I don’t know why I opened it. I’ve never opened one before. But something just… MADE me open it. Thank goodness I did.
It’s been a month since I picked up mail at my PO box. Everything “real” and important (i.e., bills) has been rerouted to my house, and the only things that still go to the mailing location are addressed to Mike – or from his parents.
It was a birthday card for Ethan. Just a card, nothing else. But it was what was written inside that really pissed me off.
In its entirety (spelling, grammar, punctuation errors belong to them):
Just remembering all the great times we spent together makes us smile. Thank you for being such an amazing grandson. Warm wishes for a Happy Birthday to you.
We look at your pictures and see how much you look like your father. We wish we could see you and share pictures and stories of your dad while he was growing up.
We pray your safe and happy each night.
“All Our Love”
Grandma and Grandpa
Allow me to break this down:
The time “we spent together” amounted to MAYBE twice a year for a day or two each time. And during those times, Mike’s parents spent almost no time interacting with the kids. They would sit on the couch and watch, but not talk to or play or engage with Ethan or Lauren in any way. And they took every opportunity to NOT be in the same room as the kids…
“We wish we could see you” – this is probably the most offensive and inappropriate line in the entire note. If Mike’s parents were interested in seeing my kids, all they’d have to do would be call. I’ve told numerous people IRL that I’d allow them to see the kids (supervised, of course) if they reached out. It is NOT my obligation to reach out to them. However, in the interest of Ethan and Lauren, I would allow them to see their grandparents – IF their grandparents wanted a relationship with them.
My offense comes from including this in a note to a child – I’ve sheltered the kids from all the asshole things their grandparents have done before, during and since Mike’s death. And for them to include this line without context (like they haven’t even TRIED to see the kids), is amazingly inappropriate. I AM NOT THE ONE KEEPING THEM OUT OF MY KIDS’ LIVES, but I will not pawn my kids off on people who don’t want to see them (again, it would just take a phone call if the grandparents truly want to see E and L).
“Share pictures and stories of your dad while he was growing up” – this is another head scratcher for me. I have the handful of photos that exist of Mike as a kid. His parents’ basement flooded years ago and almost all their family photos were destroyed. And of the few photos that were saved, his parents couldn’t distinguish between Mike and his brother as kids. (Really? What kind of parents can’t tell their kids apart – the two don’t look ANYTHING alike and are four years apart in age!) Same thing with stories about the boys’ childhoods – his parents ALWAYS got the stories wrong (Mike’s stories were attributed to his brother and vice versa.)
I won’t even bother nitpicking the grammar and punctuation errors.
I decided not to share this card with Ethan. In fact, this makes me want to close the mailing address so I (the kids) won’t receive this kind of correspondence from them anymore.