Oh my gosh. It's 11:45, and MY CHILD IS NOT ASLEEP.
Oh my gosh. It's 11:45, and MY CHILD IS NOT ASLEEP.
I've just realized that November is almost over...and that I've made it through a whole month of posting everyday. I know that many of the posts haven't been 'quality' or even well-written, but I do like that I have recorded everyday stuff that previously, I might have not thought worthy of sharing. So yay! I almost want to keep it up, the posting every day thing, but seriously. December is almost here and we all know life gets crazy in December. Already I know we're taking a road trip to Louisiana in the middle of the month, which should be blog fodder for many, many posts.
Today, I had that post- holiday letdown sort of feeling. You know. You feel a little sad, for no good reason. Thomas and I took a long nap, and I was feeling cooped up in the house. Beaux was gone, hanging out with his guitar playing buddies. I decided I needed a little comfort food (Spaghetti-Os and tortilla chips) and so off we went, to our nearest Kroger.
Today's Thanksgiving the Second went smashingly. That means good, right? Smashingly good. Baking the casseroles last night was a smart move, mostly because it meant I wasn't mixing up a big mess in the kitchen, trying to clean up, yet only to make another mess right behind the cleaning. And can I just say, appetizers was the best idea ever. It was nothing fancy - Laughing Cow cheese, that big cheddar ball covered with almonds - which, on my heavens, where has THAT been all my life? - and barbequed weenies. My goal was not to have an elegant Thanksgiving, but a homey, non-burnt-turkey one, and we succeeded. It was so low stress, really, to have everything here. It was especially low stress because Thomas can do his own Thomas-thing, and climb in his high chair whenever he feels like it. Beaux and I still can't quite believe we pulled it off. It seems very adult, and responsible, which we are.
I just counted all the hats I've knitted so far for my latest project - 25 hats to send in the Christmas stockings for our Navajo friends (through my home church). So far, I have 12, plus one more that will do in a pinch, so 13. I have until December 5th to finish! Halfway through, really..I got a little off track last week, knitting a hat for my brother, for baby Elinor, and for a high school friend who paid real live MONEY for one! So I've really got to buckle down and get to knitting! The group I'm part of (you can check out the official blog here) has offered to donate hats, since I'm hoping to get the knitting hat fever going in Hattiesburg. Still, I really want to do each hat myself...I feel so tender toward these children, some of whom I've hugged and loved on. I want the hats to be a personal gift from me. Because I am selfish like that.
So, goodnight. I am off to knit, since I am wide awake, and hopefully catch up on an episode of Big Love or two. One day I am going to get really brave and do a little video, showing you how easy peasy it truly is. Stay tuned!
One of the very, very good things that came about last Friday was that I got to see a very beloved little face again...
Just for the record, here's what she used to look like:
And one of my personal all time favorites:
The Green Bean Kid!!!
This is how Thomas felt about it:
He was super delighted, if you can't tell, to have someone so awesome to ride around alongside...the GBK sang him a Miley Cyrus song, complete with hand motions, that he did his very best to copy. Seriously, he was so thrilled to see her, he had a big wide grin on his face for the rest of the day.
There was a jumping contest...
Up and down the sidewalk...
Mushroom inspection...Thomas has no idea what's going on, but he's ALL IN, dude.
Her hair is hippie wild, very Janis Joplin. I can't believe how tall she is, with noodle long arms and legs. She is just as full of ideas and thoughts and scenarios as she's ever been...we talked about her upcoming birthday party (a tea party, but NOT a fancy one where you have to be careful and quiet, a FUN one!) and how she wants a rainbow hat and scarf...I told her I could definitely do it by her birthday, but not Christmas, just not enough time...
Thomas: "She blinded me with science..."
One of my favorite moments of the whole day was when Thomas let loose a total boy toot - the GBK giggled and said, "Good one, Thomas!" That is a stand up girl right there, for sure. She was such a good sport about hanging out with a 2 year old for the afternoon.
Her mama really did save my entirely frustrating day, and it was just like old times: we loaded Thomas into her van, he napped while we ate french fries and got caught up on each other's news...such a good thing.
But the best thing of all was watching these two kiddos enjoy each other, and to know that I had two of my top favorite children together again. Viva Le Green Bean Kid!
This is a quick post - Thomas has had a fever off and on all day today, and right now he's sobbing in my bed, because going to sleep by yourself is SO HARD, MAMA.
This is how obsessed I am about knitting these days, that I have to take a picture of the sample in the store so I can remember the color combination - I think it will make a super funky hat.
And here is baby Elinor, wearing a hat I made for her. She is the sleeping-est baby I ever did meet, and she's nothing but darling.
More tomorrow, and I have a clue for you, four words: The Green Bean Kid!!!!
It's hard to talk about family stuff, especially on the big wide Internet. I know that once you leave something here, it's done, and it's out "there" forever. At this point, I honestly don't care, and feel like writing it out will help my brain and my heart, all twisted together, immensely.
For the most part, our family gets together very well. We really do. Right now I am annoyed with brother, mostly because I think he's thoughtless, and he made the past two days a thousand times more difficult than they should have been. He has no idea how hard it is to keep a two-year-old entertained on the fly. Still, I love him, and realize that he just doesn't get it. We don't fight, not really, and sometimes I think it's because we don't know how. My relationship with my parents is sincerely good, and I talk to my mother nearly every day - probably six out of seven. We try to be honest with each other, at least Mom and Dad and I do, and we don't keep secrets. The thing we're most honest about is how difficult it is to deal with my grandpa.
Growing up, I adored my Grandpa. He is my father's dad, and going "home" meant time riding on four wheelers with dogs, rounding up cows, checking on the endless details a farm involves...and I pretty much followed Grandpa around as much as I was allowed. I loved it.
Fishing. Picking locust shells off the tree trunks, my most favorite thing to do as a three year old. Sitting in the back of the truck, waiting on whatever Grandpa had to do, talking and singing to the cows. Watching him worm the cows was another favorite thing, so much so that he would wait until I was visiting so I could witness the process. (It sounds gross, but the exciting part was getting the cows into the shoot, a big clampy thing, and then it just a matter of squirting the medicine down the cow's throat.) Sitting down by the pond and watching for water moccasins, which he would shoot with his gun. Riding the four wheeler through the woods, checking on the trees and the land. When I was two and three, Mom and I lived down the road from my grandparents, while my dad was stationed in Korea. Notoriously tenderheaded to this day, I would only allow my Grandpa to brush my hair. He swabbed all my bobos with 'red medicine' (mercurochome). I have endless good memories of those days, and feel blessed that I had such sweet days as a kid.
Still, there were moments. The summer that Christopher and I stayed with my grandparents for a whole month, there was the watermelon incident. All I know is that I didn't like watermelon, and yet every single day, my Grandpa made me eat watermelon. For years afterward I refused to eat it, just because I'd been forced to eat watermelon that summer.
We moved back to Mississippi in time for me to start my freshman year of high school. There was one week or so when Christopher and I stayed with Grandma and Grandpa, I think Mom had gone back to North Carolina to help Daddy move some of our stuff. At this point, I had a boyfriend, and I was a typical teenager - I loved to talk on the phone with my boyfriend. I had the radio going in my room, playing music, and I probably didn't come when I was called, or ignored my Grandma when she asked me to help. I still couldn't tell you what happened, but all I know is that my Grandpa cornered me and gave me a piece of his mind. I have no idea what he said, but it was tremendously hurtful. Nothing was ever the same between us after that. I was so hurt and heartbroken and geniuinely confused as to why he was so angry.
And this is the thing: whatever he says, it sounds so benign when I set it on paper. He has never cursed at me, or hit me, or anything like that. It's just this dreadful meanness and hatefulness that I can't understand. It's one thing when someone says to you that you don't want to hear, but they say it with love. I can handle that, even I with my major defensive issues. But I can't handle cold hatefulness.
My dad and Grandpa have always had their issues. To this day, Grandpa treats him like a child. And over the years, if he could speak to me alone, he would say something mean and hurtful. He would never say anything to me in front of Beaux, or my parents, or certainly not Grandma. He's sneaky. I'll go to hug him, and he'll get in some aside. He thinks that I am useless, romantic, that I have my head in the clouds. He loves to make remarks on how I should be a good wife, take care of my husband. If I ever come for a visit without Beaux, he always wants to know what is Beaux going to do, having to fend for himself. Those sort of things I can laugh off, and chalk up to a different generation.
At one point, he called me to say that he and Grandma were so hurt that they'd never been invited to my home. (This was before Thomas.) First of all, if you're family, just get over it. There is no formal invitation, come when you want. It just didn't occur to me that they would want to come. Also, hospitality is not my gift, and I am just now getting to the point where I like having people in my living space. So, we ended up having his family birthday celebration at our place, and made fried chicken. I think we all had to sit on couches because all of our chairs were dicey antiques and had a bad habit of breaking unexpectedly. Still, all this time I have tried to still honor him, because he's my only grandfather, because of all the good memories I have of him.
It sometime around this time, though, that I told him to stop calling me, that I knew what he was up to. I called him out on it, for waiting until Grandma wasn't around - he liked to call me from her cell phone while she was in doctor's appointments. I told him he was being ugly and if called again, I would hang up or hand the phone to my husband. He respects my husband, so he stopped doing that.
The odd thing is, he's generous. He prides himself on "being good" to his family, like his father was to his mother. But taking his gifts comes with a price. I have no doubt that I could ask them tomorrow for money for a down payment for a house, and they would write me a check. (Except that Grandpa would insist on going to the bank and depositing it himself.) Obviously, I have not wanted to be obligated to them for anything like that.
Things have gotten worse as he grows older, especially with his macular degeneration. We all understand how frightening it must be to lose his sight. He's had diabetes for years, and is now so very thin. My dad is fairly sure he's now suffering from dementia. My grandfather's dad had dementia and it changed him in all sorts of ways. He was very mean, as well, and especially hurtful to my grandma. Yet, I know this doesn't all have to do with bad health, since the meanness started years ago, and he's always been a controlling, selfish person.
Still, this past year has been the worst so far. There was one time I was home with Thomas, and Grandpa was truly ugly to him. He treated him like a dog, and slapped his hand when Thomas didn't do something to his liking. I was so angry. I was so mad at myself, most of all, for thinking I could trust him to be kind to his own great-grandchild. That day, I made my anger known, and refused to go back down to their house for supper. The hard part is that I can't be with my Grandma, because Grandpa is always there. I love to talk with her, and help her in the kitchen, but I simply cannot take Thomas to their house without my mom or some other adult to keep an eye on Thomas. It doesn't help that their house is a childproofing nightmare. Grandma knows how hard it is for me to be around Grandpa, and Lord knows it's difficult for her...she is stuck with his demands everyday.
He was rude to me during the rehearsal dinner at Christopher's wedding, and asked me when I was going to teach my son "children should be seen and not heard." Infuriating. I would like to meet the person who COULD make a two-year-old be seen and not heard on command. And then, the cherry on top of all this: yesterday, as I was driving up to Hattiesburg for my mom's surgery, I called my grandparents. I just wanted to let them know I'd see them later in the day, since I knew we were all coming back for a family birthday supper. Grandpa answered the phone, and when I said that I'd be back later for supper, he said, "Well, there you go, depending on Grandma to do everything for you." I told him that I would be glad to come help her, if she needed help. The day was just wonky and I didn't end up coming back in time to help. And still - I couldn't go there, just me and Thomas. There was no way in hell I would ever, ever leave Thomas alone with him. Last night, as I was leaving, he loaded me up with a huge bag of satsumas. He even tried to give me a ham, and I told him, no, just bring it next week when you come for Thanksgiving. Everyone else had gone ahead to Mom and Dad's, and I was walking to my car, he said, "You're a fine dandy, running over all the place when you should be helping your mama."
That was it. I was so angry, and I am still angry. Mostly because he has no idea. He has no clue that of course I have offered to help, and am on standby to relieve my dad at any point. It's hurtful because it's not true. It's hurtful because he just seems to hate me, and I can't figure out why. I think it's because I'm all grown up, and I don't worship him any more. I am beyond his control. Last night I told my brother and new sister-in-law - "Y'all enjoy him, because I'm through with him. I don't care if the next time I see him is at his funeral." I wish I had the guts to uninvite him to Thanksgiving, even. But I am through being nice, and respectful, and that may be the last time I speak to him. I came home last night, and sobbed on the couch with Beaux. It's a horrible, awful thing to wish that you could simply be done with a family member. I wish it wasn't this way. I just don't know what to do anymore, but I am done. So very done with all his bullshit.