Thursday, April 5, 2012

What SHE Has Taught My Daughters

As life goes, we often have people in our lives that are not exactly who you think they will be. 
Just because a person is a Parent,
doesn't mean they will be "parenting".
An Aunt may not be that doting person
she promised to be. 
The Cousin may end up becoming
your worse enemy.

 We don't really talk about them. We try to focus on those uplifting positive relatives.  The ones that made a difference.  Who wants to know the dirty laundry after all?

 But... maybe, if you look at things through a different perspective, you may realize that maybe, just maybe, that negative, ignorant or even cruel family member actually did some good, by wrongfully treating you.

There is a Person Of Interest {POI} that is in my family's lives. 
Over the years I have gone above and beyond to show respect and include her in our lives.  Where as she was never close to her sibling I married, I did all I could (and then some) to make her an important part of our family.
I took quite a beating from the get go.
She disapproved of my marrying her Brother.  She said I was removing him from the availability to other women of "their ethic background" that it was inappropriate for us to marry.  (need I remind her she married not one but two Caucasian men...she stepped outside of the Hispanic pool as well).
She disapproved of our choice to have children.  She very cruelly reminded me that with mental illness on both sides of our family trees I would be a fool to have children that could be so "messed up".  That I would surely have a child that was mentally unstable.
While she and my Husband continued to have disagreements and family challenges, I was the peace maker between them.  I even convinced my Hubby to allow her to be the Godmother of our oldest Child. A huge honor we do not take lightly.
Through out the past 25 years I have attempted to band aid situations between her and my family. 
I have taken her "advice" with a grain of salt.  I have given excuses for her behavior. And I have been as loving as I can be.  I shielded my daughters from most of her negativity, especially while growing up.
She showered my oldest with expensive extravagant gifts. My Emily has received Tiffany and Waterford Crystal during her childhood.  Sometimes a misunderstood item... when my 6 year old so wanted American Girl accessories and received a $70 wine glass.. she was as disappointed as a Child would be.  She did not understand that her Aunt was building up her finer things for when she grows up. {I did let her drink Kool Aid & Milk out of them.}  This Aunt would also send them to Annie, but Annie never got two matching glasses, every year it would be a different pattern of mismatched Waterford Crystal.
She constantly made extravagant promises to my daughters..
"When you are in Junior High I am taking you to Europe! So much for a young girl to see here!".  never happened.
 "You are so beautiful, I must get you into modeling!".  I signed them up doing small gigs with Parisians, Talbot's For Kids, and they worked a Wedding Show, modeling Flower Girl, and mini bridesmaids dresses.  All of which this Aunt never once attended as they were "small potatoes".  Although my Girls LOVED the runway and had a wonderful experience doing small potatoes.  The promises to take them to New York, get a portfolio and auditions, ended up going to their cousin... as a confusing show of punishment to my Daughters because of a disagreement with her Brother.
"When you graduate, I will pay for your college! As I do not have children of my own and want to see you success." This one, we foolishly believed as it was drilled into our heads from the day the Girls were born. Yet never a dime. Don't get me wrong... I should not expect financial help like that, however, was brainwashed into thinking she was going to follow through with this one at least to her Goddaughter.  I suspect that also went to a Cousin..

As my Daughters grew up, when we attended family functions, I was distressed at the amount of things their Aunt expected them to do.. serve, clean, etc.  I would put my foot down, especially seeing them ordered to carry alcohol beverages to people. 

As my Youngest, became clearly gifted in the writing and journalism field, she was forced to assist with some work on a ever so precious book Auntie has been working on for many years.  I don't think this was ever appreciated or my Daughter was even thanked.

Sometimes it's difficult to see what is happening when you are being taken advantage of by someone you love.  While my Oldest started to see through her ways and refused to be taken advantaged of.  My Youngest just wanted her love and wanted to understand the lack of love and respect that Auntie gave.  She never understood why she was treated the worst of the cousins when she gave them most. Her tears were the hardest to soothe.

As my Daughters matured and became Adults, they slowly started seeing things for what they are.  We no longer made them go to "family Functions".  In fact, we were finding it best to avoid certain situations.  I stopped making excuses, but continued to show and demand respect shown to my daughters elders.  My Daughters are rather etiquette and I am so proud of their ability to show class and hold their own.

While as they have received some rather nice things from this Aunt... all they ever really wanted was some love... some attention.. and some genuine relationship that did not require a pay back of sorts. To have her attend a Cheer Competition, a Game,a Recital, a Play or school program, or even Graduation..any of the many she was invited too. Or even showing an interest.

Now that my Girls have become adults, I can say this.
My Daughters have learned the importance of keeping your word.
They have learned the importance of treating those as you wish to be treated...
They have gained the knowledge that money doesn't buy you everything...
And they have learned that you should show respect to those that you want to show you respect.

My daughters have learned a few things of what not to do as well...
I am quite sure that my Daughters will never treat each other
the way they see Auntie treat her Siblings.
My daughters will never make their once upon a time nieces
feel anything but greatness and love. 
They will continue to be gracious and kind. 
They will never break promises or make promises that will come with a price.
They will never try to pit one against anotherplaying power struggles
 as they have seen first handed how destructive this can be.

I have never said or done anything cruel to this POI. I have only said kind words to her, and I am not one to talk behind someones back {okay maybe a word or two to a Bestie or Hubby}..   But lately POI has crossed a line or two or three.  while she is feuding with her siblings, she has name dropped me more than once.  I have stayed out of this Family Feud.  HOWEVER... she threw a zinger about Janis better not BLOG about me... hmmmmmmmmmm never had, though I never would, until she said that.  It really doesn't matter that I am. She will not see it. My Blog is not worthy of her reading, she doesn't think I am interesting or a writer.  Which is fineeeeeeeeeeee with me.  I don't want followers that do not enjoy reading my thoughts.

So instead of regret and wishing this POI did not hurt my daughters so much.  I guess, taken with that grain of salt, I feel a slight relief that my Girls have learned a few lessons.  Lessons on how to treat those you love and what not to do as well.
I do feel better.  I little glass of White Zinf with a Laptop in hand can be quite satisfying.


A human kind of human said...

One word only for you my friend:
It is always good for the soul to say it as it is and get it in the open. Get it off your chest so to speak, and I have a creepy feeling that she will read your blog and just maybe,she will realise just how badly she has behaved through the years.
Now that that is done with, I hope you will have a super Easter with all the blessings that come with it.

JC said...

You really have tried with your h's family. I too married into a odd rude family. I tried with them for about 15 years. I then walked away from their events and never looked back.

I too tried and was always nice to them. Never got that back. They treated the other cousins like royalty but not mine.

As my kids have grown up, I let them go with their Dad to things. They have noticed on their own what they say and do.

Some people just aren't worth knowing.

My h's family is the kind you hear about. Terrible and mean but to everyone else they seem so nice.

Hope your situation calms down. Just don't have her in your life anymore.

rosaria williams said...

Some people do not see what they are doing. Yet, as you stated so well, everyone we meet teaches us something, even when it is something negative.