I have not invited my Mom to Thanksgiving this year, and I don’t intend to. I should feel guilt, or sadness, or something like that, but what I really feel is stupendous relief, and some confusion that I don’t feel guilty. I almost feel guilty for not feeling guilty.
I would probably have to have some sort of communication going with my Mom to invite her, which isn’t currently happening. Again, I should feel some sort of guilt, but all that is there is relief, and the nagging feeling something is wrong with me for not wearing a hair shirt over this. But I enjoy not having the big boulder on my shoulders weighing me down, even though I know at some point it will be back.
I admit that I did make a conscious decision to just not contact her anymore back in October, because I couldn’t take how awful she was making me feel about myself, and that every encounter left me crying. And I’m not even a crier. Once I realized I didn’t have to respond to the hurtful text messages, and I didn’t have to call her and be given a list of my wrongdoings and shortcomings I cut about 80% of the emotional stress out of my life. I was quite startled the day I realized how much better I was doing because I wasn’t communicating with her.
But now the holidays are rolling around, so of course I briefly thought about her, and just as quickly let that thought go. Last year she only came for dessert on Thanksgiving, and it was awkward and uncomfortable and full of her snarky remarks about our meal that she didn’t eat. We were all relieved when she left. Thanksgiving will be a long day as it is, and I don’t see any reason to make it longer than it needs to be.
All of this really goes against what I feel a good daughter should be and do. I want to support my Mom, and be there for her, and make sure she is taken care of. And I have done that, especially after my Dad passed away. I truly feel it is important for parents to continue to be involved in their children, and then grandchildren’s lives. But if the parent is only causing bad feelings on the part of the child and the grandchildren then being a good daughter might just have to be secondary to being a good parent and plain old self-preservation.
For all the relief at the absence of the stress I can’t shake the feeling something is wrong with me for feeling this way. Not enough to contact my Mom, but enough that it is in my mind. Okay, maybe what is really in my mind is the dread feeling that she will just appear at the door in the late afternoon on Thanksgiving, expecting to come in and be met by open arms. She does that kind of thing. I don’t have a clue about what I would do if that happened. Somehow, I don’t think running away screaming is really an option.