Things change. I’m an adult. I know that is just the way the world works. And change can be good. In fact, it is probably ultimately good more often than it is bad. But I’m not generally good with change. I have a tough time letting go of what is comfortable and familiar to me. It is hard for me not to see “moving on” as “leaving something behind.” Lately, I haven’t been left with much of a choice. Change is happening whether I like it or not.
This weekend, starting on Friday, was a weekend of change. The news we received on Friday changed my “Positive Polly” perspective into confusion and sadness. Then, on Friday night and Saturday, my relationship with my family changed drastically. My mother (mentally ill), brother (16 with cognitive disabilities), sister (we’ve discussed her previously) and niece (five years old) came to my house, uninvited, to spend the night. I had a nice dinner and pregnancy announcement planned, but (not surprisingly) things did not work out the way I’d hoped. My mother’s vehicle broke down about an hour and a half from my house and it had to be towed to a service station. My husband had to drive the hour and a half each way to pick my family up at the service station and bring them to my house. My mother told my husband that she would just have to rent a car the next day. She failed to mention that she had no money with her, no money in her bank account, and she does not have a credit card because she declared bankruptcy a few years ago. So, when it was time for her to make arrangements to leave on Saturday, you can imagine my surprise when she asked me for my credit card while on the phone with the car rental agency. I told her she couldn’t have it. Without getting into too many of the details, I explained that she cannot have hundreds of dollars of our money because: (1) we don’t have it lying around for her to take as needed; (2) we now have a baby on the way and need to save for what is going to be a tight budget; (3) she already “owes” me tens of thousands of dollars that I have written off because I know I will never be paid back; and (4) she isn’t entitled to our money just because I am related to her. She yelled and screamed and then went to the other end of the house where my husband was. I heard her tell him that I told her to ask him for his credit card!!! I couldn’t believe it!!! It was like dealing with a teenager who is addicted to drugs. How could she lie like that, and think she wouldn’t be found out? The Prince and I had already discussed that my family was not to be given any money this trip (The Prince is the one who finally made me realize I can’t keep funneling our money to them because I’m not helping their situation, I’m just enabling them). In my not at all hormonal state, I screamed at my mother that there would be no more handouts. She is on mental health disability and I understand she is too crazy to hold down a job, but she chooses to buy $80 mail order “real life baby dolls” and new furniture at 26% interest rates. Those behaviors are in her control and I’m not paying for irresponsibility. She told me that she’s glad I’m pregnant so I will get to experience what it feels like to be stabbed in the heart by my ungrateful child. I didn’t expect my family to be as awesome about the pregnancy as The Prince’s family, but I didn’t expect it to get that bad, either.
The Prince barely held his tongue. I told him we were stuck because we couldn’t give her money but we also needed to get my family back on the road and heading the four hours it would take them to get back home. I was cramping and sick and couldn’t take anymore stress. (I should add that my sister was incredibly kind and tried to act as a buffer during this ordeal…but she isn’t really equipped to stand up to my mother, so she ended up as sad and stressed as I was). We ended up calling The Prince’s parents and asked to borrow their extra vehicle for my mother to use until her checks clear next weekend. My in-laws are the sweetest people ever, so they quickly agreed even though it is an inconvenience for them. The Prince and I are scared that my mother will try to keep the vehicle, as she isn’t going to have money to get her car fixed and she has no credit card (a requirement for most rental car agencies). She won’t speak to me on the phone…and won’t acknowledge my existence while on the phone with The Prince. I know she’ll speak to me again when she needs money, but she crossed a line with her comments this weekend and our relationship will never be what it was before this weekend. I’m saddened by that change, but I’m handling it better than I usually do. I now have a good reason to distance myself from my mother’s craziness and distance is what I need right now.
Also, after writing yesterday’s post about the comments made by my friend, I received a message from her that she was none too happy with my post and that our friendship was essentially going to be placed on hold, as I don’t appreciate her efforts to stay friends with me even though my pregnancy causes her some sadness. I understand where she is coming from. In hindsight, posting about the insensitive comments she made instead of addressing them with her directly was bad behavior on my part. I think I was afraid of the confrontation that would ensue and so I took the passive (if you can call it that) approach. But here is the thing…I’m not sorry that our friendship is changing. I have a couple of friendships that I’ve made throughout my IF years that I really value but also realize that I have to really work at. This friendship was one of those…I think we were both working really hard at staying friends. A couple of my friends make comments that hurt my feelings on a regular basis, but I’ve been afraid to address the issue with them because I don’t want to lose them as friends, or I’m afraid that our friendship will change into something stiff and awkward. But what I realized, reading my friend’s message yesterday, is that our friendship already had changed…I just wasn’t acknowledging it. We are in such different places in our lives and our journeys, and we have been since even before I got pregnant, that we would be better served appreciating each other for what we are – two amazing strong women who have gone through IF hell - and not trying to make our relationship something that it just isn’t anymore.
So, in summation, there are some changes happening that, while uncomfortable, are healthy and ultimately positive. You can try to swim upstream, or you can turn over, put your feet up and surrender to the current....it's going to keep flowing anyways. It’s sad that, as usual, it has taken me so long to grasp a concept that is so basic…but at least I’ve got it now. And while I am certainly not a “go-with-the-flow” kind of girl yet, I’ve got potential.