I’ve been hesitating on whether or not I should write about this and I have finally decided that I need to. Mostly for me so I don’t feel like I am letting all these thought linger in my head too long. And because I know I can find some support here.
I have written before briefly about my childhood. My parents were not very good parents. They were not physically abusive, or even really mentally abusive, but they were not emotionally supportive of me or my siblings. This has affected all of us in different ways. For me, it has been hard at times and I often do not feel love from them. In high school, I barely spoke when at home and this was mostly because I did not feel heard when I did speak, so I eventually just gave up. My mother was less of a culprit of the emotional abuse than my father, but she never stood up for us or made any of us feel truly loved. My father is an incredibly selfish and unreliable person. He is an alcoholic and a narcissist. He put a lot of emphasis on sports, which was difficult for all of us and especially my sister and I.
As an adult, I have learned not to trust them very much and never to rely on them. I had hopes that they would be good grandparents, as my grandparents were awful and I hoped that Arlie (and any other children we have) could have a true grandparent experience with my parents. I am not sure why I believed this and I regret having hope where there was none.
Fast forward to now. Arlie has been staying with my mother 2 days a week (really closer to about 1 and a half because one of the days is M’s early day). Everything seemed to be going fine. My parents started smoking again when Arlie was about 3 months old and it really bothered me. I asked them not to smoke while she was there and while my mother agreed to stop while Arlie was there, my father flat out refused and continued. I need to emphasize that they were not smoking in the house, but it still bothered me a lot. M and I discussed not having her there anymore at that time, and his mom happily agreed to do more time during the week, which was a relief.
About a week ago my parents (specifically my father) asked me to find somewhere else for Arlie to be. He said that they wanted more time to “travel” (ironic because they never go anywhere and are both afraid to fly) and do what they want. My mother sat there silently while my father talked. I left shortly after that and contacted our other childcare provider and arranged for Arlie to be with her as much as possible. When I went back to my parents house a couple days later, I told my mother that they would no longer have Arlie anymore except for an occasional day. She did not react at all.
Let me explain that my mother agreed when I was pregnant to have Arlie three days a week and I agreed to pay them a small amount of money. At the time this seemed like the perfect solution as we are poor and I trusted my mother to take good care of Arlie.
I am hurt and upset and honestly incredibly disappointed. Arlie is so amazing and so easy. My father NEVER had to watch her and my mother was constantly telling me how much she enjoyed having her there and constantly referred to her as “my girl” (which was so effing annoying, but whatever). Everything changed when my father retired and was home more. He is incredibly awkward with Arlie and she is not comfortable with him. He never asks about her or tried to have time with her. I fully believe that the reason this all went down is because he did not want Arlie there anymore and my mother didn’t stand up to him.
I want to yell at them. I want to tell them how hurtful they have been. But mostly I want them to feel badly for how they act and the lack of a relationship they are going to have with Arlie as a result of their actions. I don’t have time to take Arlie to them on weekends anymore, and honestly I am not really willing to sacrifice my time with her on the weekends. I feel the same as I did as a child where I wanted their love and affection, but it just wasn’t ever there. I feel awful for Arlie because I know what it is like to have grandparents that don’t care about you. I think the absolute hardest thing for me is that I so badly wanted them to see Arlie and feel about her the same way I do. It kills me that they don’t.
Arlie is lucky though. She has two other sets of grandparents that adore her and will do anything they can to show her love. She won’t be lacking for love, that’s for sure. I guess this will have to do.