Since moving to Wisconsin, I’ve maintained two addresses – our home address as well as a postal box. I’ve been transitioning my personal mail to the house address, but I keep the box open for things relating to Mike’s death – creditor letters, estate requests, correspondence from his parents.
I checked the box just before Christmas. Nothing from his family. Not surprised. We hadn’t heard anything from them since the weirdo birthday cards for the kids and the message that she left months ago. (Nope, never called her back. Figured if it was important, she would call again or just send the info in the mail.)
We don’t go to the box often. There’s really not much coming there anymore. But Ethan and I were out running around last weekend, and I popped in to get the mail.
Tons of catalogues. Creditor letter for Mike. Random crap for my mom. I almost missed the two envelopes. I started to open the one addressed to the kids, but stopped. I decided to let Ethan open it.
I handed him the envelope and mustered up my cheery voice, “Oh look, Eth! I think this might be a card for you and Lauren!”
He reached for it and tore it open. He read it aloud. I asked to see it.
The cover of the card read: To my granddaughter and my “grandson.”
“What the hell is wrong with these idiots?” I thought. This isn’t a card for kids. It’s a card that a grandparent would send to her GROWN granddaughter and her granddaughter’s HUSBAND – hence, the quotation marks around “grandson.” (I hate grammatical and punctuation stupidity, so this offense was particularly…offensive.)
There was some mushy bullshit preprinted in the inside of the card, along with a brief handwritten note: “Ethan and Lauren, the best part of this time of year is thinking about both of you. Love, Grandpa and Grandma (LAST NAME).”
So, they only think about their ONLY grandkids around the holidays? Nothing about “hope you had a good Christmas” or “would love to hear about school” or “maybe we can come see you sometime.” Nothing about “we still have your dad’s Christmas presents from LAST YEAR that we want to give you.” Nothing about “we’ll be sending all your dad’s stuff that your mom requested at the funeral because it’s stuff she wanted to give TO YOU BOTH !” Absolutely nothing else in the card – no gift cards, not a check or a savings bond. Nothing.
My kids don’t need anything. I’m providing for them just fine. But a stranger (to them) sent holiday gift cards, and their grandparents sent… only a crappy-ass card?
I set the card aside and picked up the second envelope from them. This one was addressed to me. “Maybe they’re sending the kids’ gifts to me?” I thought, knowing that wouldn’t be the case. “Maybe this is an apology letter,” I thought, knowing I was wrong.
Nope. Envelope number two contained no handwritten note or even a “hope you’re all okay” note. It was just a statement from the storage company that the rate on Mike’s unit was increasing as of January 1.
And so, as I approach the one year anniversary of Mike’s death, he’s still gone and the in-laws are still assholes.
Oh my goodness. At first, I was all “Oh look! They’re TRYING to be real grandparents now!!” But no. I mean, maybe in their weird way they are, but something tells me that perhaps a lot of what was wrong with Mike, perhaps was a direct result of his own childhood and their parenting skills. Sad.
Yeah, I know! I think a lot of Mike’s demons were a direct result of his childhood, definitely. But I get sad when Ethan asks why they don’t visit, or why they don’t this or that. How do you tell a kid that his grandparents are assholes? I mean, he’ll figure it out eventually, but in the meantime…
Holy crap. I think you are both right – that a lot of Mike’s issues were the direct result of their parenting… or lack thereof. I can’t imagine being Ethan’s age and wondering why your grandparents aren’t being grandparents. But I hope (and imagine) over time these awkward cards will be fewer and farther between… and you and the kids can focus on the amazing, positive, and PRESENT people in your life!