Fourteen

My parents celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary this past week.

I struggled with say “happy anniversary” for my parents marriage has never been happy, at least not from my view. I did offer congratulations as I do think they deserve to be acknowledged for surviving their marriage for 47 years. It was never easy. (I left out the survival part when I congratulated them.)

I was a bit startled when I viewed my mothers facebook page a day or so later. I was wall surfing, creeping on my friends and noticed my mother had a good deal of comment traffic on her wall. This was unusual. My mother tends to use facebook to play Bejeweled, catch up on the lives of her children and grandchildren, and sometimes farm. She does not update her status and rarely comments on the walls of others, let alone her own.

In response to all the happy anniversary greetings my mother posted a response to her commenters. The last line of that response read

“Yes here we are 47 years later 4 children later and 14 grandchildren later time does fly”

Note the fourteen.

I did.

My older sister has 5 children.
I am parenting 2.
My brother has 3.
My younger sister has 3.

That adds up to 13 not fourteen.

Of course, you know as well as I do this was intentional.

She counted my daughter.

While it is not a public pronouncement, it is not lost on me that any of her friends and family(that she hides my daughters existence from)  could have done the math and figured it out. Likely even asked her, perhaps told her she counted wrong. Did she think about this before she posted that? Was her heart racing? Fingers twitching? Had she already concocted an explanation? Would she say it was a mathematical error or would she tell the truth?

I did not react to the statement. I did not question, thank or acknowledge I saw it.

I will admit that these days, I wish she did not acknowledge her. It feels to me as if it is directed at me, as an apology, a peace offering, or something similar. It seems (to me) as my mother thinks all is well with us/me/her as long as she publicly acknowledges my daughter.

It is but it isnt. Add to it is the fact that my daughter wants nothing to do with me, my mother, her first family and I feel a bit bad for my mother. I want to tell her she doesnt have to put herself out there like that. Not anymore.

The viewing of the status message, a viewing that took a mere few seconds of my life, brought about a flurry of emotions and reminded me of a question I was asked at the St. John’s conference. It is a question I am asked frequently.

What is the status of my relationship with my parents today?

I have written before about this but feel, for some reason, I need to explore it a bit.

A facebook status message should not bug me this much.

11 Thoughts.

  1. i am still wondering how my mother can claim 5 great grandchildren, without claiming that 8th grandchild. you don’t get the great grands without having the grands . . . do you?
    she claims my daughter’s children but doesn’t claim my daughter.

  2. “A facebook status message should not bug me this much.”

    I feel ya. I am constantly over analyzing some status updates of both of my families, lol.

    I can imagine how you must have felt.

  3. I know how ya feel. In my case it was just the opposite. About a month after we brought my youngest daughter home from Ethiopia my FIL got on facebook and put all of his grandchildren’s names on his account – all except hers. I was furious. I’m not sure I’m really over it but I try to ignore their hatred.

  4. That makes me kind of sad too, Suz. Because it was such a sweet gesture, such a truthful and simple gesture. And my suspicion is that it will go unnoticed by your daughter, and if not, it will probably go unappreciated. Neither of my birthparents have facebook…thank God. I wonder if they would “add me” as their daughter officially. I don’t think they’d have the guts. Sadly.

    But then again, I wouldn’t claim them as my parents. So I guess that makes me a big effin hypocrite. Who knows why I have this double standard. It’s kind of ugly.

    Anyway, Suz- go grandma! I think it was lovely. I guess only the adoption world could trick us into thinking that a normal grandma acknowledging her normal grandchild was something out of the ordinary. Sigh.

    • Amanda – Agree with all your points. Definitely will go unnoticed and most likely would very unappreciated if it was. I would love to add my daughter to my facebook and would indeed list her as such. I wont put myself out there of course because it will just be more denial, hurt, avoidance, etc. It also suggests (as you allude to in your own post) some sort of reciprocity. It doesnt, for me. I often wished I could add her to my facebook without her having to add me to hers. I wish there was one way friending. She could creep my facebook (and you are there and likely know it is nothing like this blog) at will and get a different look at me. All she knows is this blog and our few email conversations and they are by no means a full representation of me.

      Le sigh.

  5. Oh hey Suz… I linked to this post on my blog (wrote my own thoughts on the general subject.)
    Hope thats ok! If not, let me know and I’ll take it down!

  6. i guess i never really considered the facebook issue. although i rarely see or talk to my daughter, (neither of us like to talk on the phone and we live 400 miles apart) we are facebook friends and she acknowledges me as her mother there. however, i don’t think either of her A parents are internet users.
    even though our relationship is not what it shoulda coulda woulda been . . . it sucks that adoption makes us feel thankful for so much less than we deserve.
    damn it! we shouldn’t have to feel grateful for the crumbs.

  7. My mother died 10 years into my reunion, long before Facebook came along. Not that it would have mattered since my father still doesn’t have a computer, nor would be into that, five years later. I never heard her publicly state how many grandchildren (or great grandchildren) she had. I suspect it would have depended on who she was talking to… as in, who knew about me and my son and my grandchildren.

    I believe I would have felt good if she counted my son and his children, But that’s coming from a place where I, and then she and my father, were in touch with my son, had met him and his children. After keeping them secret for so long, even when I was in reunion, I would have considered that progress. Almost an apology, but not quite.

    I understand your feelings, Suz. And yet, I consider that acknowledgement some odd sort of progress… apology?

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