Last Thursday evening, Thing #2 and I got into a lovely row.
It started with her defending Doom-n-Gloom. For the first few minutes it was mostly civil: I have no problem with her standing up for her father, when she’s being reasonable.
I remember how I used to get when I was 17: entitled, presumptuous, a total know-it-all…
She was being all of that.
Then she said, “You’re taking an unreasonable amount of money from Dad every month. He can’t save money for anything.”
I stood up and looked her directly in the eye and said, “Your father pays me $200 a month and buys 80% of our groceries. He reimburses me for the $3,000+ in expenses it takes for me to maintain this household. Don’t tell me how I am being when you have no idea.”
“But I don’t know what’s going on, Mom. You never tell me how much you make or how much the bills are.”
“That’s because it’s none of your business and, if you wanted to know, this is not the way to ask. Please don’t assume that I am being the ‘bad guy’ here.” Then I got out the financial statements that we have prepared showing our individual incomes and our expenses. (To be honest, when I filled mine out, I was actually blown away at the amount I pay as opposed to the amount that he does. But, he carries their insurance… And I am divorcing him…)
I handed those financial statements to her and told her to look them over. When she refused, I sat down with her and I went over every single item I pay for and how much it actually costs me. Then his. It blew her mind. It blew my mind. So much that I was totally on the verge of breaking…
Which is what happened when Thing #2 brought up how Thing #1 treats their father/Doom-n-Gloom. At first, I explained as calmly as I could that it is IN FACT her father’s responsibility to treat both of his daughter’s civilly and with respect. I am a stickler for fairness between the two when it comes to my children.
Thing #2 was telling me that I didn’t know what I was talking about. That Thing #1 needs to be nicer to her father and I have to stop making excuses for her all the time.
I completely lost it. I was already angry, but that presumptuous child had no place telling me how an daughter/father relationship dynamic should work. I don’t talk about it much on my blog, but my father doesn’t talk to me unless he absolutely has to. Period. He will never make initial contact. My mother is the tie that binds. My brother is cool but busy trying to keep up with his best friends ↓
Here’s an example of how my father feels about me:
My mother had a heart attack 6 years ago, 2 years after we moved to Denver. My brother called to tell me Mom was in the hospital.
He also told me what Dad had said to him earlier that day:
Don’t bother calling your sister to tell her. She doesn’t care anyway.
My brother might be a fake Christian and a wanna be, but he doesn’t lie and he’s not intentionally cruel like my father.
I was grateful he told me.
Back to present time… There was a lot of yelling after this. Doom-n-Gloom finally came in and changed the subject back to the original: money.
He explained to Thing #2 that he doesn’t have a problem with the amount of money that he has to pay. It’s perfectly reasonable.
I thanked him for deflecting her. Then she proceeded to yell at him for 30 minutes. When she was done, she called her ex-boyfriend-now-best-friend so she could yell at him for another 30 minutes.
This entire time, Thing #1 was cleaning the kitchen to stay out of the entire ordeal.
Once Thing #2 was done with me and moved on to her father, I came upstairs and unloaded on a friend (who I will be telling you about tomorrow). We chatted. He was supportive. I felt better and went to sleep after that. I didn’t want to talk to Thing #2 again before bed. I was calm enough to fall asleep and I didn’t want to ruin that…
Selfish. I know.
The next morning I apologized to Thing #2. I was mean and said things I shouldn’t have said. I acted in an unmotherly way.
“I’m sorry for being so mean to you last night.”
“I forgive you, Mom. But you know that doesn’t make it right.” Then, she mumbled under her breath,“I’m sorry, too.” I barely heard her.
“Please could you repeat that last part? I didn’t quite hear you.”
“I’m sorry, too, Mom.”
I held my tongue in regards to her flippant comment in regards to “making it right” and told her I accepted her apology as well.
She walked to school that morning.
When I got home, she apologized for being such a bitch that morning when she accepted my apology.