I admit it. I love coffee. I love good coffee.
We took Emmy & Jude to up to see Statler & Waldorf for the weekend. By now, you know this requires certain reserves to deal with the constant challenges of basic social etiquette. Half way through day one I realized that Statler & Waldorf only drink…decaf.
How can one manage her wits without caffeine?
Okay, with that rant off my chest, here’s how the rest of the weekend went.
We arrived to the as expected litany of questions that were berated at us before we even put the kids down. I won’t lie, that makes it hard to have the touchy feely hello-how-are-ya? greeting. “Why are you so late?”, “Got a late start?”, “Where are Jude’s shoes?”, “What time did you leave?”, “Where’s your coat?”, “Did the kids sleep?”. All within 20 seconds. I’m not kidding. We didn’t have time to respond to any of the questions, so I’m not sure why there were asked.
We then decided to take everyone out for dinner as Waldorf’s birthday is coming up. We went to 3 restaurants before we could get seated, which is really fun with an infant, toddler, Statler & Waldorf. We finally got to settle in for our meal. Statler ordered a pesto pasta dish (Alec got the same dish) and she was convinced it had shrimp in it – it was tomatoes. Dinner was fairly uneventful. We got to the car & wait for Statler & Waldorf to pull their vehicle out. Alec was all, “What’s taking so long?”. I pipe up with “Statler’s throwing up in the car”. Alec, “No, they’re just slower”. 3-2-1. Waldorf pops out of the car with a plastic bag and runs back into the restaurant, runs back out, hops in the car & drives home. First thing out of Statler’s mouth when we get back is “I threw up on the car & Waldorf had to take the bag back in”. Well, at least this time we made it out of the establishment first.
Don’t ask me why this happens as it seems to happen often. I will not err on the side of the eating disorder label, but truly believe she suffers from NPD – trust me, this isn’t an arm chair diagnosis, it comes from years of stories that would wouldn’t believe. She truly believes she is physically sick, but it’s completely psycho-semantic. After 32 years of my dealing with the behaviour & trying to help, I have come to a place of acceptance on this front, which is why I’m able to maintain the relationship. Statler’s behaviour will never change & Waldorf will always feed into it because that’s how it’s been for 38 years of marriage. But also, I’m getting drained. If it were just handling of her behaviour, maybe I could keep going. I have been blessed with a wonderfully patient husband who puts up with the behaviour & helps me manage it, and I have great friends who understand that it’s just who they are.
But Emmy is starting to notice too.
I think Statler called Emmy “grouchy” about 3 or 4 times over the course of 12 hours. Waldorf wanted to know if Emmy suffers from mood swings. If you know Emmy, you know that both of those things do not describe anything about her. It hurts my heart that they don’t see the joyful little being that she is. They see her as more of an accessory. Which I know is how I was treated. The problem with accessories is that eventually they get replaced – usually when they develop an opinion.
This was why when leaving IKEA I announced to Alec that when we visit, we need to stay in hotels again. After Emmy was born, we thought we’d stay with them to maximize the visit. Now I see I have to manage the visit a little more closely. We thought IKEA would be a good outing. Emmy could play in the play area (it was full) we could stroll with Jude & Statler & Waldorf would have a fulfilling family outing. Then we got to the stairs to leave. Jude & the stroller has to go down in the elevator & Emmy wanted to go down the stairs. So we split up. Statler, me & Jude. Alec Emmy & Waldorf. There’s just some things you assume. Like, when half your party is just going down the elevator, you wait for them at the bottom of the stairs. For what ever reason, Waldorf assumed the elevator would open in another part of the building (don’t ask me why) and took off – with Alec & Emmy running after him – through emergency doors. Of course when we got through the elevator doors, no one was there. I trekked Jude & Statler through the store looking for them – which would be okay if Statler were a mute. I got to listen to “where the hell are they?” “I hate IKEA, I always get lost”, “why didn’t they stay by the stairs?”, “who would buy this junky stuff?” on a loop. I was not happy. We finally find them & Waldorf takes us through the entrance doors, because (no joke) the signs “don’t apply to everybody”.
We said goodbye to Statler & Waldorf, said “see ya at the house”. We got back to the car, loaded the kids up and that was when I told Alec my idea about staying in a hotel. He said “Why do you think that’s a good idea” and at that exact moment, Waldorf’s vehicle comes screaming – backwards – down an isle of the IKEA parking lot. Did I mention backwards? Alec’s question was then answered. It was just another example of the strangeness that surrounds them.
I’m in a weird situation. I am the only member of either familial side that speaks to them. I do really, truly love them even though they do not know who I am & their love is conditional. They do what they do because it’s all they know. I don’t think they’re malicious, they just don’t know any other way & at 70+ years old, they’ll never see it from my perspective. What I wouldn’t give to hear them say something positive about me or my family.
As I said to a friend this weekend, I don’t know what lesson I’m meant to learn here. Acceptance? I think I am as accepting as possible. Patience? Yeah, I have that in spades when it comes to them.
Is it the reminder to be positive? I didn’t hear one single positive remark in 40 hours. Seriously. Nothing is more draining.
I feel like I could sleep for 40 hours just to recover.
Instead I’ll pour myself another cup of good coffee & try to figure out how we’ll manage this relationship now that Emmy is old enough to know that something isn’t right. Instead of writing a blog, I should start my memoirs. It is stranger than fiction – Statler trumps most fictional characters.