Just when I thought it was safe to answer the phone…

I hate when the phone rings. It stresses me out. I permanently keep my phone on ‘do not disturb’ so that I don’t have to hear it ring.

But if someone is taking care of my kids and they phone me, I know I have to answer the phone – but I hold my breath until they tell me that my kids are still alive.

My sister-in-law works at my daughter’s school. Sometimes she calls me during the day.
It goes like this:

phone: ring ring. *sister-in-law’s pic comes up*.
me: shit.
me: *holding breathe* hey- what’s up?
her: hi. so.. umm…
me: what’s up? are my kids okay??
her: um… ya, they’re fine. how are you?
me: i’m fine. are they really okay?
her: ya. *speaking slowly for no apparent reason* just… about Soni, they were playing outside… and it’s a bit cold out… and her friends were running around… and they were all wearing pink gloves… and she brought her brown gloves – can you send the pink ones tomorrow?
me: *omg! that’s why you called me?!* fine. yes. -but is she okay?
her: ya, she’s fine – she was just upset about the gloves. she’s having a great day. bye.
me: *was that really just about the gloves? was she trying to cover up some catastrophic car accident/major illness/roof collapsing? omg, should i leave work now and go pick up my kids? are the roads still open or has the zombie apocalypse begun?*

Full disclosure: I’m totally procrastinating here. I’m trying to write about how I finally answered the phone after not speaking to my parents for 5 months and they managed to hurt me again.

We last saw my parents in March. That’s 525,600 minutes ago- minus a month. (How do you measure a year?)

I tried to see them a few times after March but I couldn’t make much effort with my bipolar and they live so far away (?!*?). Almost 10 kilometers (6 miles) is apparently really far for two 60 year olds with two cars.

After my canoe trip in September, I needed to focus on my future and I just stopped answering their (weekly) calls and texts. But, lately, I’ve been feeling an urge to open the lines of communication again. I miss my parents. I miss seeing my family all together. I want my kids to feel like their grandparents love them.

I know that my mom is out of town this week, so when my phone rang on Friday with my parents’ weekly call, I knew it would be my dad on the phone. I randomly decided to answer it.

It was really nice to hear his voice. Then he asked if I was going to be around on Sunday so he could come by and see the kids (who wouldn’t even recognize him). I had a vision in my head of him walking in my door and my kids running up and hugging him and him putting his arms out to them. It seemed like it would be nice.

I said, (surprising even myself) “Actually, we are going to be around Sunday morning and early afternoon. If you come by, I think that would be really nice.”

Now, guess what he said?

He said, “O darn- I’m not going to be around in the morning, I’ll be at the cottage [by himself]. I have to fix the dishwasher, and the toilet.”

that’s what happened.

I guess that’s a wrap. Gnite folks.


6 thoughts on “Just when I thought it was safe to answer the phone…

  1. Know that I care about you more than a toilet and a dishwasher. After having had to enforce and reinforce my boundaries with my parents I understand the draw to try to open the lines again.

    In the same way that the wounds of childbirth heal, and get glossed over, I return. I guess I think that I’m being harsh, or ridiculous or that maybe I am being dramatic. Maybe they aren’t so bad, maybe this time will be different.

    I am dramatic, but every time I push the boundaries back I realize that my drama is founded. My mom is a shitty mom, and nothing a can do can change it.

    Like the three little pigs, I built my boundaries and watched them get pushed down. First there was the straw; I let her back and she pushed right through.

    So I made a bigger stronger boundary of sticks, I took some time away from her, but let her back in eventually. She pushed right through again. The lines between our boundaries was non-existent.

    After my children were born I built a boundary of stone. I shut my mother out and spent a great deal reinforcing to myself what my boundaries were. It was tough; our society does not really nurture those who shut out their poor, sweet mothers. It has been 4 years and finally now I can call her and talk to her (every few months for a minute at a time).

    My point, perhaps belaboured, is that the boundary process is long, complicated and some time they will blow your house down. But keep rebuilding, because you are atrong, you are worth it and you can do it. Hugs and kisses


    1. O – what an appropriate analogy. it really feels like they just blow down the wall that i work so hard to build with one puff. It is really hard to feel okay with shutting out a “poor sweet mother”, I have to keep reminding myself that she is really a wolf…


  2. I’ve started to ‘own’ my relationship with my mother – once ashamed, now shameless about my choice for my family. “I had to choose what was safest for my family” stops all questions.

    It makes her sound like a monster. She is. She’s my own personal boogie man. When she’s in my life I live like a victim in a slasher movie; making stupid choices that risk my well being.

    You know that feeling when you’re watching a slasher film, and the woman runs upstairs – and you yell at the tv “why would you run upstairs?!? Run out of the house!” I would feel that way when I would engage with her. My husband and my inner critic would stand by saying “why would you run to her? Run the other way!”

    She is the wolf, and sometimes the wolf is in sheep’s clothing or dresses up like a sweet old grandmother (my what big teeth you have!). But a wolf is a wolf, and even if everyone else is fooled, you know.

    The safety of your family is most important. Hearts to you. Know that you are not alone in your struggles. You are doing what is best for your family and that is the best that you can do.

    Good luck building the house of stone 😉


  3. You can’t f*ck around with toilets yo.
    My family is as dysfunctional as Kim Kardashian’s face. Sometimes I wish that they’d just disappear at times. While I don’t know what the back story is, I do know how disappointing it is when you want them to pull through…especially when you’re the one opening the door for them.
    PS. My in laws are like this. They’ve been to only one of Chase’s birthday parties…he’s 5. The last one they had to go “shooting”.
    Much love babe.


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