Well, I guess I have a new hill. I will never, never plan a holiday meal (or maybe any other) with my adult stepchildren. I stood on this hill a few days ago, but I was unsure if it was made of quicksand or not. It now seems to be a granite mountain.
I know I react badly (emotionally) when my ire is up. I do try to give myself cool down time before making pronouncements etc. Sometimes it helps/works. This time, not so much.
On to my story:
My SO has been away for Christmas four out of the six years we have been together, due to his overseas contract work. I have always stepped into the breach with regard to his adult children. I buy gifts (whereas Dad is the cheque and gift card type dude), I bake cookies, I have them over for a gift exchange (well exchange is a misnomer since it implies a two-way street.......). I make an awesome dinner. Yah, Yah, aren't I wonderful.
It has always been like pulling teeth to get them to commit to a day to come. There is ever a reason that they cannot decide. "I don't have my work schedule yet" "I am not sure what mom is planning" "I have to wait to see what boyfrienddujour is doing" "I am not sure what stepgrandchild's family is planning". So I try to plan food that has wiggle room as far as preparation, because it is always last-minute notification that they can fit me in to pick up their gifts.
Insertion 1: Both girls KNOW that I am a planner and need advance notice for things. I make jokes about it to try not to be overbearing with my needs. I can sometimes do the 'spontaneous' thing, which works out, but it is not easy for me.
Insertion 2: Both girls also complain that they do not get enough face-time with Dad. I do my best to encourage him to have a separate relationship with them, along with trying to create 'family-time' by inviting them for dinners either in-home or out.
So this year Dad was home for the holidays. Huzzah! I spoke to both of them in early December about making plans. I called Dad's ex-wife (with whom I get along just fine) to see what her plans were. She stated that she was having them both on Christmas Day. No biggie and expected. They were also both busy Christmas Eve. So I gave them a three day window (26th through 28th) to come over for dinner. I explained (again) that I needed lead time in order to plan and cook the meal.
It has always been like pulling teeth to get them to commit to a day to come. There is always a reason that they cannot decide. "I don't have my work schedule yet" "I am not sure what mom is planning" "I have to wait to see what boyfrienddujour is doing" "I am not sure what stepgrandchild's family is planning". So I try to plan food that has wiggle room as far as preparation, because it is always last-minute notification that they can fit me in to pick up their gifts.
Does the previous paragraph look familiar? I just copied and pasted. Cue (not) new reasons for their inability to commit. Even on goldingitydang Christmas Day they still were unsure about their respective schedules. Vague promises etc.
So this past Monday Daughter #1 called. She is just too busy to fit us in. Could I possibly do lunch instead of dinner? (She works at two-o'clock so she would have time to roar in, plow down on carefully prepared food, grab her gifts and run.) I reminded her that her sister works during the day, so that would not work for her. "Oh, yeah." So anyway there was a whack of backing and forthing with no result (keep in mind I already had the turkey thawing in the fridge, so there was a smallish window). I ended up just saying that this was not working out, but perhaps we could get together for leftovers on the weekend. End of call.
On to Daughter #2. Daughter #2 is the one who has been the most vocal about not seeing Dad enough. She and I had a rocky start. I made mistakes. BIG mistakes. She was a bit of a horror show. But at the same time she is awesome, funny, smart and really cool at times. Anyway, she is the one who blames me for not being daddy's little girl anymore.
So this time, she got put first. Daughter 1 is too busy, but my thought was that does not mean we are cancelling a holiday dinner for daughter 2. At my behest, my SO got in touch with her and invited her over for dinner - this time with a specific date. We knew her work schedule so we were confident that she would be able to make it. I heard no response back* so at that point I just wrote off the entire endeavor.
*(This bit was second-hand because I don't do facebook). According to my SO, she waffled a bit with no commitment.
So Wednesday (the last day of the three day window I gave them) the phone rang with daughter #2 wanting to know what time she could come over for dinner (read - get my gear). By this time I was totally checked out. I let SO respond and I was not privy to their conversation, nor did I ask. I finally asked him this morning what he had talked with to both girls, and it did not sound like they were particularly disappointed about not having a celebration/gathering at Chez Us,
So, I am done. I am finished buying these children (adults) gifts where they tell me to my face that they are wonderful, and then I find out later that they were disparaged. ('cos D1's exmghmf was slightly larger than D2's exmghmf)**
**Of course when I told them since SO was home this year and my/our finances were tight, I would be out of the gift buying/selection process, I got a roar of protest because "You buy the most awesome gifts ever!!!" Too bad you could not have mentioned that back when.
So, in conclusion. My hill to die on is to stop trying to force, form, or forge relationships with people who give lip-service but do not follow through. I love those girls a great deal. Right now I don't like them a whole lot.
And, my apologies. I turned my post into a vomit of hurt. But it is what it is.
The good news is that I have a freezer full of delicious cookies that me and the boy will be enjoying for some time to come.........
Thanks for reading. I am actually feeling a heck of a lot better for putting this down.