Anyone with divorced parents, or friends, or other any other divorced relatives knows that divorcing one’s spouse is hard on the children…and now I know, so is divorcing one’s parents.  My mother is crazy, and not in the same “burst out in laughter in mid stride” kind of crazy like my grandmother, but in a Bible thumping, “holier than thou” and somewhat mean-spirited kind of way.  It’s sad really.

My husband’s first, and only introduction to my grandmother was several years ago when we finally had enough vacation time and money to spend on a road trip.  We went to dinner with my dear, sweet grandmother, who spent much of dinner alternately touching our son’s baby soft skin, and looking off into the distance, sort of dazed.  She chatted a little with us, but not really enough to make a huge impression.  She did that outside.  

As we were leaving, in a relatively quiet mood all around, my grandmother suddenly began cackling IN MID STRIDE.  Something someone was wearing amused her, and I do mean that it really amused her, however, the laughing fit kind of unsettled the rest of us.  It was perhaps not as unsettling as the time she ran over her glasses (because God told her to), or the time she purportedly slammed my sister’s fingers in a suitcase (God instructing her again), and certainly not as much as microwaving the cat.  My grandmother was the only person my mother DIDN’T want talking to God.  (I really don’t know if my grandmother actually microwaved my cat…or if my mother just told me that because she was pissed that my grandmother bought me a nicer, itchier, wool coat than the one she got.)

My grandmother recently passed away, my mother discovered her.  This had to be very difficult for her, but I wouldn’t know really because she decided not to tell me until five days AFTER the fact.  She was actually going to wait another couple of days, but the guilt drove her crazy so she finally called me, after she knew I’d be at work.  Thanks mom, there’s another fine memory I shall cherish always. 

She refused to tell my sister, I had to make that phone call, then we discovered the obituary.  Not only had our mother failed to tell either of us, or give us any real details about the situation, but she didn’t even include us, or my children, in our grandmother’s obituary.  All the information obtained about my grandmother’s death came from strangers.  (The funeral home people were extremely helpful, but I found the repeated use of the word “cremains“, to be a notch above the expected level of creepiness associated with funeral home people.)

This whole event was the final straw for me where my mother is concerned.  I decided after many long years of putting up with her crap that I had had enough.  I got thoroughly sloshed at some point a few days later and sent her a text message to that effect.  I hadn’t heard from her since she called to inform me of my grandmother’s passing at that point.  Her birthday came and went, I didn’t send a card (I regularly buy them and forget to send them), nor did I call to wish her a happy day.  My sister, on the other hand DID send a card, one that said, “Thanks, I will always remember what you did.”  Apparently sarcasm doesn’t come across as well through a greeting card, because although they hadn’t been on speaking terms with her for over two years, my parents called her after they got the card.  Who’d a thunk?

About a month after this entire debacle, my daugher turned 18, and a few days prior, the package arrived.  I happened to be unexpectedly unemployed at the time, so when the postman rang the bell, I was there to answer the door.  He handed me the package and I looked at it for a very long time as he was loading up the remainder of the mailboxes.  I finally said to him, “What if I don’t want it?”, he told me he’d take it back.  I asked him if I took it, and changed my mind later, if he would take it back.  He said I could just leave it outside the door the next day and he’d take it away.  I spent the next several hours with the box in my living room mocking me.  (She couldn’t pick up the phone to call me about my grandmother’s death, but she could send a package for my daughter’s birthday.)

I gave my daughter the option of whether to open or return it, she was well aware of the situation and the pain inflicted upon me due to it.  After several more hours of the box sitting there and mocking me, my husband finally told her it was time to decide.  She opened it.  Inside was the usual odd items of junk jewelry, a letter about how she and her cats and cows and chickens were faring, a little money, AND A PORTABLE DVD PLAYER.  WTH??  She lives in RURAL Texas, the nearest town with an actual electronics store is over 35 minutes away, and she most likely went to the larger town more than an hour away to pick out a very nice portable DVD player for my daughter…but she can’t pick up the phone to tell me about my grandmother.  Nice.

Had the package been addressed to me, it would have been merrily on its way back to Texas with its own message quite clearly scrawled across it, “Return to sender”.  Since it was addressed to my daughter, we’ll have to wait until November to see if another package will come.  Christmas will definitely be more difficult, my son has wanted to go back to Texas to see the farm for years, and doesn’t understand why I am just not interested.  Hopefully the package will come while he’s at school, so he doesn’t have to watch me send it back like the time he had to witness his sister and I throwing out cupcakes and singing TAPS.  He was very distraught about that little incident.

Anyway, yes, divorce is hard on the children…until the, “I’m trying to buy your love”, gifts come rolling in the door.

UPDATE:  November came and with it my birthday which was quiet and not very eventful.  Then came a card or letter.  I wrote “Return to Sender” on that bad boy and never saw it again.  Two days ago a box came, my daughter was home and she signed for it.  Again, I wrote “Return to Sender” and had her set it outside for me.  When she came home, IT WAS STILL THERE.  The mailman lied.  He didn’t take it back.  Now it’s sitting in my bedroom mocking me.  My sister says I should open it, disburse the gifts and not respond.  I wanted to send it on its merry way and be done with it.  Now I have to make an effort to get it back to the post office, or just open it.  I really don’t want to deal with it though.