Friday, October 06, 2006

I told my Dad....

Got into a bit of an argument over at my Dad's, today. Except that it wasn't an argument. Not really.

DD & I had gone over today, since Dad has tonight off as his holiday for Columbus Day. He was making chili and asked if DD & I could come over for supper, since DH was going to a hockey game with another buddy of his. I said that'd be fine. Picked DD up from school & headed right over for Dad's.

I had brought along DD's school pictures & a couple of thank-you cards for the girls (DD & niece) to send to Dad's Brother & SIL in TX in appreciation for the jerseys my Aunt & Uncle sent them for their birthdays. DD is old enough that I told her that not only did she need to sign her name to the card, but she needed to write an actual note, and we'd tuck in a school picture as well. DD took it as she usually does: she refused altogether to write anything. Dad made a comment about how if she was going to be like that, he didn't want her in his house, and went on (excessively, for an adult) about how she hurt his feelings over refusing to write a thank-you note to his brother & sister-in-law. As usual, I told DD that she was going to write a thank-you note, so knock it off and just get to it. She kept getting carried away with writing the note (which I drafted for her, so at least she could copy the correct spelling), and making her letters all wonky & spreading the words across the cover of the card. I kept reminding her to slow it down, stop being sloppy & take her time. Well, Dad got fed up with DD and told her that if she wasn't going to do it right she could just go ahead & leave his house now, and that until she decided to be a little more respectful of his bro & sis, DD was not welcome in his house.

I'm sorry.... The child HATES writing. I'm not figuring on changing her opinion about it, I'd just like to get it through her head that it IS part of life and she MUST learn to write legibly and to stop spending so much time griping about it. Dad decided that it was a personal affront against him & his brother & sister, and kicked my daughter out. I told her to get her jacket & get out to the car. I got my things together & started out to the car, rather peeved with my dad, and DD all over the place, appologizing to me for this and begging me not to ground her. My Dad said he hoped she DOES get grounded for her behavior. Then he had the gall to ask if we'd still stay for dinner.

That's when I told him. I told him that _I_ was hurt that he'd kick my daughter out of his house & be so harsh on her for hating to do something that he's always hated to do himself. He's always made it clear that he's not big on writing, and he doesn't do it unless he has to. And here was my daughter, whining about the same activity. Her whining & refusal to do it right had NOTHING to do with his brother & sister-in-law. NOTHING. It was all about how she hates to write AT ALL. I'm just trying to get her to do a decent job, and he jumps all over her, assuming that it's his brother & sister that she's rebelling against and kicks her out of the house for her supposed disrespect of my Aunt & Uncle. I told him that I'm sick & tired of seeing my niece get away with murder and coddled & cuddled for it, and yet when my daughter does the slightest thing, he jumps down her throat.

I told him that for 23 years I've watched my baby sister be given preferential treatment by him, coddled & cuddled & getting my middle sis & I into trouble and I'm sick of it. (To my sis Shelli, Yes, I actually DID reference how K. would shriek & wake him up just because she was mad at you & I for something inconsequential as choice of TV show, and we'd get in trouble & she'd get to watch her choice of shows. And that it was a normal occurance growing up, her getting us into trouble just to get her own way.)

And now he's doing the same thing with my niece & my daughter. And that hurts MY feeelings. And I'm sick of the double standard of affection in this house. He looked a bit shocked, but didn't deny any of it, admitted that he deserved it, apologized to both DD & I and asked if we'd come back in and have dinner with him still, but that he'd understand if we didn't want to. He was rather quiet the rest of the evening. (Yes, we did stay for dinner.)

I hate that it had to happen that way, but I couldn't sit by and watch him jump all over my daughter for something that wasn't even an issue (heck, if it had been to call Aunt & Uncle, DD wouldn't have had a problem, but she HATES writing). Then to watch him try to sweep it all back under the carpet & tell us that he doesn't want DD in his house, but she can have dinner tonight, then she's not allowed back..... I just couldn't do it. I had to say it. And I didn't yell. I didn't. I was crying, and I was upset, but I didn't yell. I just told him that all the years of preferential treatment for my baby sis had hurt, for a long time. I'm somewhat sorry I hurt my dad, because I know it did, but I'm also glad I finally had the courage to speak up. Only by speaking up will anything change. I don't expect things to change drastically, or overnight, but even acknowledgement will help.

And Shelli, if he asks, PLEASE, PLEASE don't sweep it all under the carpet!!!!! Please, please don't pretend that you were never hurt by this. It's not going to do any of us any good. It never has, and it never will. And since I've finally come out and said what needed to be said, opened the floodgates, it needs to come out. Obviously I don't want to hurt Dad, but I can't keep pretending that I think K. is an angel, either. I can't keep pretending that she does no wrong (or little K. now, for that matter) and that it's all good. I don't hate K., either, but I'm sick & tired of hearing criticism from Dad over my faults (AND your faults) and how K. has no faults at all (or, none Dad will admit to, anyway). If he asks, please be as open as you can. It may hurt him, in the short term, but it will be better for us all in the long run.

Have a Blessed Day.


Connie Peterson said...

Way to go! You need to get these feelings out and you NEED to protect your daughter from comments like your father made.

Keep strong and keep doing that when needed. I hope your sister helps with bringing this issue out into the light.


Kati said...

Thanks Connie!!! Emailed Sis and she said that if Dad asked, she'd tell. We'll see if Dad asks. ;)

Niobium said...

I too fall into the same catagory as you: my brother can do no wrong. It still irratates the poop out of me and we're 35 and 30.

But I have to agree with your dad on the thank you note thing. Whether your daughter likes to write or not isn't the issue, she needs to write thank you notes. My goddessdaughter does not write them so she doesn't get gifts from me any longer. She's old enough to take the initative and do it herself. She can't be bothered writing, calling, or even emailing (the latter two I think are inappropriate thank you avenues.) then I can't be bothered spending money on her.

If someone is taking the time to shop for a gift for your daughter, and mail it to her, then she is required to send thank you notes. If she doesn't, I, as her mother, would send the gifts back with a note saying "my daughter hasn't chosen not to write thank you notes. Until she does, please don't send her anything." If she wants the gifts bad enough, she'll get over herself. I know it's a hardline to take, but kids need to learn to be polite. They shouldn't be rewarded with gifts if they can't be.

Kati said...

Oh, I'm not disagreeing with that, by any stretch, Nio. I did make her finish the thank you note in the card, and she finished it up fairly nicely, AFTER my Dad & I said our piece.

But, as I said, it wasn't about not being grateful, it was about hating writing. I'm still trying to drill into her head that writing is an important part of life and she better get the heck over her dislike of it, because she's got at least 9 more years of schooling to go. And more than that if she wants to be a Veterinarian.

So, she wrote the card, we tucked a pic inside, and it got sent off. No worries about that. For her, this is one of those things that she struggles with (actually, ANYTHING academic, she struggles with), but we're working. Tired & frustrated, but we're working. ;)

Thanks for the support.