Monday, December 29, 2008

And Still More Christmas

My holly jolly spirit is fading fast here folks. Today we went to see my mom. We were going to Christmas with her and with her husband at the care facility that he is in. But he was too ill to make it wise to bring the children so she said to just visit with her.

We were really looking forward to the visit. We have always visited at least bi-monthly because we love them and because it is hugely important to K and I that the kids have relationships with their grandparents.

Mom had asked me for a table lantern to use during the famous power outages her region of the state has so very often. She was not specific, just didn't want to use candles any more as she felt unsafe with an open flame nowadays. Made sense to me. With less secure balance at 75 and a cat in the picture now, I 'd rather a table lantern for her to. With my typical zeal I researched such things on line and decided to purchase from LL Bean. A company dear to her heart whom she herself patronizes frequently. The reviews I read said this one particular kind was very good. It charged off the house current and then when used in an outage, would provide a minimum of nine hours of light. I thought I'd be saving her money on batteries and she would always have light when she needed it.

OK so Mom opens the gift. Stares at it like I have wrapped Medusa's head. "What's THIS?" she asks in a tone i know from my child hood does not mean good things. I explain it is a rechargable table lantern. I am then lectured on how she doesn't know where to put it. She doesn't have any unused electrical outlets (we could see 3 on quick perusal of the room we were in) and a caustic coup de grace that she had thought it would be just like her neighbors downstairs. Well hello, I don't know her neighbor and have never seen her flipping lantern. Which by the way she never mentioned in any specific detail. I give up trying to explain the features and finally say rather flatly she can return it to the store and exchange it for any lantern that she fancies.

I think at that point she realized that she had crossed a huge social gulf into the land of rude and unreasonable. She agreed to let K set it up and show her how it worked and professed to like it. My guess is she still hates it. I find that the more I ponder that, the less I feel like worrying about it.

I called her later tonite to find out how she was. She had a dental appointment after our visit and I was hoping all went well. She told me the details. Then she told me what a wonderful time she had. I wondered to myself what universe she had been on that her "wonderful time" was so cruel and painful to Kirsty and I.

Then she had to go on about how my daughter is so well behaved---"not like KC.
Hello????? I love my kids, they are all great. They ALL did amazingly well during that visit. Lissa was indeed very sweet and engaging. She played with her gifts. She interacted well. She chowed pizza. Yay team.

But KC was sweet too. He brought a special card that he made when he heard we could not visit his grampa. A card he took time to make himself. He brought a game from home that he hoped his Nana would play with him. He thanked her for each and every thing he received. If he was guilty of anything it was of childish excitement at seeing gifts under her tree. He is 4. He knows gifts. Lissa is 2. She doesn't quite get it yet. Sigh.

My Rob was great. He was polite and helpful and though quiet as is his wont, he was also sincere in his appreciation.

My Chet did well, for the most part holding things together at least until we left Nana's house. His social skills are the weakest of all the children despite his age. Autism is cruel in that regard. I know--or I believe--that there is a kinder more loving person there than we are allowed to see.

All the kids had thought long and hard about their gifts. Chet bought his but the other kids all made theirs. That is huge to me becuase it is an investment of time and caring for someone. Rob spent literally hours on the tile picture he made of a lighthouse. KC made soaps that he knew his Nana would love. Shaped like items from the sea and the natural world, they reflected her loves.

I am hurt that she showed such favoritism in her comment about only Lissa being well behaved. None of the kids broke anything, damaged anything, or were in any way rude. Trust me, I know rude! I have pondered how to handle this. It is hard to know what is part of her un-gentle aging and perhaps not feeling well (remembering the emergency dental visit) and what is just plain meanspiritedness. My mom can run really hot and cold. And the trouble is, I will not repeat NOT have any of my kids lauded over the other. They are all special. They are all loved. Or else!

So I have decided that i will try to handle this by writing my thank you to her tomorrow. I will comment on how she has always been such a wonderful Nana, seeing to the heart of each of my wee ones and seeing their specialness. Then i will name one such specialness of each child. We will see if that will make a change. Writing it will be more permanent. In some ways it is less confrontational. But this is not something I will debate. I am hoping that this is her chance to embrace those facets of my kids personalities or we will be saving a lot on gas because visits will be a lot fewer.

And tonite after supper KC asked if he could email his Nana to tell her what fun he had at her house today. Yup, what a horrid little boy. Sigh.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear things went so badly. I hope that if your mother could recognize how rude she was about the lantern she'll also be able to see how she's treating your children. (Or not. My own mother got expensive Christmas presents for my brother, a nice gift for my partner, and "accidentally forgot" me, though apparently something's coming.)

One thing I love about your blog is how careful you are to show the positive qualities ALL your children have, even when you're being bothered by certain behaviors.

Lee said...

Thank you! I am feeling better about things today. For now, at least there is distance of several states between us! (grin) And that is a very good thing.

Thank you for the comment on seeing the positive in my kids. It helps.

And I am sorry your mom forgot you--I can't even wrap my mind around that as it is so unmaternal (if that is even a word.