My Daughter-In-Law’s church has a blessing ceremony for new babies. It takes place on the first Sunday after the child is 40 days old.
This past Sunday I was sleeping in when I heard the front door open and close several times. My part of the house is in the back and separated from Jeffrey and Connie’s area by the wall that supports the staircase. In addition the kitchen is between us. We loved this when we bought the house since it gave us more of a 2 family set-up without having to pay the price of a 2 family or the added taxes. The side door off the kitchen leads to the carport and serves as my entrance. I hear very little and pay attention to even less.
A couple of hours pass and I’m beginning to feel awake and alive. The 2 cups of coffee helped and I went into the kitchen to get the 3rd that would make me wired enough to tackle the day.
And I discover my DIL's Mom and her brother’s girlfriend getting ready to leave. Everyone is dressed up – Connie looks like she’s going to a Sunday wedding. As I stand in the doorway between my place and the kitchen I take in the scene – there are pretty pink gifts all over the dining room table and Hope is dressed in a frilly pink striped dress with a white lacy bib.
They have just returned from Hope’s blessing ceremony. A ceremony I was not invited to.
There is history between me and my DIL’s family and I’m always very careful what I say to them and around them – especially since Hope arrived – so I waited until they left. To be honest I was shocked and I felt tears welling up.
I asked my DIL why I hadn’t been included in Hope’s blessing ceremony. She feigned surprise and said “I assumed you weren’t interested since it had to do with church”. I asked how she could assume I wasn’t interested in anything that had to do with Hope. Then she described the ceremony as “just a little 15 minute thing” that “wasn’t a big deal”. Well people got all dressed up early on a Sunday morning and came to NJ from Brooklyn – seems important to me.
It has become impossible to have a genuine disagreement with my DIL. The past is revised and presented and my son is dragged in. That last part frustrates the hell out of me since it’s usually the MIL who is accused of getting between her son and his wife.
Since Sunday I have received steely looks and defiant shoulders. Yesterday I was told that I was responsible for “creating so much stress that I had to go to the doctor”.
This always happens when I speak up. Along with being told I’m “opinionated” – which is Greek for not holding to her family’s party line and I’m “passive aggressive” – which stands for they’re not bright enough to get sarcasm.
Although sick with stress my DIL had enough energy to call me a hypocrite for wanting to attend Hope’s blessing ceremony. She thinks my opinions about religion somehow preclude my ability to simply enjoy a moment in my grand daughter’s life. Most everyone in my family attends church and observes traditions. I share in them all – with love. This accusation took place while smirking and shouting at me with Hope in her arms. I walked away saying I will never fight with her in front of Hope.
Where was my son in all this? He did not attend the ceremony. I don’t know how he felt about it since I contort myself into a pretzel to stay away from their decisions. I do know he should have told me it was happening and should have either invited me himself or asked his wife to. Of course that would have most likely started a different round of drama.
I doubt my political or social opinions had anything to do with Sunday’s decision, I fear it was far more personal and intentional, but it does shine a light on how assumptions are hurtful and go far to divide people.