Last weekend KM (not my sister CA) asked to talk to me about something with MG's therapy. She was weird about it and didn't want to talk to me in person. Turns out that when the girls were together (without adults around) over spring break, E and M talked to KT and MG about how CA and KM are not their mommy. This all came up because the big sisters discovered that their little sisters refer to their parents as Jeanne and Mr. Mike.
Neither of the little girls call my sister or KM mommy. In fact, KT doesn't even include "aunt" in front of their names, which is my opinion is disrespectful. But KM and CA (and I guess MG's therapist), think that the word "mom" is confusing for the little girls.
As KM recounted this to me, it was apparent that it wasn't something that bothered the little girls but that it upset CA and KM. It's like they are erasing Jeanne and Mike for the little girls. It makes me sick to my stomach. I have no problem with others referring to them as their "moms." I get that all the times with E and M. But to chastise the big girls for wanting to acknowledge their mom and dad and the connection the sisters have with each other is awful. I understand that the girls are each in different places developmentally, but how can it be healthy to have their parents disappear from their lives completely?
Jeanne and Mike are their mommy and daddy. That is fact. Mr. Mike? Really? How is it good for any of the kids to not accept the reality? In a way it's stealing away the little girls' story from them. I can't imagine any therapist would agree that not talking about or even using the names mommy and daddy can be good for their long term mental health. CA and KM are so insecure in their role as parents with KT and MG. In the discussion with KM, I was also patronized and given ridiculous lectures on child development despite the fact that I have been raising three children and HAVE A SIX YEAR OLD!! Not once in this discussion did they show any empathy or concern for E and M and their feelings. As K pointed out last night as we talked about it, CA and KM makes things so much harder on themselves when they wrap themselves in their lies.
Turns out that it's really been bothering the big girls and they brought it up with me last night. The discussion also brought out all kinds of insecurities with M who admitted that she still worries that we'll send her away. It was really sad and a hard discussion. I had to make sure I didn't throw CA under the bus, but show the girls I understand how they feel.
We talked about writing a book (sister C's idea) with pictures for the little sisters to help tell their family story and show their entire family including aunts, uncles, cousins, parents and grandparents who all love and adore them. I tried to show that we should try to deal with this in a positive way rather than attack CA and KM.
As we prove every day in this house, family is about love not names or labels like "aunt," "uncle," or "cousin."
For A's 13th birthday, I made "Herping with A****" shirts to support his YouTube channel on herpetology. I made shirts for the entire family. It was so funny and the kind of spontaneous, goofy sort of thing the old Peg loved to do. He was so cute when he first saw them, saying, "Mom, I've got a brand!"
Me and the birthday boy sporting our shirts.
The whole family.
E, my mom and dad.
M and her beautiful smile.
We love Herping with A****!!
If you can see it, the picture on the shirt is a photo A took of a timber rattlesnake last summer. It was so much fun celebrating my smart, quirky little boy turn into a teenager.
My grandfather's funeral is on May 29th. He died on April 17th.
It makes me so sad. My cousins couldn't fit it in their schedule and my dad bowed to their wishes.
D is going to do a reading. Sister C is doing a eulogy.
We've talked a lot about death these past days and weeks. More than usual, which says a lot. There's nothing like having the tough conversations to make you realize how challenging parenting can be.
I've realized though that it's these difficult conversations that help you earn those parenting badges that you can be proud of...although I have to say I really love those shirts.