Linda - posted on 02/16/2012 ( 120 moms have responded )
I have a very confusing situation that has been a big problem in my family for 38 years now. My FULL sister married my ex-husband following an affair that started prior to our divorce. Obviously a very difficult situation right from the start for me. My 2 sons were at the time of their marriage ages 1 year and 4 years old.
My older son married in the late 90s and in their wedding program it showed on my son’s side as 3 parents: My name first, then his father’s and then my sister’s (as a parent too!). I was very upset but avoided making a scene at the wedding but did acknowledge that I found it in very poor taste that my invitation was sent to my other sister’s address. The response was that I had moved out of state and no one had my new address even though to me I knew this not to be true as I had talked over the telephone to my son several times after the move & at any of those times could have been asked for my new address. I need to also mention that my daughter-in-law is also from a divorced family and her step-father had raised her since a small child and was also listed as a “parent” in their wedding brochure. I had to sit next to my sister in the front pew with my ex-husband (with all three of us as my son's parents!) Is this done normally with the step-mother in the front pew? Obviously I was very upset with this as I thought only 2 people produced this child & would like to have had one thing that was mine during the wedding and not have to share with HER!! I felt that as the groom's mother there was absolutely no respect for me at all for doing this along with listing her as a "parent" in the program.
Over the years since my grandchildren have been born I am still dealing with another very sensitive situation with my son and his wife having the children call the grandparents as Grandpa or Grandma (1st name) including my sister is a step-grandparent. My sister has a daughter and grandchildren of her own and does not have to share with anyone since her daughter's father (sister's ex-husband) passed away when her daughter was about 8 years old. Now my ex-husband (sister's current husband) have HER daughter call my ex-husband dad and her children call him Grandpa.
I know that I do hold a lot of resentment with my sister and my ex-husband (and understandably so I feel) that in the early years during my divorce I was basically tossed out of my house to find another one. Thinking back I wonder what in the world my lawyer was doing to help me but I was told then by my ex-husband that since HIS family had co-signed for the note for us to get the down-payment that unless I could afford both the house payment and the note for the down payment that I would have to forfeit keeping the house and move out. I was a secretary and that time and not making that much money and definitely not to afford to pay for both the note and house payment and therefore moved out with the boys. I could not afford our new car payment either with the small wages I was receiving at the time. At this same time my ex-husband was unemployed but his parents kept his payments made for the house during his unemployment along apparently for the car too. My parents were very poor and both alcoholics and no help for me at all financially nor emotionally. Fresh from my divorce here I was with 2 children (at age 22) needing to find another home to live in, another car, and my sister moved right in with everything that WAS mine. I was not aware that they were even seeing each other until a week before the divorce was final and then he proudly admitted that there wasn't one but four during our marriage. My sister-in-law had told me that she saw him with some lady in a car one day but I was convinced she had to be wrong until I found a billfold of a woman's in the floor of our car! So for many years I had the repeated pain of seeing my own sister driving my car and living in my house with my ex-husband (even though I wanted to be divorced but not to my OWN sister) and the rest of my family seemed to accept all that she had done to me and just said that we needed to all get along and not be upset at each other. LOL
Now my older son is giving me a LOT of grief saying that I am being irrational about my sister being called, Grandma (1st name) and that there can’t be enough love in a family. To make it more difficult, my daughter-in-law is also a psychologist with her PhD and seems to holds a lot of clout with both my sons on how things should be handled in the family. LOL Long before she received ANY degree for anything in college, she was very apparent to me undermining my relationship with my son while they were living together in college but I continually stood strong and took it. One time in particular while he and his girlfriend (later his wife) were living together I visited with my two dogs and my son told me that I was "infringing on his dogs' space" by having to put his dogs in the basement kennel during my visit. I had driven to visit him from out of state and drove up to visit after not seeing him for probably close to a year at that time. Obviously I left then feeling very hurt.
Now dealing with the grandparent. Am I being too sensitive with all of this? I feel that 2 grandparents (of the father and mother of my grandchildren) should be called Grandma & Grandpa? I certainly feel that there should be all types of love for the grandchildren in all ways but isn't it "respect" for the Grandparents to have these titles only.
Now last month to add to all that has happened over the years, my ex-husband (my son's father) passed away and my sister (my son's step-mother) had a private memorial and my son said that she "accidentally" sent me several pictures of the memorial but in one particular picture shows her with my older son, her daughter (by other marriage) and my younger son in one photo and then photos of other family members of "his and her's" that I had divorced almost 40 years ago. My sons always brag to me about how that family get along so well and I think it the pictures were sent to me in spite by my sister but my sons uphold her "always." Just last week my younger son told me that my parents drove their kids away by alcohol and that I am with bitterness!!! With everything it appears that the general response from both my sons is "come from love" Mom but where is the love when "MY" feelings am concerned? As far as calling my sister Grandma, my sister in law's response is, "There never can be enough love given to the kids" but WHEN will I have one thing that is MINE only and not HER's and MINE to have to share? With the way my own sister has treated me over the many many years and especially with ALL the men in the world to have to marry MY ex-husband, I haven't considered her any kind of a sister at all but only as the wife to my ex-husband that I had to deal with periodically as my two sons grew up. Most people divorce and then only deal with the ex and his wife but in my case I am also dealing with MY family as he is married to my sister! BTW, my biological niece (her daughter) is not allowed (according to them by my sister) to call my sons as cousin but as "sister" being a step-sister. My daughter-in-law calls her daughter a sister and her children as nieces and nephews. I don't believe I ever heard my niece call me Aunt either LOL but I am rarely around her anyway with me and her mother nothing getting along. What an absolute mess! Now I know the term of "being my own grandpa" that I used to hear many years ago. LOL My sons both say I am too sensitive over everything but I am to the point that in order to keep my sanity I may have to have nothing to do with either my sons & stay completely away from all the drama with that family. My younger son has told me that if he isn't allowed to discuss that family with me then he has nothing else to talk about with me then. :-( The pain for me is WAY too much to deal with anymore and never never ends! How would you handle all of this? Your comments is SO GREATLY appreciated!! Linda