Wednesday, September 26, 2007

And to add confusion to the mix

Is omission lying? If it is, I haven't been entirely honest with you guys about something.

I have two daughters, but only one is biological. One of them, Wild, is my stepdaughter. I have been "mom" to her since she was five and she has lived exclusively with us the entire time, so I view her as my daughter, rather than a stepdaughter. Make sense?

Why am I telling you this, you ask? Well, it's simple. After ten years of complete and absolute absence, Wild's "real" mom is trying really hard to be in the picture and I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. Because it's not just Wild she's trying to cultivate a relationship with, it's her ex-husband, my Hubby. She calls him nearly daily now, just to talk and looking for advice. She e-mails him and texts him and quite frankly, I'm getting a bit irritated about it. Who the hell does she think she is, being absent for a decade then suddenly deciding she can be buddy-buddy with MY husband and Wild?

Don't get me wrong, I think every kid should have a relationship with their parent, even if that parent has been consciously absent since she was an infant. I've encouraged Wild to try to have a relationship with her mother and I've never, ever stood in the way of that relationship. It was her mother who couldn't seem to get her shit together to develop a relationship with Wild. I can't even count how many birthdays and Christmases Wild got through broken-hearted because her mother couldn't remember to call or at least send a card. I don't know how many times I've had to sit and gently, lovingly explain to Wild that it's not HER fault that her mother doesn't want to have a relationship with her and that there is nothing wrong with Wild to make her mother dislike her. Those are never fun conversations to have with a sobbing kid. How many times did that woman call and make promises to a hopeful 8-year-old "I promise I'll write...I promise I'll call...I promise...I promise...I promise," and then not uphold a single promise? Can you even begin to imagine how that shatters a kid? The one person in the whole world who is supposed to love you and protect you more than anyone else can't even take five minutes to call and just say "Happy birthday."

Her mother's inability to be a mother has affected Wild in so many ways. The anger, the depression, the feelings of abandonment. How can a mother do that to her kid?

I didn't have a relationship with my father for years and now he's dead and I regret we didn't have a better relationship. I don't want Wild to ever regret not having, or at least trying to have, a relationship with her mother. I won't get in the way of that and I'll be here if she needs me.

So, while I won't stand in the way of Wild developing a relationship with her mother, I think I'm going to have to put my foot down when it comes to her cultivating some kind of friendship with my husband. Because you know what? She already tossed him aside once. She doesn't deserve anything beyond basic civility from him.

Discuss Wild, sure, she is their daughter, afterall, but he is NOT her sounding board nor is he her advice guru.

And to top it all off, she asked to talk to me a few days ago. As if somehow I want to be her friend now. She wanted to thank me for raising her daughter. THANK ME! It's a good thing my momma taught me that if I can't say something nice, not to say anything at all. And it's a good thing that advice stuck because I managed to keep my mouth shut. The words running through my head would have made a sailor blush.

17 comments:

DelorumRex said...

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peace

Marriage-101 said...

Woh, sounds like she's trying to move in on your family. Hmmm...I hope her motives are purely to reconnect with her biological daughter and not with your husband. I wouldn't trust her!

Krista said...

Wow, that sounds like a tough situation you are in. I would have to say (if you haven't already done this) just have a conversation with your husband about her. Make SURE he knows you're not accusing him of anything, but just tell him that the amount of time SHE wants to spend/talk to him is making you really uncomfortable. If he understands where you're coming from hopefully it will head off any weirdness in the future. Also, you have a right to have your husband, like you said he's not hers anymore.
Kudos to you for not standing in the way of her relationship with her daughter (shoddy as it is), but she has no right to your husband.
I'll be praying for you!

Lisa said...

You handled her and the entire situation far more gracefully than I would have. My hat is off to you, my dear.

Wendy said...

Oh, how annoying!!

Maintain calm!She'll probably flake out again, right? Then you'll be the rock to lean on again.

The story angle on this is very interesting, though, you must admit. You without a dad and now you have a child without a parent (or a shaky one at best). If you were the kid (again), what would you want you to do?

Alicia said...

Can you even begin to imagine how that shatters a kid? The one person in the whole world who is supposed to love you and protect you ...

Her mother's inability to be a mother has affected Wild in so many ways. The anger, the depression, the feelings of abandonment.


Yes, I can imagine, having been through that with my own father. It really has repercussions throughout a person's life. I hope that Wild's processing of this loss -- for it has been a loss -- will be easier for having had you as a true mother for her.

I don't want Wild to ever regret not having, or at least trying to have, a relationship with her mother. I won't get in the way of that and I'll be here if she needs me.

So, while I won't stand in the way of Wild developing a relationship with her mother, I think I'm going to have to put my foot down when it comes to her cultivating some kind of friendship with my husband.


The other thing you have to watch out for is protecting Wild from abandonment again. (Think "Kramer vs. Kramer" -- If you've never seen it, do!) I had to do this with my own kids: After Nick died, his relatives came out of the woodwork fawning over Rock and HardPlace -- for about 8 or 9 months. Then the relatives got bored and faded away, leaving my kids wondering what happened to the attention and family concern.

Enlist your husband in helping to protect Wild from this kind of pain: It would be a double whammy for her to feel rejected by her birthmother TWICE. And yes: Protect your marriage as well.

nell said...

I second what Krista said, make sure you and your husband are on the same page so that together the two of you can be there for Wild if her mom flakes out again. Good luck, I'll be thinking of you.

Oh, and as for the lie by omission part? I would have done the same thing. You raised her, she's your daughter, anyone who reads the way that you write about her on your blog could never doubt for a second that she is yours.

lov grma said...

Have that talk with Hubby, some men, don't see the fire before it gets to them, so he needs you to talk too. Then the both of you be there side by side for Wild.
Wild knows in her heart how much she means to you and always will. She also knows about her birthmom, and won't forget that either.
My heart goes out to all of you.

Ninja Of The Mundane said...

My thoughts:

1. What's your husband's take on all this? To what extent does he indulge his ex? Has he shown you the e-mails?

2. Has the ex's life circumstances changed? Is she living a more stable life? Have a job and some self-sufficiency? Completed any kind of rehab if that's the issue? Found religion? What I'm really getting at, I guess, is whether there's anything fundamentally different about her that leads you to believe this could be a real and lasting effort ... and not just another God-I'm-really-trying-to-get-it-together flake-out in the making?

3. What's Wild saying? Is she jumping at the chance to know her mother? Or has she been burned so many times that she'd holding back, waiting and watching? To what extent do you think Wild's present-day problems can be traced to this volatile history with her mother?

Nancy @ World Wide Rolves said...

Crikey! I ditto all of the above about protecting Wild and your marriage.

Sona said...

All I can say is you are her mother because you are the one who has been there to shape the person she is becoming.

I could say something snarky about the bio-mom stepping in once all the hard work has been done, but I'll refrain.

You got some good advice up there ^^ - heed it.

Dorky Dad said...

I personally think that you have the right idea. I also don't understand how any parent would consider abandoning their child ...

slackermommy said...

Wow that's a tough situation you are in. I can understand wanting Wild to have a relationship with her mom but also your concerns that she might get hurt. I'm sorry, I have no advice. This is one for Dr. Phil.

Beth said...

I totally agree with what you said. She can have a relationship with her daughter if she wants it, but NOT with your husband. And she also needs to remember who has been the REAL mother to Wild.

Jenn said...

Thank you guys! I finally talked to Hubby about my concerns with her getting all "buddy buddy" with him and he feels the same. He said he doesn't like getting "stuck" on the phone with her at all and from now on will cut the conversation short if she ventures into topics that don't include Wild. So, fewer worries there, thank goodness!

I'm doing all I can do right now to keep the lines of communication open between Wild and I. We actually had a good conversation the other night because she was worried about my feelings about her wanting to get to know her other "mom" better. Her words were "But you will ALWAYS be my first mom, and my best mom. Besides, I can tell you stuff that I could never tell her." So, she knows I'm here for here, and she recognizes that I have been here for her. I'm just going to keep playing that particular relationship by ear, and I'm ready to step in if needed.

I just hope her bio-mom doesn't disappear again, because that would just be too much for that kid to handle, I think. And if she disappears again, I can guarantee there won't be any "forgive and forget" from Wild.

kristi said...

Oh my gosh. 10 years later she wants to be a mother? Unbelievable!!! You are way way nicer than me, that is for sure. And you are a great mother to both of your girls.

Jenny said...

This post made me hurt. I just wanted to punch that woman!

You're a far better person than me.

Wild is lucky to have you for a mom.