Thursday, July 19, 2007

Speaking of the Birthday...

I almost forgot this gem of a post.

So, after seeing my whole birthday weekend - and the days before and after - pass without a single phone call or card from anyone in his family, my husband has decided to "write a letter." You see, he has often been accused by his sister and mother of not being very good about remembering to send a birthday card or call for the special day. Never mind the fact that his sister NEVER sends a card for ANY reason, nor does she call him on his birthday. And never mind the fact that he always does send a card, even though it may be a bit late.

Anyway, he decided that he will send a card to his parents (with whom his sister is living because she just graduated college and isn't yet employed). In said letter, he is explaining to them
a)that they make it very difficult for him to want to remember their birthdays when they fail to acknowledge the birthday (hell, the existence) of his wife
b)that he wants to develop a Policy for Birthdays, which includes everyone getting a phone call on the day of and a card as close to that day as possible.

A noble cause indeed, but likely a lost one. You see, his mother is lounging on a beach in the northeast, where she spends her ENTIRE summer (she works for the school district, so she's got the summer off). She reads, shops, goes out for "water ice" (whatever the hell that is), and gabs with all her friends. Despite the fact that the woman can afford things like Coach purses, Pashmina shawls, and routine facials, she evidently has no money leftover to, I don't know, come see her grandchild, whom she's only seen once?? She could get a round-trip ticket down here for about $225, but the idea seems to have never crossed her mind.

In the spirit of fairness, his father gets some blame too. He, however, gets a bit of reprieve b/c the line of work he's in doesn't give him the summer off or near as much flexibility in terms of when he can take vacation days. They live close to my husband's brother and his fiance and child, and they're very much a part of that grandchild's life.

The point of this post - and there really is one - is that it seems to finally be dawning on my husband that his family seems to be content with not being part of our lives. The most hurtful part of it for him, I imagine, is how this will impact E. H is older, so she knows that technically these people are step-relatives. And she's got such fantastic freaking grandparents back in Home State, that she could care less what the Yankee snobs are doing. But E is a different story. She'll have my parents, who are just as great with her as they've been with H, but that's it. No "other side" of family to get all excited about visiting because she won't even know them. The situation is hurtful to me as well, but even more so for my husband because it's his relatives that are totally dropping the ball. He feels guilty and disappointed, and I can't say that I blame him. I just don't think a Birthday Card Policy is going to help anything. Honestly, I don't think anything will help. His mother is just really selfish, and that's not going to change. His dad will go along with anything, but he generally follows her lead.

I'm confident that E will be no worse for their lack of involvement. Between us, H, and the rest of my family, she's still going to be loved and spoiled rotten. I just hope my husband can make some peace with how things turn out and realizes that he isn't responsible for his family's behavior. And thinking of the bright side, we'll never have to do the "family shuffle" on holidays!


M said...

Kudos to the hubby for taking the initiative to talk to his family about this. C is often hesitant to discuss issues like this with his family because he says "it won't change anything." I'm a big believer in the idea that you can't change anyone else, but you can change how you respond to what you consider unacceptable behavior. By not letting this behavior go unnoticed, your husband is changing his behavior. It may not do any good, but I think it's great that he is telling them how he feels.

mgm said...

Oh, I' so sorry that it has come to this. And it must be so hard for hubby. Good for him for calling them out, but you are right. It probably will fall on deaf ears. I hope that the letter gives him some kind of relief.

And, even though she's too young to realize it, hubby is also taking a stand for baby E in this case, too. When she's older, knowing that her father will stand up for her will give her such confidence and make her feel so loved.