I did something today that seems a little out of place. I had just written a post, The Shift, where I said my inner self was getting me to finally be done with my parents.
Recently my mother sent me an odd short email asking me to “check in” and say how I was doing. Thinking she should have called and just getting tired of it all I just said I was fine and asked how they were, just to be done with it. Today she emailed to give me the day and time of the Thanksgiving dinner she does every year, and answered how they were doing by how busy she and dad were with the moving and readying two homes. Knowing my mom, this wouldn’t have been a hint for me to help, she was just answering the question.
I’m already not planning on going to Thanksgiving and will inform her of that in a few days, planning to say I’m not well enough or something. My oldest narc sister will be there, along with tons of siblings and their families who usually don’t travel here for Thanksgiving. Both the condo and the house they haven’t sold yet will be packed with people. I’ve already decided that I’m going no-contact with them and that I wouldn’t be going.
What I did decide to do with that email was to one last time offer my help for some of the things they need to get done to prepare for the upcoming onslaught of family. She seemed friendly in that email and I wanted to offer this for my conscience, being that they are my parents and that they are getting much older.
The last time I drove to the city to help them my mother said I could pull all the cucumbers and rhubarb out of their garden. I spent quite a bit of time doing all that, plus trimming all the rhubarb. I was happy to have something to help with even though it was physically painful. Many of my siblings helped the week before but I had avoided that time. My mother then had to leave for a meeting for an organization she volunteers for and I was to work with my dad to move some things in the garage into his truck for him to drop off at a donation place. He said he’d need to be in the garage with me as he knows what items are going but he spent over an hour sending a report for work while I sat there. We then only had time to quickly load the truck but not take it to donate as it was too late.
I was already too tired from the garden work with my CFS but even more tired with the waiting for an hour and then quickly loading a truck, and I still had an hour’s drive to my own home ahead of me. I had overdone it and collapsed for two days afterward. But I truly had no complaints about it, I wanted to make sure I could help in whatever limited way I could as I knew God would appreciate what I had done.
The week before when the other siblings were helping there was a family email where each one was thanked, and the few who couldn’t make it thanked the other siblings who could help.
It didn’t go past my notice that after I had helped, my parents subsequent family emails never made mention of it. To my brothers and sisters it looks like I never helped when they rest of them did or had at least wanted to.
I wonder if it was because my parents didn’t deem me having done enough to warrant a public acknowledgement? They saw that I was willing but getting tired and involuntarily limping from the pain at the end of it. But I was stoic and had put out more than my best for them.
I saw a saying once on Pinterest:
My effort with my mobility and energy difficulties was the $10. It also works with gifts.
Side example – At Christmas I tend to go without for a few months ahead because I have too many gifts I need to try to get for those who live in this part of the country and are at my parents on Christmas Day. There’s my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, and my other sister, brother-in-law, and three nieces. That’s a lot of people and I’m on a fixed disability income. The most I can manage is to find gifts at $25 each, and that’s very difficult as it is. And yes, they would expect a present if they got me one.
For my mom I got a gift certificate for a bookstore/gift shop that she loves. I assumed she would either find something for around that amount or it could go towards something larger if she wished. Months later when I asked what to get Dad for his birthday, she told me not to worry about it as $25 doesn’t get much anyway. I was surprised she would be that rude, it was her tone. They knew I was on disability and should have seen it as my small way of trying to bless them with what little I had. I feel shame right now thinking about how something that was such a sacrifice for me was pathetic to them.
I’m not totally pathetic. I did decide then that I needn’t buy them anything anymore as it financially harmed me too much when I’m just trying to keep my nose above water every month.
Back to their not acknowledging my help. And here’s where I am a bit pathetic, I offered to help one more time because I wanted to (not pathetic), felt it was the right thing, and hoped they would at least this time appreciate me (this was the pathetic part).
I called and offered to come down today to help with some things. She said I could but that she had another meeting and that there was a house showing that afternoon. These would be true as I’m sure I’d go down and see these things happening, but I felt like I was being rebuffed, especially since she didn’t ask if I could come down the next day. I guess they figured I wouldn’t be able to do much anyway, which is true, but enough to take some load off of them.
I figured they now have another opportunity to not mention to anyone that I even offered to help. I feel like when I have a pack of siblings willing to notice such things and gossip about me I don’t have the luxury of they having such oversights, even if they were innocent.
Could they have been innocent oversights? Could be. Knowing my parents it could also be they don’t want me to help and won’t even care to make sure my siblings knew that I at least tried the best I could one day and offered another. This actually is, to me, the most likely answer.
Did I look too much into it this time? I don’t think so, but I also think, so what if I did? There’s too much under the bridge for anything to be understood or be taken the right way anymore.
Was I ridiculous for trying one more time to see if there could be some decent interactions between us anymore? I want to answer that, YES. And I’m glad I was ridiculous. I think I needed to see myself try one more time, for conscience sake. I needed to be hurt, one more time, just to be sure.
My responsibility toward my parents at this point in their and my life has been fulfilled in the only ways that I have the ability to, financially, physically, and emotionally.
I can now walk away with a clear conscience.