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Mama, I’m Comin Home*

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Autumn brings with it bountiful harvests and a time for thanksgiving. Last year, Hubs and I sat in a barely furnished house with no Macy’s Parade of football while one of those (soon to be discovered by us, DISGUSTING) processed turkey breast baked away in the oven. It was depressing and all I wanted to do was cry. We were celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas all in one weekend as deployment was days away. Military life finally made me realize how I missed my family, however dysfunctional they are. Oh, and trust me: you couldn’t script the crazy my family is.

When I knew we would be going home (home, home) this autumn I knew it was going to be a whirlwind! We’re meeting the movers, packing our stuff and heading back home (to California home). I knew the one thing I wanted was to celebrate the family I hadn’t seen in a year and that I might not see for the next two years! I planned a fun “feast of Thanksgiving” for the Sunday we’ll be in town. Then the question arose: since it’s a family gathering, do I invite my mother? The mother whom I haven’t spoken to since around November 2009? The mother who I was made to invite to my wedding, and who didn’t even bring a card? (I know it’s petty that I hold onto that, and I own that, but I mean: who goes to an event such as a wedding and doesn’t even take or send a card?)

I e-mailed Dr. J (my life coach, not the famous basketball player) and outlined the three possibilities

  1. I do not send her an invitation. She catches word that there was a family event she was excluded from, but I’m already gone and she takes it out on my grandmother (since it will be at Nan’s house).
  2. I send an invitation and she thinks I’m a “C U Next Tuesday” by having the audacity to invite her out of the blue. She thinks she is being spiteful and doesn’t come. (this is the best case scenario in my book)
  3. I send an invitation and she thinks I’m a “C U Next Tuesday” but actually comes (out of spite, because she is hateful) and I have to slap a smile on and play it cool. (this is the worst case scenario in my book)

Dr. J called me this morning and we talked about it. After much prayer and discussion with both Nan and him, we came to a conclusion. I send her the invitation, fly into the freak show that is my family (Hubs calls it a war zone and I think he would take a year in A-Stan over a three-hour family get-together with my mother in attendance, true story, no exaggeration.) and let the pieces fall where they may. I do not own their reactions because quite frankly, when it comes to my family, there is no right.

The adorable invitation/notes sent out to family asking them to join us! Oh yeah, I use the very things I sell!

 I’m not going to lie: her “note” is a little snarky and more to inform her it is happening than to invite her to join in. I’m trying God, I’m trying, just not hard enough when it comes to the woman who has hurt me for the last 27 years of my life. (Well, 27 years as of next week! Man, I’m getting old!)

Next step is to work out a survival strategy in the event she actually shows her face. If you are reading this thinking “what in the world is that girl’s problem?” think of it like this: my mother is worse than the worst mother-in-law horror story you have ever heard. I’ll be sure to share how it goes down and my survival strategy with you all once Dr. J and I come up with it!

How do you handle those horrific family members or in-laws? I am not looking forward to being home with my family. I am only very, very, very excited to be home with Nan!

Oh, and I thought I would make this my song of the week for Amber’s link up!

“Times have changed and times are strange
Here I come but I ain’t the same
Mama, I’m comin home
Times go by, seems to be
You could have been a better friend to me
Mama, I’m comin home

You took me in and you drove me out
Yeah, you had me hypnotized, yeah
Lost and found and turned around
By the fire in your eyes

You made me cry, you told me lies
But I can’t stand to say goodbye
Mama, I’m comin home
I could be right, I could be wrong
It hurts so bad it’s been so long
Mama, I’m comin home”

I’m gearing up and am ready for the inevitable emotional journey that will be going home this time.

*Oh, you didn’t think I was an Ozzy type of gal, huh? Well, I am!

About Elizabeth

Paleo wife on 150lb weightloss journey documenting life, marriage, health & military move to Okinawa! Tough Mudder (Nov '12) and Stella & Dot Stylist!

4 responses »

  1. Having come from and still dealing with my share of family crazies at nearly twice your age, I can only offer a few words of advice… you can accept that things simply aren’t going to change no matter what YOU try to do and then simply decide whether you want to put yourself through it or not, you can continue the dance of anger and passive aggression over things past that can’t be changed (but remind yourself that behavior like that on your part is its own brand of crazy) and try to get Mom to change (chances are good nothing you say or do will prompt that tho), or you can set a good example of how to be a healthy, happy adult who realizes that not every battle is meant to be won, and that the energy expended in trying to do anything but that is energy wasted on something fruitless, when it could be expended on what you’re really going there for – and that’s a happy, loving holiday get together with the family.

    The hardest thing I think I ever had to do with the main nut that fell from my family tree – my brother (untreated PTSD from Nam, alcohol abuse, drug use, political fanaticism, and god only knows what else) was to tell him that I simply loved him and myself too much to see us battling through what was obviously a toxic relationship. That was about 4 years ago – and this is not the first time we’ve gone that long without interacting. He balked at first, trying to call and e-mail, but I stood my ground, and while I miss the young guy that I used to be able to talk to about virtually anything, he is no longer that man, and I have to accept it and ultimately he has to accept my decision to not be in contact with him until he can figure things out. By the way, my sister is close to making the same decision, and after a few trips to the hospital from encounters with him, my mother has also learned that sometimes it’s best to not put herself in a situation that can be truly life-threatening. He still doesn’t get it though. Of course there’s more to the story that would prove out our side and explain why I feel the way I do, but no one, absolutely no one should have to put up with an abusive personality unless it’s by choice.

    Now… my ex in-laws… I could write a book! But that’s part of the reason they’re my ex in-laws.

    Good luck my friend,

  2. I wish you the best of luck!! I am glad you will get to see your Nan and your fam for a few hours and your hubby is a trooper to attend 🙂 “freast of thanksgiving” sounds great to me!

  3. Oh man…I have a TON to say about this one! My husband came from a whole mess of craziness. I won’t air the specifics of their dirty laundry, but believe me – chock full o’ crazy. I don’t know how my husband is as sane as he is after growing up in that house (which technically he didn’t – he moved out on his own when he was 11).

    I’m sure you already know that the Bible is full of verses telling you to forgive others and love them. I fully stand behind all of those verses, but the forgiveness is for you, not for them. It’s so that you can get rid of all of the bitterness, anger, resentment, and negativity in your own life/heart. It’s not about validating their crazy or telling them that the way they treat you is ok.

    I greatly admire my husband in this area. He still has a ton of unresolved issues and anger with his family, but he is starting to forgive the past so that he can move on and be happy. When he hangs out with them now, he sets very strict boundaries. They are not in charge of his life anymore and for him to show them the person he had become and to prove that he would not be manipulated by them, he had to put his foot down (a lot). If we are at his familiy’s house and they start fighting, he steps in and says that if that continues, we’re leaving (which we have done). If they are at our place and arguments arise, he firmly lets them know that that kind of behavior is not welcome in our house and if they want to continue it, they can do it outside.

    Every person is different and it sounds like your mom would react a lot differently than my husband’s family, but the boundaries have worked for us. It sounds much more complicated with you, because poor Nan is right in the middle of it all, but there is a way that will work for you, too.

    There is hope…I promise! Maybe your mom will never change, but it doesn’t mean you will always be dragged down by her. You’re grown, married, and have left your family and cleaved to your husband, so your mom is losing more and more power by the day (which I’m sure she absolutely hates!). You have Nan, Hubs, and God on your side – there’s no way craziness will win. 🙂

  4. Amazing song choice! However, the happiness and sadness streaming from the story leave me in awe. I have similar situations in my crazed family as well, which leaves me to believe that no family should ever stay in the same location for years upon years upon years without leaving to see the REAL world. Life is never SEVENTH HEAVEN-esque when relatives live closer to each other. It’s more like Everyone loves raymond meets roseanne, meets married with children with a splash of the war in afghanistan and crazy.

    I’m sorry you’re going through this, and I wish you the best times, and pray that relationships can be restored for you. Family is amazing when agendas, personal feelings, and the past are excluded. ❤


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