The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

This Is How You Want To Play It?? Taking A Higher Road.

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More than three or so days of calm have been lovely. No word from my step-daughter, so Nat and I assumed all was done. My last email to her had rebuffed a couple of her accusations, explained why I did what I did with her mother’s ring (God, that little faux pas is going to haunt me to my grave if she has her way!!!!), and then went on to explain and apologize for the lack of family get-togethers. All would be rectified from here on in. Nat read the email and also thought it was fair and sincere. The silence was at least golden for several days. Even had a really great time Saturday night at Tam’s potluck supper. Laughs all around and just plain good food and fun.

Monday morning, neither one of us had seen the next scenario coming – we were both blind-sided. Nat returned from his acupuncture session as I was sitting at the computer with my jaw dropped and literally falling off the desk as I read yet another email she had sent. I was dumb-founded, totally taken back, totally surprised and broke out in tears immediately. I couldn’t believe what I was reading – she had taken my apology and turned it right back at me. Who in hell could see that coming – but of course, in prior arguments with her Dad in the past, she’s done exactly the same thing. During my 20 years of marriage to her Dad she has never once taken the blame for anything involving her, has a knack of making herself look good in her Father’s eyes and can make me look like the villain she seems to think I am. I have to admit – she’s bloody good!!!!!  The worse part is her Dad doesn’t see any of this naturally, and is blind to exactly what she is doing. He would, of course, it’s his daughter and he’s a man!

As usual, the rest of the day was ruined by more discussions, more arguments, more explanations (from me, of course), and more tears and silence as we sat and contemplated what to do next. The two of us literally sat in the living room the rest of the entire day – my baking now on hold – sometimes in silence and sometimes trying to understand what the hell was going on.

This email had taken my words out of context, had been misread, misunderstood and mis-interpreted. I can only surmise that she had read my apologetic email in anger and assumed I wrote the same in anger. She couldn’t have been more further from the truth. Naturally, she never acknowledged my concerns about her treatment of me in the past, only insulted my intelligence about depression (her mom had suffered, too), accused me of knowing about past events between herself and her father (he has a habit of not telling some things to me in order to ‘keep the peace’), brought up that damn ring again (partially my fault as I misinterpreted the box it was in – not actually “her mother’s jewellery box”, as I mistakingly put it), and truly thought she had made my life a little better since I’ve been married to her father. Seriously!!!! This woman really has an inflated impression of herself – at least from my point of view.

Suddenly I became totally distraught. Nat, too, was beside himself and neither one of us could understand why this whole thing was continuing. We argued and debated about the “interpretation” of these emails, how they were read and misunderstood by all three of us who had read them. My emotions now were out of control and I felt like I had to leave. I called a couple of sisters to cry on their shoulders and hopefully get some sisterly advice and help me see clearer from an outsider’s point of view. Alas, my timing was really bad – one was so busy I couldn’t in all conscious disturb or interrupt her and the other wasn’t home. It figured – 2015 is turning out to be totally topsy turvy. So it was I returned to the living room and Nat to sit in total silence staring out the window in utter disbelief that this was our reality.

Monday night came along and Nat decided to give her another call to ask her what in hell she was playing at – that we had apologized and what more could be said. He also mentioned that we should all sit down together and talk face-to-face, but she felt she couldn’t, as it was going to take her a long time to get over this. AGAIN, she turned it around on me. Now, all of a sudden I was being accused of taking her son’s name off of our Friends List on Facebook, was pissed off that I had emailed her daughter  and mentioned we only gave our grandchildren $25.00 each one holiday. Where, on Earth, did this all come from. Each of her concerns were answered away – the Facebook thing was a short-time error after some reorganization of my page; I emailed two step-granddaughters (one to congratulate on her new digs for University in the Fall, and to her daughter to apologize about her dog being sick and saying we should hold a big family BBQ to meet her new live-in boyfriend). The $25.00 gift to all 4 grandkids one year was really below the belt and a bit greedy on her part.

So this is how she wanted to play this whole thing!  I knew it was going to be a good sleepless night of deep thinking – do I leave this family for the sake of my own mental health – do I dare respond with yet another God damned email – do I drive to her home and confront her head on (this I couldn’t do, I’d probably knock her bloody head off) – do I just get hubby to try and explain, again – do I land on a sister’s doorstep for a couple of days to cool off and get some sisterly love and advice (I’m thinking really hard about this one) – do I sit down with her sister (who has also been jilted a few times by her own kin) and see how she feels (this little deed would, I’m sure, really explode in my face) – or do I just put up and shut up hoping this whole bloody affair will blow over but leave for some very tense family get-togethers.

After almost sleeping in and missing my pill routine, I finally awoke Tuesday morning. Hubby did his crosswords, while I sat in silence. That elephant was still in the room and I wanted it gone – NOW. With some trepidation, I started up the conversation (or, shall we say, a deeply heated discussion)  with hubby. It was very apparent from the look on his face he was totally deflated from this whole affair. After all, his beloved daughter had long-seeded anger issues with him, too, that have never really been resolved and he was totally bewildered by. The more we talked, the more muddier things got. The only way to resolve this whole bloody issue was to talk personally – DUH! What I had been arguing for for years, but no one took up the gauntlet.

During our talks, I mentioned that I’d be willing to actually call his daughter and apologize for this whole thing – from the very beginning of answering her first email – I’ll take the blame (I did answer in anger and lit the fuse) – tell her I meant no harm and hopefully this whole affair would be ended. At this point I have to give hubby his dues – he did admit that his daughter was, in fact, to blame for some of this in how she wrote her first email in a very defensive mode. I was willing to take the high road and all of the blame just to end this thing. He queried back “You would actually call her and apologize?” Yep, damn right, I can’t take this anymore. We’re both emotionally drained, I’m tired and can’t get on with my life until this whole affair is put behind us. I suppose this was surprising to hubby as his daughter and I have never conversed for any length of time on the phone.

After 6:00 PM, when I figured his daughter would be home from work, I called. I got her message machine, but decided to leave my sincere apologies for starting this whole mess, that I now understood where she was coming from about her Mother’s ring and that if she had any concerns or questions to please call me back. Jesus, who knew – she did! So, believe it or not, we had a nice, albeit short, talk and she was quite intelligent about the whole thing. I also expressed my apologies for her dog that was going in for surgery the next day. She still expressed a few anger issues regarding her father – but that, too, I knew she had misunderstood, but I wasn’t going to take this any further and kept my mouth shut. All was good – all was peaceful again.

I recognize I’m an adult – a senior citizen according to  Government definition – and I can rise above this whole affair over a younger woman that has yet to act her age.  As I look back at my years married to her father I’ve seen a lot of immaturity in this daughter, a lot of self-pity and a lack of knowledge in events surrounding her and the World. I’ve never seen her volunteer to help others, or give of her time if needed. Her husband did a lot for her during their marriage – cooking, decorating ideas, and taking initiatives.  She’d never just “drop by” for a visit with her Dad nor did she confide in him (or her sister) during her separation, plus she’s never asked for her Father’s advice during any emotional or financial crisis. I see a very aloof, lonely and immature girl who is unable to converse with adults about world events, politics, health and welfare, local issues and events and so much more. My life experiences well outweigh anything she’ll understand. This is why I apologized.

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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