Cry me a river
Just when I thought the issues with Grandma L were behind us, the upcoming holidays have already brought out some drama. On Halloween she emailed me asking if I had taken pictures of Logan in his costume & if I had, she would like to have some. Bill usually takes care of this, but trying to be nice, I sent her a few along with a detailed update of how we celebrated & how much fun Logan had. She thanked me & then dropped a bomb.
She said that she bought Logan & Cousin B matching sweaters & wanted their picture taken for her Christmas Card. This did not sit well with me at all. We went through this exact same thing last year & it was what catapulted us into crisis. I asked Bill if she had talked to him about it already & he learned of this the weekend prior but failed to mention it to me. I told him that I felt the same way as last year, but I was willing to compromise with having a group family picture (Aunt Ju-Ju, Uncle J, Cousin B, Bill, Logan & me) to use for her card. I emailed her back on Friday afternoon replying that I wasn't comfortable with the picture, but Bill & I had talked about it & we had a compromise that would make everyone happy, we would call her later to talk about it. I never got a reply.
Saturday afternoon, I asked Bill if he had talked to his mom yet & he hadn't. I was going to get a massage from my friend & he said that he would call her then. On my drive over to her house, Bill called & asked if my photographer friend could take our group picture so his mom could have a professional picture of the family. I said sure & I would talk to her about it later. Bill was unable to get a hold of his mom on Saturday.
This morning I woke up & checked my email. Grandma L sent her response. "Just forget about it. I took the sweaters back." I turned to Bill to tell him about her response. "She didn't have to do something drastic like that", Bill said. "She's throwing a tantrum because she's not getting her way. If that's how she wants to behave, fine. We don't have to take any pictures for her", I told him.
He called her up to talk about it. After having a conversation like nothing was going on, Bill brought up the pictures. He told her about our compromise & said that she didn't have to take the sweaters back. We were even going to have professional pictures taken for her. She continued to cry, pout & play the victim. Bill called me over & put her on the speaker so all of us could talk. I told her that I got her email & wondered why she took the sweaters back without having heard about the compromise. She continued to cry & tried to blame it on me because I didn't write about what we were going to do in the email. This is where I held true to my commitment in our "resolution" conversation. I called her out on her behavior.
"I specifically wrote in the email that we were going to talk to you about it. This is something that we wanted to speak to you one on one with. I wasn't comfortable with the kids being the focus of your Christmas card & I think having a family portrait is more appropriate. We worked out a very nice & generous compromise that you didn't even want to hear about. It's disappointing to get such a response from you."
She continued to try & blame me for her drastic tantrum, crying saying it was too late for professional pictures, they weren't coming out until late in December. "No, we wanted to get pictures of the six of us for your card", Bill corrected her. "The six of you?", she asked. It was like a kick in the gut to her because Uncle J & I would be in the family picture. The two of us are left out of family pictures. It's always just the "blood" relatives. We tried to get an answer out of her. "Do you want the family picture or not?" we both asked many times. She continued to pout & getting an answer was almost impossible. We hung up the phone with me saying that I would talk to my friend to see what we could do. Of course, I don't get a thank you for trying to compromise with a solution that pretty darn fantastic.
I talked to my friend who is sympathetic to the crap that gets pulled by Bill's family & we have two dates we can work with this month. Now the trick is to see if we can get Aunt Ju-Ju to do it because she ultimately plays the part of the flying monkey & if Grandma L is upset, Aunt Ju-Ju will throw an even bigger tantrum of her own.
One part of this whole situation that really rubs me the wrong way is that Grandma L cries & whines about not getting things done her way so what happens? She gets something bigger & better. Like professional pictures. This is sending the wrong message. It's telling her that all she has to do is manipulate the situation, pull guilt trips, cry & pout & she will ultimately get what she wants. This is what happened when we moved to our little town & we caved into her crap. I put my foot down to this kind of behavior & I got cut out of the family (where she was really just shooting herself in the foot). Her tantrum resulted in missing out on our lives for seven months, by her choice. She missed all of Logan's first holidays & milestones. She's making the same kind of decisions again.
Ugh. Here we go again.