May 10, 2016

Hey Jerk Who Tried To Ruin My Mother's Day - I Hope You're Happy.

We went to the wedding last weekend and it was wonderful. I am so so glad I went. It was a beautiful, simple ceremony overlooking a lake in CJ's hometown. We are so happy for the bride and groom and had so much fun reconnecting with family, many of whom we haven't seen in years. We danced and drank and even went out afterwards - I'm pretty proud of myself for making it to 2am for the first time in years!


We missed the girls but they had a fabulous weekend, making tons of memories (and even a mother's day gift for me) with some of their favorite people. When we got home we spent the afternoon relaxing and laughing with our babies in celebration of Mother's Day. It was truly a wonderful weekend for all of us!




But, because I'm me, it all had to end in some twisted effing way that left me on a low note rather than a high one. I got to spend Sunday night being verbally harassed through text message, for hours, by a total freaking wacko who I have only had the displeasure of meeting once in my life. I won't even bother giving her the satisfaction of more attention than she is worth by telling you who she is or all the awful things she said. Suffice it to say she's out of our lives now.

However, in its own messed up way, this experience, coupled with the events of the weekend, helped truly solidify my belief that the bonds of love are much stronger than bloodlines.

You see, we spent our weekend surrounded by the most loving, supportive people I have ever known, aside from my own family. There is so much joy in our gatherings with them. Even though it is technically CJ's "side," I feel just as comfortable with them as I do with my own. My relationship with them is something I truly cherish and one of my favorite parts of our marriage. And yet, CJ is only biologically "related" to one single person in the whole group - his mom, who was adopted as an infant.

I've never really been close to anyone who was adopted and I'll admit as a family historian, I was curious about it at first. It was always so important to me to know where I came from, in terms of both geography and genealogy. And yet, my own husband and mother-in-law do not really know. But that means very little when you see the bonds that they have with every member of their family. The love, support and laughs they share is all the evidence you need to know that biology does not determine who is part of our true family.

This fact was made even more clear to me when, while relaxing after a wonderful weekend, I was berated out of nowhere for not presenting my children like a set of show ponies to a group of relatives, who are biologically related to them but who have no more of a relationship with us than that of a casual acquaintance.

Without saying too much (it's not really my story to tell, or it wasn't, rather, until this person saw reason to drag me into it), I will say that there is a lifetime of history between these people and my husband and much that even I do not know.

It's a story like many others, of young love, a bitter divorce, and a young child stuck in the middle. I watched many friends struggle with this over the years, but it's different being on this side of it. My own parents split, amicably, when I was 21. I never knew the heartbreak of having to choose, of feeling like a failure for not doing enough to maintain a relationship with a parent. I never experienced the pain of your blood tugging you in one direction, while your heart, in an attempt to protect your soul, led you in the other.

Over our years together, I have watched my husband's relationships with these relatives go through some ups and downs, but mostly it's been radio silence on both ends. I have aided in repair attempts a few times, only to then see months go by without a word from either side. I have watched the person I love most in the world pine for a closeness that will never be with the only people he is biologically related to aside from his mother, and now his children. And it kills me, every single time, to know that it was all out of his hands long before he could even walk.

We are who we are. There is no changing someone's true nature. You can blame time, distance and other circumstance, but at the end of the day, you either try, or you don't. You either care enough to give a part of yourself, facing the risk of rejection, or you don't. And eventually, the people who are supposed to give a damn, who are supposed to stick with you through and through, will realize this, and give up.

And who can blame them? After all, when it's all they've ever known, why wouldn't they?

But sometimes, the kids grow up, they are able to take control, make their own choices and, in the best cases, a shift in the relationship occurs. Words are exchanged, forgiveness is granted for mistakes of the past and there is hope for a future. All is not lost.

Except when someone takes it upon themselves to interject, throwing off the delicate balance of this new-found acceptance. This person, taking the information they have garnered through drunken conversations, the rumor mill of a small town and their own imagination, becomes angry and resentful over something that has nothing to do with them. Then, in a fit of bitter, drunken anger, reeling from their own pain, they open their mouth and target the entirely wrong person. And all hell breaks loose.

Old wounds are reopened. More people are hurt. And those relationships that just a bit ago were on the mend are now being thrown into the fire at the hand of a stranger.

I know you're reading this, so, I hope you're happy. With your misguided accusations, disgusting lack of tact, incredibly hurtful and angry words, you single-handedly destroyed something that took years to rebuild. Up until that night, you had our sympathy, for we all know the hell you've been through. But you chose to take your pain and attack me in an attempt to make me feel sorry for things that are completely out of my control.

Thanks to your inability to control your tongue (or your alcohol) you managed to hurt the one the person you claim to care so much for, as well as the truly innocent in this situation: the great grandparents of my children, who, through no fault of their own are now going to miss out on getting to know two of the best little people in the world.

All because you feel as though you have some sort of right to try and forcefully fix this relationship that you are not a part of. Worse, you go about it in the worst possible way. As if shaming, humiliating and berating us is going to do the trick. As if we don't already know how difficult it is, for everyone involved. All because you seem to think you have some semblance of an idea about the events that transpired decades before your time in his life.

As if you have no idea that you are the very reason we have stayed away for so long. Or does your brain simply choose not to remember the last time you did this to us?

Here's the thing: you don't know us. You have no idea of what we have been though. You don't know me, and you certainly don't know my children or how I parent them. And now, thanks to your profuse word-vomit, you never will. I can only hope that you feel the regret of this choice and that it hurts, as you hurt me, although after that night I am not sure you have a heart with which to feel that pain.

We, on the other hand, we will be just fine. Better, even. For now we know: blood does not make you family. True family is built with love, respect, patience and kindness. It's giving of yourself because you want to, even if it is inconvenient or hard. Going out of your way to build trust and strengthening bonds through communication and time. It cannot be forced and it does not simply exist because 30 years ago two people made a baby together.

We know what true family is and I thank God every single day that we are surrounded by it. And now, I thank God that it will never, ever include you. In a way, I should say thank you, for taking the choice out of my hands.

Like I said, I hope you're happy. I know I am.

Xo,
Maigen 

3 comments :

Susan Connally said...

Wow... Well said!

Kate Connally said...

That was awesome.

Da'Antia Willaims said...

I have no clue what any of this is about, but it was very eloquently written. Way to stick up for yourself and your family!