A not so brief run down here will ensue. My mother died when I was three in a car accident that some wonder how I survived. She went through the front windshield, with me in her lap and died on impact, leaving my father with three very very young children.
To which, he could not cope and promptly turned us over to my grandmother. Thus ensued many years of going every second weekend to my fathers place across the city, spending the weekend with him and then back to my grandmothers till the age of nine in which he moved across the country.
He married a few years later to my step-mother who hails from the philippines. We were called out to 'visit' him, and eventually that summer we stayed. At the age of 12, one has their personality pretty set, and as such, while my step-mother had hoped for three wonderful filipino children, needless to say, she did not get that. And it's hard, I realize that later, to be freshly married and inheriting three pre-adolescents. But she knew this, going in.
It was 5 years of pretty crappy teenagedom, with sporadic relief from the mother of my best friend and the families of other friends along with the leaders from my Sea Cadets who on occasion took into their hands to ensure that I got to do things with others in my corp and with my friends that didn't include working in the family restaurant when I wasn't at school. Who made sure when I had cracked my ribs, that i was actually taken to a doctor instead of ignored and written off as "stomach ache" while I hobbled around school thinking I had a burst appendix.
I lived at my friends for two weeks then, her mother so enraged at the situation.
I managed to keep up good grades too. But I was still not the perfect filipino daughter (despite my pot head brothers) and my father never once sided with us on anything despite evidence to the contrary (I am allergic to chocolate, far more worse in my teenage years that I couldn't touch any of it and on more than one occasion found a box of chocolates slammed upside my head and being accused of having eating one. Right. No.) and while she got brand spanking new jewelry sets every year and whatever she wanted, we were relegated to salvation army clothes and new shoes from my tips and babysitting jobs.
I grew up pretty fast.
At 17, I fought back and was promptly shipped - at my grandmothers expense - back to Ontario where at the end of summer, I simply refused to go back to BC. My grandmother in her infinate wisdom, ate the cost of the ticket, cleaned out a room for me and has never looked back. Even did battle with my dad over it to the point of hanging up on him repeatedly. Ona fixed income, no promise of money or expectation, she took me in.
My father on the other hand, was enraged at the loss of access to the soon to be incoming inheritence from my mothers death. Yes people, there was money involved. It's never good when there's money involved. Threats to have me declared incompetent were rebuffed and declared baseless since I was going to use what little of it was allotted for me, for school. Good luck convincing a judge otherwise. They came down to bring me some of my things that I wanted from back home (didn't mail it, too expensive, and yet they mailed huge refridgerator boxes to the phillipines 3 times a year) in an attempt to convince me to come home. Remember, she's filippino, I was the only kid who helped in the restaurant, and it's a pretty black mark against her in the community that I left home.
They had to stay at my uncles up the road, My grandmother told them they would need to stay up the road at an uncles, because she didn't think it would be good for me to have them there. I needed my space. It was a short visit. It was a small box. They left without me.
Things got a bit better with time, space and a change in status by getting married and having a kid. The day I graduated, they sent one of her cameo necklaces to congratulate me. But never money to help with college (Inheritance only was enough to cover my rent and tuition for the duration, not food, books and other necessities). They still sent money to the filippines all the time.
At this time, they adopted two of my cousins from the filippines in an attempt to bring them over to here. I had to sign papers stating that I wouldn't mind. My brothers held out for money, five hundred each I found out. I just signed. I wasn't at home, and mom could have her perfect filippino girls.
The day I got married, they flew down and my step-mother gave me one of her first jewelry sets. But never helped with the wedding costs. My grandmother spent who knows how much on it, and the whole year getting the two acres to perfection for a summer country wedding. Even laid down patio stones and planted flowers that would bloom at that time. I had joked that my father would have to pay to walk me down the aisle. I didn't make him, and he walked me down the aisle. In a suit that didn't fit him.
Through my life, I have found that he has a stranglehold on my emotions. To no fault of his own, my husband does not like them. They never remember my birthday till months after the fact (despite my twin having lived at home with them), neither can spell my name right, and we have always felt like an afterthought to them. I get phonecalls every few months from my dad - The step-mother and I do not talk for more than two minutes because frankly, we are cut from two different cloths and don't have much to talk about - who will tell me how shitty my brothers are (I talk to my twin every month, now that I have his number), what house they've bought now and are renovating to sell, how my 'sisters' are doing in the pilippines and that the one will be over in a year as a nurse. That the other is knocked up and having a shotgun wedding which is pretty scandalous in the philippines.
And through this all, I still yearn for his approval. After a phonecall from him, I tend to lapse into a bad mood that can't be shaken for a day. It's never a call to see how I'm doing, but a call to tell me how shitty my family is and to tell me how great my 'sisters' are. My husband doesn't like that this happens. I've learned to live with it. Call display is a wonderful thing.
I've learned to not expect what he says to be true with regards to visiting till we have the plane times in our hands. Friends of their scored free plane tickets when buying a car, to vegas. Vegas is 3 hours away from me. They inherited the tickets, and booked their flight, not bothering to contact us and see when would be good to book it. If they had, they'd have been told to come the following week when Andrew has the whole week off.
First it was that they were going to drive in from Vegas to see andrew.
But I've learned to accept that. That my son plays more importance in their life than I do.
They even shocked me by phoning when they heard that Gerry was sick via my grandmother to see if we were okay and needed money for medical bills. Yes, we could have used the money, but to take it from them, would have come with a thousand strings. Some visible, some not so.
Then it changed to they'd be in vegas but come spend a day or two of their 4 day trip.
Then that they weren't going to come down, because they were afraid to drive in the states.
Then my ex-step-grandmother and her husband were going to join them, and they'd drive and come visit.
Last time my ESG was here, disparaging remarks were made about my house, persimmons were handed over and it was a very fast hour visit of which I was glad was over.
Then it changed to just a day for a visit.
This was happening. I've called a carpet cleaner, I've started re-arranging my house, cutting out the clutter. I'm unconciously, and to a degree conciously, trying to show them that I'm a good mother, a good wife, I have my house in order.
Gerry can't take time off work, we don't have the money to shell out for a few nights stay in vegas (not this month) and Andrew cannot be taken out of school.
They have been told this.
And then last night, after marathon livingroom re-arranging, they call.
Unless we come up to them, they won't be seeing us. They're going to the grand canyon instead, want us to come with them.
Stupid me to think, that they'd understand our current limitations. Stupid me to think that they'd want to see us and make the effort to drive the straight literal road to our front door for three hours.
Stupid me for telling my son that his canadian grandparents were coming to see him and he's been telling everyone about it, he's so excited.
Stupid stupid me.
I now know why I have such wonderful in-laws. Because god knew what shit I would go through and decided that I would have a wonderful husband, and his wonderful parents. Who call, to see how I'm doing. Who send things in the mail like cards, or flowers or something they saw and thought of me. Who travel when they can (my MIL is a sick woman and most times, just cannot travel) at the drop of a hat.
My FIL hates it when I tell him that they are more my parents than my biological ones are. He gets angry, but it's the truth. It's sad, but it's the truth.
I'm going to go ahead with getting my carpets cleaned, with re-arranging my house and weeding through things. When they call again tonight, it's not me that they're going to get on the phone. It's my husband, because I don't want to deal with them. They're not the ones that are going to have to lie and tell their grandson that Grandpa and Lola won't be coming down, that the plane broke or something like that.
I won't tell him that we're not important enough compared to the grand canyon. That he's not important enough to drive 3 hours despite his cousins back in canada being important enough to drive 8-10 hours.
He's 7, he doesn't need to know that.
Please god, in your infinate wisdom, please let me be a better mother to my son and let him know that I love him so much.
Make me good.