In her eyes, only Uncle L’s children exists. I don’t begrudge them the attention, but I feel as though she needs to give some attention to her great-grandchildren as well (she has 5 great-grandchildren and sees none of them). I mean, how hard it is to make a phone call every few weeks? And if she made an effort, I would certainly make one…but I’ve tried before and it hasn’t worked, so this time around it’s going to HAVE to come from her end.


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