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The Visit

Posted by Sue on March 3, 2006 in Uncategorized |

You know how I’ve talked about my family and how open we are and how close we are? That only goes so far. That is my immediate family. Myself, Hubs, the kids, and their significant others.

I’ve talked about MIL during race season and have received sypathetic responses.

I’ve talked about my BIL and SIL during various times and have been grateful to be an only child.

I’ve rarely talked about my parents here, but have gotten into it extensively on the Dark Madness.

Which brings us to today. After my parents retired and moved to another state, 10 hours away, I didn’t see much of them. We’d try to get down there a couple of times a year, but usually it was a long drive down, stay a day or two, and a long drive back. Twice a year.

When my parents house burned to the ground a year ago January, I was as shocked as everyone else. I invited them to stay with us, which they did for about 6 weeks. Amazingly, we all seemed to survive that experience and they bought a house back in the town they’d retired from. Now they are only 40 miles away.

After they first moved I was going to see them practically every week. I helped them find stuff for the house, pictures, etc. I helped them get their computer set up and helped with various problems and questions. Then we got busy in the field and I didn’t see them so much. At special occasions I would call them to come up and on my birthday in December we went to their place for dinner. Christmas was the last time we saw them.

Today I’m to go for a visit. I have a knot in my stomach. I’ve put this off now twice in the past few weeks, feigning sickness or work. Why? …ah… the subconcious is a wonderful thing. Although I put all the “bad” stuff behind me a few years ago and “forgave” them, I’m just not comfortable around them. Isn’t that terrible? To be uncomfortable around your own parents. If I thought my kids were uncomfortable around me I would feel horrible, crushed even. I go to visit and we chit-chat about the family, people they know, the animals, what they’ve been doing lately, their health. We chit-chat as strangers. My mom and dad will give me a hug hello and a hug goodbye and I will cringe. God, I hope my kids never cringe when I want to hug them. I hear them say, “love you” and it sounds hollow in my ears. I say, “love you too” and it sounds even worse.

When do we finally let go of all the shadows? I no longer hold hate for my parents, or fear… only some pity for the things they’ve done. I no longer cower before them. But to know them? Like them? Enjoy their company? I only wish…

10 Comments

  • Randa says:

    I know this story as though it is my own. Except I don’t put myself through the fakeness (not a judgment on you) of visiting my parents anymore. What’s the point? I neither like nor respect my parents. They don’t even put forth the effort to contact their grandchildren. That’s what sealed it for me. In my mind, that is despicable, particularly when my kids made regular efforts to stay in touch.
    I can see that I should be writing my own damn post about this instead of filling up the comment box on your blog. My apologies. I just want you to know that I share the feelings you are feeling.

  • ms. sizzle says:

    it isn’t terrible it all. i am just grateful that you don’t have that kind of relationship with your family. at some point you have to let go of feeling guilty and just let it be what it is. way easier said than done, i know. but you are so blessed with your great husband and kids.
    🙂 sizz

  • Michael says:

    My biggest fear is my kids moving away and never looking back. I want them to enjoy the wonderment of life but I pray that I am always a part of their life.
    Maybe that is part of life. I’m not as close to my parents as I would like either.
    Take Care
    Michael

  • Becky says:

    I think parents have to earn our respect and aren’t guranteed it. I have a rather strained relationship with my Dad, along with my sibs, because I also think it’s a parent’s duty to make the effort with the kids and not the other way around.

  • mr_g says:

    You know, I think we often take the idea of “honor they mother and father” too far. People deserve our respect if they treat us respectfully…not just today, but their past actions play into it as well. You may have forgiven. But forgiveness doesn’t mean forget everything and lower your guard to let them all the way in. You can forgive and still draw boundaries where you need them. This isn’t disrespecting them, but rather respecting the fact that it’s better for all if you see each other less. No need for guilt or bad feelings. You’re doing what’s best for all! Really!!!!!

  • Lisa says:

    Deep wounds may heal, but the scars always remain.

  • Brad says:

    Sorry to hear that, although I know it’s not uncommon.
    Do you have any previous posts that might explain this feeling between you and your parents a bit more?

  • GrumpyBunny says:

    Personally, I don’t believe you can. Unless you’re a saint.
    For me, the more time that passes, the more I’ve learned – more that I’m surprised and shocked and annoyed about.
    What is it about parents that think you should want to spend your vacation time with them? And all your holidays.

  • sue says:

    Brad – see The Dark Madness. Link at the right and top. It’s all true.

  • Cait says:

    Unfortunately, we don’t get to choose our relatives. Even so, I don’t think that means we have to love them no matter what they do. I haven’t been through what you’ve had to endure, but my mother is a bitter, angry, vindictive person. She makes up stories and tells them as fact. As she’s aged, she’s taken her anger and bitterness out on me. I cannot begin to tell you how much I dislike her. And yet, I have to remain in contact with her, because she’s 92 and there’s no one else.

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