Thursday, April 1, 2010

It's been 24 hours...

and today I am less angry. I am disappointed. Frustrated. Saddened. And moving forward.

When our sons were in high school we met. We had a common bond. Our sons. Lacrosse. Mike and I were team managers. I taught her to keep score. She wanted to participate in hosting a team spaghetti dinner but her house was being major remodeled. I went over and helped her make it happen. We both chaperoned a trip to Vail for a lacrosse tournament. You learn a great deal about a person when you share a bedroom. We had more in common. July birthdays. Leo husbands. Both military families. We both moved often. We both were frequently single parents. We had similar appreciation for simple things. We both sewed. She taught me to knit. We visited over coffee.

Throughout all these years there has been one thing I've noticed. Conversations always ended up being about her, her problems, her pains, her troubles. I've accepted it. On some level it bothered me. I felt perhaps in her mind my concerns weren't as important.

Her husband served a year in Japan as an active duty reservist. We joked about him leaving his children home without adult supervision. Her son was changing schools. It meant trying to get his belongings to him in Moscow. We rented a trailer, helped her load and drove his belongings to Moscow the 2nd weekend of January, in a blizzard. Home repairs - she called my husband. Car trouble - she called my husband. I picked up kids from events when she was going a different direction. If I was running errands, I got what she needed. Her children called us their "self appointed alternate parents". We spent Thanksgiving together. It reminded me of years past as a military family. You find your family members are not always biological but perhaps an attachment in your heart. You do what you can to make things as normal as possible.

When her husband returned to the states he was job hunting. She was angry he wouldn't accept a job. She worried about expenses. I sympathized. We were in that place years ago. Downsized our home. Decided we'd live within our pension. I knew her frustration. I listened a lot. He was offered a job in California. She didn't want to move but it was something they didn't want to refuse. When we were asked what we thought we both told them we felt their family was more important than a job with so many digits. He would miss out on the highs and lows. He would miss many sports games from both sons and his daughter. He would miss so much in their high school years - just the day to day life things. Their decision was to live apart.

Given her behavior and moods I do not believe she's happy with their decision. She's miserable. She's down to one son at home. He finally got his driver's license. She does everything for him. He's a good athlete. She stays active with his teams. It seems the football parents are angry with her. She's been in the program for a long time and tries to push her opinion on them. The same thing happened with the lacrosse parents. The players called her son a name. She complained to the coach. She travels separately to a tournament so he can stay with her instead of his teammates. She's misunderstood. She's being thrown under the bus. It's not fair. I listened. I gave advice. I suggested she walk away. Let them run their program. Try something new. It doesn't change. If she walks away she won't get the attention she craves. I have grown so tired of the calls. It never seemed to change nor would it be about anyone else. There is one common denominator in all of her troubles.

When our family had our own difficult situation I shared with her. It wasn't something easy for me to do. Instead of being there for me, she started telling me about her friend who lives on the North End and all of her difficulties. Her North End friend has a daughter at Duke. The North End friend doesn't care for me. I'm thinking a drug addict son trumps the daughter at Duke when you are flaunting how special you are. The first two weeks of our drama, she didn't call not once. She didn't stop by. She didn't even send an email. On the other hand, my dear friend in Georgia emailed, texted AND called me every single day and then weekly for a long time until things were settled. We learned a great deal about who cared.

Her daughter spent a year going to school in Washington DC. It was a year preparing for the Naval Academy. She got in this year. This is a big deal. We are all very proud of her. Her mom is living vicariously through her daughter's accomplishments. If I had a dime for every time I've heard "I should have gone in the Coast Guard". Instead I hear about her husband the Naval Academy graduate or her brothers who all graduated and taught at the Academy. She loves to be a name dropper - my friend Admiral so and so.

Since we were a military family - and my husband retired after 28 years - we are just a bit familiar with the way things are done. She loves the fact her husband was promoted in the Reserves to the rank of Lt Colonel. When this happened we too were happy for them. She was constantly reminding me her husband was a Lt Colonel. She signed her emails as Mrs. O-5. I took my cheap shot. I'm not proud. But I'd had enough. I responded to an email as Mrs. O-6. You see, my husband retired as a Navy Captain - senior to her husband's rank.

After a parents weekend at the Academy our son's godfather, also a Naval Academy graduate, called us. They had been at Annapolis for Parent's weekend as their daughter is also at the Academy. When they met other parents, they discovered we were a common link. When he called us and said "what's with her?", my response was "what has she done now?". She was at a coffee for the Academy Commandant. Standing right in the middle of the circle surrounding him. She took a personal cell call, wanted to make sure her caller knew where she was and what she was doing. It's a common theme.

Last month, at the only UI lacrosse game she's attended, she answered her phone. After a loud discussion with her son on the phone, she proceeded to tell anyone who would listen she was speaking with her oldest child, who graduated from Princeton and is living in China and Mom is planning and paying for his entire wedding in July. The crowd of Vandal parents within earshot looked up from the game for a second, shook their heads and returned to the reason we were there - watching our sons play lacrosse.

When we returned from our trip to Southern California she called to ask a favor. During this call I shared our son and his wife were trying to buy a home for themselves. We are all very excited about their new adventure. It's a short sale with a price approved by the bank. The house is 1300 sq. ft and 4 bedrooms. When my friend heard this she guffawed her trademark loud laugh and said 4 bedrooms - what are they, closets? I felt my ire immediately raise as I wanted to defend my children. I told her they were smaller rooms. 10x10 in fact. We have two in our own 4 bedroom house the same size. I think she sensed I wasn't happy with her comment.

Mike and I have been actively supporting the Vandal lacrosse team in many ways. One of the coaches designed a logo for the team. It represents the Indian origin, the University and the team growth since 2004. We got permission to have it made into patches for the players as a gift from us. This is Krieg's final year. We wanted to do something for the team. When the team was making plans for their travels to Southern California we were concerned about their travel plans. We convinced the coaches to accept a gift of hotel rooms from us allowing an extra night on the road for a safer drive. It gave us peace of mind. One of the things our newly founded Booster program asked for was parent or business donations. Mike and I aren't wealthy but we believe in paying forward. We could gladly give up a breakfast or dinner out if it meant the lacrosse team would have an opportunity to travel to a game. When news of the need for additional money to help the team (who support themselves) we gave. My friend shared they planned to give later. After taxes. She wanted me to know how much they thought they would give. Everyone has their own budget, their own means. Some toot their own horn louder than others. Ours was a silent gesture passed off to a coach after a game. She is still telling me they are going to give. Enough already either put up or shut up.

While at work yesterday I received an email from my friend. She'd received a Parent Booster email telling of the plans to have a Tailgate party prior to the game during Mom's weekend. They will play rival BSU. It was shared that I offered to organize the tailgate. She wrote me and said "if you are planning the tailgate, should we all plan to bring a sack lunch?" I tried in vain to read this in a positive light. I chose to ignore it and instead responded that we were heading up on Friday with my parents, who are flying in from Wisconsin for our son's last game. I told her we were staying with our sons who live together.

The boys live together in a "condo" purchased by my friend's husband and her son. The boys pay rent. It's her son, our son and one other. Her response to the news we were staying with the boys was to ask if I was going to have my parents sleep on the floor. I let her know we spoke with all 3 boys back in February and asked if they minded if we stayed with them. Our son wants to give up his bed for his grandparents. We figured we could do an air mattress in the large living room.

The next email from her informed me she too was coming up, probably Saturday morning before the game with her youngest son. She let me know she's offered another set of parents a place in the condo too. The 3rd roommate's mom has stayed their in the past and we should probably learn what her plans were going to be. It seemed to her there was a problem and we needed to chat - about MY plans.

I dreaded her phone call after work. I was angry but knew we needed to "chat". I prepared myself to hold my tongue. The boys pay rent. They were informed of our plans and ok'd it. We didn't have a problem with staying there,with everyone. We figured the 3rd mom would be there. She stays in her son's room. We planned to use our son's room and some space in the living room. I figured our friend would be there and she could use her son's room. It's a large 3 bedroom 2 bath 1500 sq. ft apartment. Why was this all going to be a problem?

Well I never got a phone call. Instead I was CC'd on an email to our sons informing them she was coming up and planning to stay in HER condo with HER sons. The 3rd roommate's mom would have her place to stay as well. She supposed she would have to renege on her invitation to the other parents and everyone else will just have to work out their own arrangements. She recommended the boys communicate better with one another. Hello! They do talk. They all knew what was going on. She's the one who pushed her way into the arrangements and has a problem. Why? It would have worked out just fine. I get she's the owner. Though in any other landlord situation it's unlikely the landlord would inform the tenants they were spending the night. In this situation I get it. We parents have always stayed there. Good to know where you stand I suppose.

I was physically shaking. Now I'm frustrated. After all we've done for her and her family and she couldn't even step up to the plate and speak to us in person or by phone to explain why our staying there with my parents is a concern for that matter. She has to fire off an email with her demands.

Needless to say I will not put my parents in that situation. Our son really wants them to stay with him. He says "let it be and see what happens". We've made other arrangements but unfortunately we'll be staying 23 miles away in another town. Unfortunately it's Mom's Weekend. No room at the Inns. I'm tired of her self centered insecurities. I'm so tired of being frustrated over our one way friendship. I'm just done.

I apologized to our son. He and her son are good friends and in the middle of this all. It's not their fault though at times I wish someone would use their spine. They are both so easy going. For the first time our son actually told me he understood what I was feeling after he read her email. He felt she came across a bit high handed. No comment.

It all sounds so petty. It sounds bitchy. I hate that I have these feelings. How much is one person expected to endure. I realize I have many good friends. Over the years there haven' t always been 'next door' friends. These same friends have been very supportive of me. Helping me to realize that friends don't put you down. They don't criticize you or your family. They love and support you. I've been reminded I AM a good friend.

This isn't my normal type of postings. I've tried, unsuccessfully, to keep it from being a long winded rant. I needed to vent. I needed to remind myself that yes I have been a good friend. I've been supportive. I've been there when I was needed. I don't feel like a good person. I feel like I've done something wrong.

I'm saddened. I feel let down. It's a loss.


Trana Family said...

PREACH ON SISTER!!!! cut ties and move on. You are on the higher road!

Ginny said...

I say you have been on a One-Way Street for a long time. Don't feel bad about the way you feel. Whatever you do...ENJOY your son's last game! That is what it is really about.

Deb said...

Thank you ladies. I know. In my heart I know. I'm actually excited about the energy and enthusiasm generated from the parents interested in helping me with the tailgate party. We will go out this year in style and class! And I am so blessed to have dear friends like you.

Amy said...

You are very correct my friend, in all that you speak. You already know in your head what the next step is. Now it's time to let your heart follow. Point is, YOU. DESERVE. BETTER.