Jul hit it when she said: “So WHY did I waste all that time trying to make you feel secure, you little s__?” Because yes, my distress really is all about me and wanting to believe that none of my sacrifices have been for naught. Even though OF COURSE THEY HAVE. Most of them, anyway.
And I instantly recognized that Law’s suggested response would work: “… besides it’s against the law to kill anyway.” I said to him, “Hey HB—you know how you can’t be sure Daddy and I aren’t evil?” “Yeah?” he said nonchalantly. “Well you can at least be sure we won’t kill you. Know why?” “Why?” “Because it’s against the law!” “Oh, right right right!” he said. “I mean, everybody would be a robber if it wasn’t against the law!” I didn’t even try to argue with that one, but he seemed to think the subject was entirely settled.
So thank you.
(Another thing he said recently: “A lot of parents tell their kids everything they do is great because they want them to feel happy. But I don’t want that. I want the truth.”)
To tap into your collective wisdom some more: You were incredibly helpful on the subject of Nana in the past, and we could use a little more advice.
Her last visit was the anticlimactic birthday party eight months ago. TH speaks with her on the phone and emails from time to time, and she rarely brings up the topic. When she starts to, he changes the subject, and she usually follows.
Until recently, when he got an email from her:
Date: December 3, 2010
Subject: HB’s gift
I’m glad he liked the book. I thought chapter books are fun for his age. ....
We are really devastated that we aren’t allowed to see him. It makes me sad whenever I think of him growing up not knowing or seeing us.
TH freaked out and forwarded to me, and I said, what a way to escalate! You never said anything of the kind. Read the original email you sent her. And he did, and then quoted it back to her, and she let it drop.
But this begs the question: where DO we go from here?
HB has asked when we will go up to their “farm” again, because, he says, there are fun things to do there. But he also has asked me out of the blue, “Why did Nana say she would give me a time out if I cried because I missed you?” (When she was babysitting him two years ago.) Recently, he asked if we were ever going to see her again, and I said, of course. (We haven’t let him in on the whole discussion, just told him that he won’t be left alone with Nana babysitting again.) And then he said, “I know a way it could work: I could just do everything exactly the way she says.” Wellllll …. yeeeesss … in an alternate universe. He won’t even get on the phone with her. (And not just now; he never would—he hates to get on the phone when someone tells him to do it, which she always does.) Clearly he’s not ready to maneuver around her without freaking out. Most adults can’t do it consistently.
Traveling to Nana’s is an ordeal, and it isn’t “on the way” to anyplace. So that’s pretty easy to get around. But do we just wait for her to suggest something doable? They come near us on business from time to time, and I could see meeting them for a couple of hours someplace … but I really don’t know. Do we suggest it?
She hasn’t made even the tiniest of conciliatory moves, if that matters, which it probably doesn’t. E.g., HB asked us to take a photo of himself smiling next to the gift they sent for Chanukah/Christmas and text it to them as a thank you. When TH did so, she called and said, “He should write us a thank you note now too.” (Not that there isn’t any merit to the argument that written thank yous are more proper than texts/emails—just that this isn’t quite the place for that argument, is it?) (And the gifts are far from conciliatory—she has always showered him with presents and then demanded that he show exuberant gratitude in return. Once when we were visiting her, she banished him upstairs when he didn’t like a book she bought him. He found a phone and called TH’s cell, which was pretty funny.)