Friday, January 4, 2013

Running In Circles

I really hate the situation I find myself right now, with my daughter hurting and me not being able to help her. Richard and I have the agreement not to lie to the girls (ok, maybe Santa and the Easter Bunny don't count) but to raise them to be aware of the world around them and reality.

Lily is just about to turn 5, and very much aware of the things going on around her. Tonight, while we cuddled after her good-night story, she turned to me with a very sad face, telling me she thinks that her grandmas don't love her because they don't care about her. Here I am, baffled... What am I to tell her? I tried my best to comfort her, telling her that her grandmas live a distance away and are very busy, but that they still love her.

I am not sure if she believed me; I even did not believe myself... The situation is, safe to say, difficult. We live a continent away from one set of grandparents and about one hour by car from the other, and both sets of grandparents have their priorities, which is the welfare of their other grandchildren. Even when we still lived in the U.S., the American grandparents never cared much for the girls, because they are girls, because they are mine, because they are half-foreigners, I don't know. I could never wrap my head around how someone could reject such a perfectly sweet little girl as Lily is. She never got the presents, she never got the attention, she never got the love as her cousins did. We moved to Germany and hoped to receive more support from my parents, but nothing has changed. Lily and Violet are still second fiddle, if that. It hurts me so much I want to scream. These little girls are my everything, and it is my duty to protect them. but how to protect them if it is not within my power to change anything? I always try to help them focus on all the people who love them so very much, even though we are not blood-related to them. But still, Lily starts to feel the resentment from the people she's related to, and before much longer, Violet will notice it, too.

What to do? I cannot just cut ties, even though it hurts me so much to see how my family is treated. Can you believe that a mother tells her son, who's calling for New Year "well, I cannot talk to you, we're about to head out and buy a birthday cake for our grandson"? At the same time they send him a birthday card that more than bluntly hinted that he should call his parents more often? 

I've been running in circles over this issues for years, and I am honestly quite tired of it, but still no solution in sight...


  1. My own grandmother (paternal) much preferred my older sister--she was from my father's first wife, the wealthy beauty queen. (the one that wanted to give my sister up for adoption when she was one and a half because she "just couldn't take it anymore." hense, divorce) My childhood is speckled with memories of my $5 doll and Terri's $50 one. Mine (and my younger sister's) were wrapped in green paper...Terri's in gold. At least in your situation, it mainly resides outside your walls.

    I feel your pain, both my parents and my husband's are not really interested in my boys...but as you said, I just tell them this is the way it is. As a parent, we have a massive desire to protect our children from rejection and pain....but these two things are a very real part of life. Sorta like goldfish as first pets--you practice loving and losing them...this helps you when it's a hampster...and then a puppy...and then a grandma. This pain, as awful as it is, is a first step toward teaching your girls the compassion they need--and the eyes to see. Maybe ask your daughter exactly what makes her feel this way--and exactly how it makes her feel. Talk about not wanting to ever make someone else feel that way...about how paying attention to the people that are important to her will prevent her making someone else feel this way. Maybe talk about how she can show her love to people...shift the discussion to who she could make a card for or send a letter, draw a picture.

    I've learned that people who've had a "perfect life" with perfect families that didn't struggle....they turn out rather badly. Compassion begins in pain. This is cold comfort when you're watching your children struggle, I know.

    I pity the grandparents that are missing out on your little angels. Any chance you could write a letter explaining how you feel?

    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Chantel. Growing up, I was the favorite of our grandparents, who lived right next door. To be honest, I did not enjoy the status as I grew older, and I truly believe that my mother tried (and still tries) to compensate by pushing my sister's self-confidence and keeping telling me about all my "mistakes" (arrogant, bookish, but not at all practical, basically incompetent to lead a self-supported life, etc.). I have argued with them so often about that issue, but especially my mom turns a blind eye to the truth. My mother-in-law, on the other hand, simply considers girls inferior. She was convinced that Lily would be a boy, and oh, was she disappointed when we announced the birth of our daughter.

      The only solution I see for our family is trying to detach ourselves as much as possible from this poisonous influence, trying to focus the girls' attention to the people who truly love them for who they are. Thank you for the tip of making cards with the girls to send to those wonderful people in our lives, I might just do that today :-)