Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Long And Winding High Road


Danger! Danger! I’m in a reflective mood.

I have been thinking of family. And Pat Benatar comes to mind.

Love Is A Battlefield

Hope will be 1 on Saturday and the party of all parties is in the works. It will be in the backyard of our shared mother/daughter style house.

May I suggest – if one of your children ever says ‘we could share a house’ do as Nancy Regan suggested all those years ago – Just say NO

There isn’t a director on Broadway who could stage more drama than putting my family together. Add my DIL’s family.

If I start drinking now could I be in a coma by Saturday?

But wait …

Then I’d miss the smile that lights up the sun. The twinkling eyes that take in everything. The thoughtful gaze. The sweet chubby hand that gently touches my face. Or reaches for mine so we can walk around the yard looking for bugs and dogs.

Yes – Hope points to bugs and says ‘Dog’ and I say ‘Bug’ and she insists ‘Dog’.
And we laugh.

I am a left leaning Democrat in a family full of Republicans.
I am a tree hugger in a family full of SUV driving, concrete loving people who recycle only if they think they’ll get a ticket.
I am a spiritualist in a group that sends their kids to church with a donation envelope so the priest will think they were all there.
I am the one who married ‘that black guy’ in a family that ‘sticks to their own’

I am the oldest of 4 who were abused into adulthood. One killed herself. One doesn’t speak to the others. One drinks too much and buries himself in possessions.

And one keeps trying to fix it.

I am Mom to a kind soul who would rather boil his own head than talk about feelings, or the past, or his father, or his aunt, or …

My DIL despises me. Contempt is a word she has used. Utter contempt actually.
Wasn’t always that way. For years it was a friendship, a good friendship. I was once described as ‘the best future MIL anyone could hope for’.

That was when I earned 6 figures. When I bit my tongue about the way my son was treated. Waiting for her to handle it on her own. Not holding her responsible for her family. Just paying my own way – and most of everyone else’s.

I’m pretty sure I intimidate my DIL, or at least I did. Before I got sick. Before the money dried up. Nothing tests a relationship like illness and financial worries.

Friends tell me I never saw, or chose to see, that what is now so apparent was always there. They can’t believe that I was as mild mannered as I was. The human rights activist who let it go when her son was referred to as “the nigger my daughter is with”. The proud granddaughter who walked away when people laughed and celebrated a good car deal by describing it as “nothing better than Jewing down a Jew”.

I thought I was embracing peace over conflict. I told myself I was choosing my battles.

And so I embarked on the long and winding high road.

I grew up in endless conflict; shouting, cruel words, violence, hatred.

I want Hope to be surrounded by peace and love. I don’t want her in the middle of anything but a hug. She can so easily be used as a weapon by people who think so much of themselves and so little of others.

I remember something my Nana used to say – “what a shame to get old and still be so stupid”.

Nana always counseled me on the art of battle choosing. She had a keen talent for seeing who could be reached and perhaps changed and who should just be ignored.

Nana paved the high road.

I guess I’ll keep on keeping on.

"We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it." ~ Abraham Lincoln

28 comments:

ellen abbott said...

Wow, Dianne. I can't even formulate the words to respond to this. Hope certainly needs you close.

Ron said...

Oh...I freakin' LOVE your reflective moods, Dianne.

I guess that's because you and I are very similar when it comes to the "family drama" - I can so relate to this post.

I so loved what your nana said...

“what a shame to get old and still be so stupid”.

I use to think getting older meant people achieved more wisdom.

NOT the case for everyone.

So, you just keep on being the wise and wonderful soul that you are, and...

"Keep on keeping on."

X and hugs to you and Hope!

Daryl said...

You can stay at the party until you feel as if you might rip the bitch's heart out and then hop in the car and come hang out with me ... xo

Matt-Man said...

Actually, whatever road you choose to take should not be whether it's high or low...It should be determined by whether the path yoou choose is true to who you are. Cheers Di!!

Linda said...

Life should not have to be like this. Family should be the people who hold you and not hurt you but alas, it seems like family are most times the ones who not only take your heart out and throw it on the ground but do a nice grape-stomping on it at the same time.

As your grandmother taught you to be the wonderful person that you are, you will teach the same to Hope and the good Lord willing, she won't become like her mother who sounds about as mean-spirited and shallow as they come.

Enjoy the party as much as you can and revel in the fact that your beautiful granddaughter has turned one and then do what Daryl said!! In the meantime, just keep being you because you seem pretty damned wonderful to me; I'd love to have you as part of my family!

Dianne said...

ellen - I often can't formulate the words either, it's one of the reasons I so rarely post about it

ron - thanks sweet one, I love ya

daryl - you and ron, my adopted bro and sis
love ya :)

matt-man - you're absolutely right matty
in this case I hope they are one and the same
I think they are and then I get tired of all this and I get confused

linda - thanks for the kindness, means a lot
I see so much of me and my Nana and Jeffrey in Hope that I think she'll be just fine

JC said...

I am so glad that you wrote that all out. Just to put it in words must have felt a bit better. I know I've written a few blogs that were truth filled.

Life sucks sometimes. I've had so much happen to me that I'm amazed that I'm still here. I'm just a fiesty old lady who doesn't want to go away.

Stay at your party as long as you can. Enjoy Hope. Bite your tongue if you have to but only if you must.

My inlaws are the worst ever. You hear stories and well those are mine. I decided long ago to stand up for myself. My H walked away from his family for me. Add several years to our situation, and it hasn't been easy.

So, I can relate to bitchy inlaws ... a drink or two does help. One Christmas I brought my own bottle of whiskey. Was more fun that way for sure.

Enjoy each day .. each moment .. your way. And, if you do need to tell someone off, do it with a thoughful phrase ... those moments of yelling when mad ... well, I so wish I could send a note saying what I really wanted to say... putting them in their place ... them realizes what jerks they are ... and for the rest of their lives they behave. Not happening but I keep trying.

Hang in there kindo ... life is worth it !!!

Jeni said...

Oh my Dianne! I can sooooo relate to your life -and maybe even to Hope's future life too for that matter. I grew up in a home that was "Three-generational" and now, I'm living that life again except now I am the grandparent. My Mom and I always lived with her parents because my Dad died when I was a baby and boy, there was a lot of conflict at times then between my Grandma, Mom and me! Today, my daughter and I usually get along okay -I've learned after 34 years of her being part of my life a little here and there on how to cope with her, as she has learned a lot too about dealing with me. The grandkids -well Mandy and I are both constantly learning -or trying to learn -how to deal with them!
No, it's not the ideal life all the time for us here but thankfully, so far, Mandy and I do still love each other and we both adore and will do whatever is necessary for the kids. Right now, things are a bit rougher for Mandy because she put her husband out about 5-6 weeks ago simply because she absolutely could not go on with him and his actions. (And yes, I am greatly relieved by this as he was really putting me near to going over the edge!) I can understand your trying to equalize things if possible but don't do that to the detriment of your own mental health too. Prioritize and pick your battles is about all I can offer along with Hope and I'm really glad you do have her and can be an influential individual, in your own way, to see her grow up perhaps to be more comprehending of things. THAT can happen ya know. Wish that you were closer -we could slip out now and again for coffee or tea or whatever might ease the mental conflict a bit now and then. Sometimes, just to be able to voice a little of the concerns -whether to the party involved or to someone totally removed -does help a lot.

Mrs. D said...

Oh honey, I wish I could give you a hug. How you've stayed on the high road all this time amazes me, I think I would've snapped by now. Hope is a lucky little girl to have such a wise grandma. Wish her a happy 1st for me!

Jackie said...

I agree, Hope has the best grandma ever. You are wise and gracious, and I hope and pray that one day those who hold you in contempt now realise who they're missing.

Arkansas Patti said...

I am stunned silent. Just hang on to those who love you and ignore the hell out of those who don't. I do believe in karma.

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Ditto what Daryl said! I think you and I are related Diane. I'd reflect on my family but I'm too ashamed of their behavior. Give Hope a birthday hug for me will ya. Heres one for you! (((HUG))
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Linda Reeder said...

I have a love/hate relationship with your life story. I hate all the bad things that happened to you. I love how you turned out and how beautifully you tell your story.
Here's the good thing about your living arrangement. Even if DIL lives there, that means Hope does too. Let the party go, be a wall flower. You have all the rest of the days.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Hope has a grandmother who had a good grandmother; so she is a lucky girl who will have the wisdom and love of generations passed down. Hang in there -- Hope is what it's all about.

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

This is exactly why I continue to visit you over and over...because you are true to yourself and at the same time, you work to make the world better.

Scott Oglesby said...

I’m so sorry for all the shit that you’ve had to go through.

As a spiritualist, and as the awesome human being that you are, just try your hardest to see beyond the conservative, earth raping hate mongers…(shit I’m already messing up) and try to just see them as more human being who love Hope.

I know that you’ll have a lovely Birthday party for her and actually be in a great mood and enjoy it yourself. Nobody can prevent that but you.

Luv ya Babe!

Sylvia K said...

You're the best there is, Dianne, and you don't deserve all the shit DIL sends your way. Of course, I relate in a lot of ways because I, too, was one of "those" who married a black man. Of my four children, only one is married and the rest of them are loners like their Mama. I do live with my youngest son, but we have separate spaces, do our own thing and get along. Enjoy the party, love Hope, and then head over to Daryl's place! Wish I could join you guys!!

Love you, my friend!!

Sylvia

DJan said...

I read your post, and I cannot bring myself to read the comments right now, they are all very heavy too. But I think you are a survivor, so there. I am sending you my survivor vibes.... we can both use them.

Dianne said...

JC - I love fiesty!! thanks for the good advice

jeni - I'm so sorry about Mandy's problems with hubby, I know how hard she works
you are lucky to have each other

mrs D - I bet you're a great hug giver :)
thanks kid

jackie - thank you
I'm going to think 'gracious' all day Saturday :)
I miss your photos

patti - I believe in karma as well, it's just so damn slow!! ;)

noe noe - hugs right back
it would be cool to be related to you

linda r - Hope and I have a way of locking eyes across rooms and in crowds so we'll just communicate that way on Saturday

sallie - thank you - I am hanging in :)

vinny - thank you :) I try

scott - 'shit I'm already messing up' just killed me ;)
see how easy/hard it is !!!!!
but you're right about it being within my power
love ya

sylvia - you're the best too!! thanks

DJan - survivors rock LOL
thanks

kenju said...

I am stunned also. It is too bad you are in that position, but the high road (no matter how hard it is) will be best. And as Patti said, karma will get them in the end. What goes around does come around - eventually!

Akelamalu said...

I'm so glad Hope has you! The poor child need you being related to a family like that. Keep going m'dear, you were meant to be there for her. xxxx

Kitty said...

I had been tipped off to some of this before, and even so I cried when I read it.

I feel there are similarities in some of the things regarding battles and when to bite the tongue and when to use it, and how the hell to stay true to yourself through it all that are coming up for both of us right now.

I have posts about family that I'm afraid to even put up. My circumstances are nowhere near as explosive and yours and yet my intentions are always suspect. I am always pointed to as the one out of line, the one who wants to judge.

People don't like the truth. And I seem to have this affinity for it that rankles alot of souls. (the Allende quote on my email) I expect it will be a long journey from here for us both. Wanna hold hands?

Happy, happy birthday to sweet Hope.

ds said...

Hold on to Hope as best you can, and ignore the rest for as long as you can. Then leave the "party." Which I hope is wonderful celebration for Hope.

Never let that sweet little girl out of your sight (I know. As if.).
Such brave words you've shared. Thank you.

Hilary said...

Your grandmother's wisdom and love had a deep, lasting positive effect on you. So will yours for Hope. You're giving her good stuff in spite of whatever else surrounds her. Hugs to you.. and to that adorable birthday girl of yours.

Micky-T said...

You....are definitely on the right road.
I can't even fathom how difficult it must be at some times.

LadyFi said...

Stay true to yourself. Can't imagine what it must be like to live with such words.

I believe Hope is just that - hope for something better...

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh, Dianne, What a wonderful post this is....Your Honesty. I LOVE it! This has to be such a hard road. I admire you taking 'the high road', but it cannot be easy. And one "hopes" that dear sweet litle Hope won't be corrupted by the deeply racist feelings that surround her with the other part of her family. It would be Soooo Unfair, and really awful, in every way.
I sens you Big Big (((((((HUGS))))))) and great courage.....Please Hug Hope for me, too.

Martha Z said...

While I love my DIL she is controlling and passive aggressive in her behavior towards me. After over three years of biting my tongue while helping with my disabled grandson I finally had a breakdown which resulted in an estrangement of over a year between me and my son, no contact with my beloved grandson.
We’ve now put 400 miles between us and we get along fine. I can bite my tongue for a couple of weeks a year with little trouble though I do tend to stress prior to each visit.
I guess my point is, be careful not to hold your tongue so well that you explode. We all have our breaking point.