Sunday, January 3, 2010

Home Again!

Despite the fact that there is still much to be done to finish the house, we slept in our own bed last night. It is such a relief to be home. Our bedroom is done, and I no longer felt comfortable being so far from the hospital, particularly given the snowy weather we've been having, so we've moved back in despite ongoing construction chaos.

The house is going to be beautiful. My bedroom is gorgeous. I couldn't figure out what was taking T. so long to finish the bedroom until I saw it. It's really amazing-gorgeous woodwork all over and a beautiful light coffee color on the upper part of the walls (white woodwork below) and new light fixtures, and the refinished floor looks terrific. MIL gave us a very generous gift certificate to a local bedding store, and we splurged on an outrageously expensive designer bedding set. I feel a little guilty about having spent the money with a baby arriving imminently and the house still under way, but it looks perfect in the room, and I've done little for myself lately. We also replaced the windows in the entire house, and the new window on one side of the bedroom now perfectly frames the birch trees in our back yard, which are currently covered with the powdery snow that is lightly falling. It is so nice to lay in my bed in this beautiful new room and watch the snow falling on the trees. It's so peaceful.

The rest of the house, however, remains a work in progress. The baby's room still needs more woodwork and a ton of paint. The downstairs bathroom needs one more coat of paint. The living room needs a ton of paint. The kitchen is nowhere near finished. Sigh. I know it will all get done, and soon, but nothing is moving quickly enough for me. I really would like to have things more settled before the baby arrives. I have the bassinet ready to go and the bare minimum of baby clothes and blankets ready, but the bulk of things are still packed safely away until the priming/sanding/painting is complete. (I prefer my newborn clothes minus sheetrock/putty dust, and I'm pretty sure the American Academy of Pediatrics would agree).

As if I wasn't stressed enough about this, my mother just called to see if I have all the baby stuff done-i.e., the baby clothes all washed, everything all unpacked. She knows that I JUST got back home. When I pointed out that everything is still packed away and I can't reach any of it, and that I have nowhere to put anything, anyway, she started giving me a hard time, telling me that it will be easier to do stuff now than when the baby comes. Well, duh. She got off the phone when I told her I wasn't finding it helpful for her to tell me that. As I said, like I'm not stressed enough...and I think she actually thought she was being HELPFUL in telling me it will be easier now than when the baby arrives, as though I don't realize that! Someone asked T. The other day if I was "nesting," and I asked whether he'd told them I have no nest!

My mother is sort of bothering me a bit lately, although it's just over old issues that I've mostly resigned myself to. We've long had a dynamic where I feel more like I am her parent than she mine. Whatever she does, I always seem to be the one to forgive, understand, make it easy for her, etc. Consequently, I get the short end of the stick quite routinely. She generally puts me last, I think because she thinks I'll understand and make it easy for her no matter what (and I do). There is no way to even discuss this with her-she completely shuts down.

I thought maybe things were going to be different with the baby coming, because she was much more excited than I thought she'd be. We've actually gotten on quite well in recent months. But then came the issue of the baby's arrival, and her impending visit, and the visit has become an ISSUE. It's not about the baby at all, her first grandchild.

The problem is that my mother always stays with one of her sisters when she's in town (it's a long and ridiculous story as to why she wouldn't stay with me even before we turned the guest room into a nursery). I cannot be sure of whether it is my mother who is to blame, or this particular sister of hers (my aunt), but someone has for whatever reason painted it as a "competition" between my aunt and I, and so my mother can never visit without there being strife. As in, my mother doesn't get to see much of me when she's here, because she feels obligated to spend time with my aunt, who generally refuses to include T. and I in their plans. It has gotten so bad that there were times in the last year when my mother was in town (a day's drive from her house), and she didn't even tell me she was coming (but saw my aunt). It's nonsensical. She's MY MOTHER, and it sort of seems like maybe she should get to see me. But my mother sucks at conflict, so if there's even a perceived issue with my aunt, she will obediently do whatever my aunt wants, including cutting us out of the loop during a visit.

Now, to make matters worse in my opinion, my aunt and her husband don't even make special plans if they know my mom is coming-sometimes they aren't even there, or make other plans for themselves while my mom is visiting! But, my mom is supposed to still hang around their house? It's nuts.

So my Christmas gift to my mom was three nights at a local inn, for her to stay when the baby is born. I thought it would be a nice little vacation for her and her husband, they could come and go as they please, etc. Nice place, good meals, etc. Nope. She doesn't want it-she wants to stay with my aunt. Not only does she not want the gift, but she actually acted a little offended. I just can't win. I had really hoped that this visit, everyone could put aside the usual bullshit, and it could just be about the baby. Obviously, that's not going to be the case.

I just don't get it (or maybe I get it all too well, but it's so ridiculous I have a hard time making sense of it!). On the one hand, she is super excited about the baby. She is hoping that I get the new job, because we would be living much closer to them and could spend holidays with them. She has said this. On the other hand, when it comes to coming here and visiting me, things get all weird. It has a lot to do with her own issues and her own baggage relating to this place where I live and people she knows here, and goes back to her divorce from my father more than a decade ago. Let's just say that she didn't handle things well, and that has made it awkward for her to return here and face certain people now that she's remarried. But that's not my issue, or my baby's issue, and it really bugs me that she can't set aside her own drama for just once. Of course, she thinks there's no drama, and no issues, and no problems with my aunt. I guess that's what really bothers me-for her, there aren't any problems, because she's so focused on herself that she can't see how she impacts anyone else.

Breathe in, breathe out. Okay, rant over. I really just needed to get that off my chest. I truly did long ago accept that I can't change her, or anyone else, for that matter. I have a great, happy life, and I am finally expanding my own family, where relationship dynamics and everything else are different. That is more than enough to fill my cup, and I'm not going to let anything diminish this time for me.


VA Blondie said...

There is always something with family. My mother and father are moving here so that they can be close to us and the baby. While I am really grateful, her point of view is completely different from me. She is very right brained, and I am rather left brained. It can make for some interesting communication conflicts.

Definitely try to enjoy this time, and enjoy the little one when they arrive. And hope that things work out for the best.

Bluebird said...

I'm sorry you have to have all this on your mind right now. Hoping that writing it out helped to relieve a bit of the pressure :)

Heather said...

Sorry to hear about the situation with your mom. I thought my issues with my mom were going away 9 years ago when our daughter was born, but that was short-lived.

~Jess said...

I'm sorry about the mom/aunt issue: Isn't family wonderful? I think a baby makes everyone even more crazy.

Your bedroom sounds absolutely DREAMY! I would love to have a window looking out at the snow falling. I do, and can, but the neighbors' houses are also in it.

Enjoy your room...the baby stuff will be there...don't stress about it.