GFGmom sent me an email today.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by DDD, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    The long email was very sweet...and very likely sincere. It was an affirmation of her deep love for me. She thanked me for all I did for her as a child. She acknowledged she now recognizes that every day I gave my all to support and help her have the best life available. It included that she is aware that as a single parent I always went above and beyond the call of duty at great costs to myself and without a meaningful support system.

    She shared that she is trying to do that with her daughter and that is stressful even thought she has the support of family, the school and her SO. Her goal is to "be like me" as a parent. Then she happily shared that she is getting her house fixed up etc. etc. and she will soon invite me, husband and difficult child#1 to come to her home for dinner and a shared evening.

    As you all know I am rarely at a loss for words. This time, however, I'm going to have to ponder my response. I love her because she's my child. I appreciate her sentiments. on the other hand, my true response is WTH! difficult child#1 is 24, difficult child#2 is 21 and her daughter is 9. Her emotional investment in the boys lives has been minimal, self serving and often destructive. Her financial investment has been zip. She kept all child support for herself even though the boys lived with us. She kept disability payments for #2 secretly for years...and then got him to move in with her right before he was eligible for adult disability. Left alone to raise her daughter she has been inconsistent in almost all ways including missing IEP meetings, missing medical appts and refilling Rx's. husband and I have done for the boys what I did for her. We have given are all....and financially it has been a disaster.

    My husband has completely detached from her. There is no way he would go to her home and tries to be away from our house if she's coming by. Do I want to go to her house? Do I want to admire all the home improvements she has made with her "retirement" funds?

    Yep...this is a quandry! DDD
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Maybe she is finally beginning to grow up a little? I'm guessing she's right around my age so perhaps she's having a "my own mortality moment"? You know where you suddenly realize that you're not going to live forever and it smacks you upside the head and pulls your feet out from under you. lol I dunno. Was sweet of her to do that though.

    I'm guessing you're about as anxious to visit her in her home as I am Katie in hers. Wait for a date to be made and simply be busy. Enough being busy and she'll give up......or maybe you can convince her a mother / daughter lunch would be better.
  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Could be, Hound. It's also possible that somebody pointed out to her that her Mom is old? No telling. DDD
  4. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    DDD, I would not even mention dinner. IF she invites you deal with it then.

    In fact, I would respond with something generic that does not at all require you to agree with anything she said in her email. Maybe, 'You sound happy - that is nice to hear that in your email.' and be done with it.

    There is no point in trying to get what she claims is her newly opened eyes opened wide enough to really see what has happened in all these years. It is nice she looks at you as a role model and that is all.

    Just my 2 cents.
  5. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    It's a good thing that it was an email so you could GUFFAW (or swear) all you wanted- if it had been in person it would have hurt trying to hold that in.


    I agree with Wendy. I could send her a noncommital response, similar to how we respond when our difficult child's whine to us.

  6. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Wow. I now have a better picture of the entire story.
    Generic response sounds good. Non commital. Buys time, etc.
    The bright side is that she was polite and seems to recognize and acknowledge your goodness. But, does she really have ANY clue of the extent of her irresponsibility and how much you took on?
    Wow. Geez....
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I hope she is sincere and I think Wendy and Suz are right about the response and being glad it was email and not in person.

    I think she is building up to wanting something from you. Probably something big. Mostly because it seems to me that she has NEVER said nice things to you with-o wanting something. Like maybe to have her daughter live with you because even with her support system it is just "too hard" to fix up the house all fancy, go to school (or try to get into school) and raise her daughter. You took the boys, why not daughter too? (In HER mind) After all, it isn't like you have any other purpose in life or anything to do (again - this is how SHE always seemed to think, atleast tha Tourette's Syndrome the impression I have gotten of her over the years).

    The generic response is good. Just be prepared in case she starts to hint or ask for something.

    It could be a mortality moment. I just dont' know that she is that introspective. Or she had the mortality moment and realizes how having her daughter live iwth her is costing $$ and time she could spend on herself.
  8. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I guess it is a step. I agree some response like that could be nice sometime... would be good enough. Lots of other plans can get in the way in the future.... but you haven't dismissed the gesture that way I suppose.

    What you did for ALL of them??? Really amazing. She was lucky to have you there to pick up the pieces.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I was also thinking she might be wanting to have you take on number

    If not that, I think a nicely worded email back saying something along the lines of how much you have always loved her and you are glad she is doing well and you hope nothing more than the best for her in her coming years. You are sure she will do awesome, after all, you raised her!
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I sent a generic email thanking her for her kind words, noting that I'm sure her home updating was likely having a positive impact etc. Honestly I don't believe she has any awareness of how her actions or lack of actions have impacted us...honestly. She is a pleasant person who is so self absorbed and impulsive that her perspective just doesn't jive with what we consider "normal". I've detached enough that now, most of the time, I just see it as sad. Actually it's also sad that she could believe that after all these years she could begin to parent as she was parented. Sigh. Anyway, thanks as always for listening and caring. DDD
  11. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    DDD, I think you did a really good job of considering the whole picture and being able to pick out the parts that were real to you and leave the rest behind. That sounds like acceptance to me. It is sad, I really understand that and as a parent, feel for you. I think most of us here can really get that in a way others may not be able to. This is certainly not at all what any of us expected when we had our children. But, it is what we got. Sigh. At times that heartache is more prominent then others. Hugs to you.
  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the affirmation. Even with huge detachment in place and fifty years plus of active parenting there are times when I feel better knowing that I am making the correct choice. Who woulda thunk?? LOL, DDD
  13. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    I admire your detachment and being able to see through the smoke!!! I am still working on the detachment process, I get so p***** at myself when I get sucked in again, but I am getting better. It just amazes me what these difficult children can do and still act like we owe them. They are so lucky to have you!

    From the outside looking in I also think she is going to ask for a 'favor'! They all seem to be made from the same mold. Mine has always dropped hints before asking for anything, giving me the chance to step forward and help them without them actually having to ask for anything.

    After all, I am the 'mommy' forever and ever right?? Note the sarcassim! The mood I'm in today I plan to live forever just so he can't spend my death insurance in one weekend. But, better yet, I intend to spend it before I die!
  14. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Hey DDD. just checking in over here. Home sick, watching lots and lots of TC and was watching Dr. Phil yesterday. Had an Oprah AHA moment when he said to a difficult child:

    "How much does your mother miss the old you?"

    difficult child acknowledges a lot

    "So if you show her the old you, she gets what she wants and you can lead her anywhere"

    difficult child nods and validates that she manipulates her mom by being her old self once in a while.


    Hate to be so jaded that I think she is buttering you up for something...but I think she is buttering you up for something. She may be just seeking some narcissistic feed from you. I definitely agree that a mother daughter lunch is preferable. In fact, if it can be arranged - I would meet her OUT for lunch and if all goes well - do the house tour after lunch. And if you don't like where things are heading, check your voice mail, find out there's an emergency at work and off you go.
  15. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Truth be told I don't think she's looking for anything other than my approval. Heck, she has more money right now than I do so it can't be economic. She's taking two classes three times a week out of town and I'm still working five or 5.5 days a week. Sadly I think she truly wants me to tell her how much I love her and accept her. I think she wants to subtley (sp?) show off her new lifestyle and have me say how wonderful the home improvements are and how awesome the meal is etc. etc....and, of course, what a great Mom she has become. I can't give her what she wants or needs from me now. She is my adult "child" and I do love her...but it must be at a distance. I prefer a big distance. Time will tell. DDD
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well DDD, I would love your acceptance too. Never having had a mother who gave two hoots about anything I did, I would give the moon if I had a mom who ever once told me she thought I did something well. Even if it was put up nice curtains. My mom only lived to tell me I was a screw up.
  17. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Maternal approval is huge, even for a difficult child, even if they're not consciously aware of it.

    I dunno how katie feels about her biomom, but she does seek my approval. I find it a bit odd, but it's been that way since she was very young. I dunno, maybe it's because I hold her to a much higher standard than her biomom ever did. (same standard I hold the other kids to)

    I do keep this in mind when dealing with her, and there have been plenty of times when I've sought out something to praise that was positive, even if it was small and basically insignificant to most people. Like I made a huge deal that up to the point where I was last in it, she'd managed to keep the apartment clean and fairly spotless. Now whether it was her doing the work or M doing the my opinion this was pretty big as every other place they've ever lived in was so disgusting getting past the front door required a gas mask and hazard suit.

    It's my feeble attempt to build up her self esteem a bit, maybe enough that she sees that someone else has faith in her she can do it......that will give her the courage to begin to make changes in her life. Probably too little, too late.......but it doesn't hurt me to toss a little praise out there when I see the opportunity, so why not?

    I could never do anything right in my mother's eyes, and I do mean anything. Only thing that made a difference is that grandma raised me so I didn't care all that much what she thought. did bother me, just to a much lesser degree than my sibs. It has only been about the last 4 years or so that she's done an abrupt turn around. Now I can do no wrong. lol It's a bit weird. But then given how my sibs and their children have turned out.......well, guess it's not so surprising.

    I just don't know what to do with a 32 yr old who is stunted at the age of around 14 in her mental / emotional development. Very Borderline in her thinking/reasoning, very junior high in her social skills. bleh
  18. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sorry that you all felt the lack of acceptance from your Moms. GFGmom was loved, praised and always encouraged...even, for the most part, up until she got pregnant with #2 and had to find her own place.
    My husband and I gave support to her above and beyond the call of duty. Cripes my husband even signed up for a night class in college math (two nights a week in a town 25 miles away) so he would know exactly how to help her get over her math obstacles. She dropped the class with-o telling refund time.

    She's 48 and husband has never raised his voice and I have...only three times. Actually I could have gone ballistic but forced myself to cut my rants short because I knew they wouldn't change anything, lol. When I do see her (thank heavens, it's not often) I attempt to throw in something positive and/or encouraging. Sometimes it is so superficial that afterwards I just shake my head.

    Still...I think that's what she wants from me. I wish her no harm but I have to keep my distance. DDD
  19. Star*

    Star* call 911

    D3 -

    You know I think you are one of the best friends I have in the world for phenominal advice. So forgive me when my letter back to the other member of 'our' family would be so blunt. (oh say it aint so STar that u are going to attempt to be blunt - the H you say) Because all of me - every square inch of my heart wants this to be a for real acknowledgement of a life invested and realized. That said. My letter back would have simply said -

    Dear Daughter -

    Yes I love you, No I'm not sick - You're not in the will - Knock it off - Seriously - Love Mom. Dad sends his regards.

    I keep in mind that I have that sister of mine that will probably get a note similar some day. Sigh....Hugging porcupines and badgers; never easy.

    Hugs & Love
  20. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    You're something, Star. :) DDD