“Feelin Near As Faded As My Jeans” Janis Joplin

From family to all too familiar and far from festive holiday chaos, I can’t wait for Christmas to come and go. Seriously. The competition among my son and nieces continues in Fort Worth, Texas. Ugh.

Today while running between client meetings, trying to do a little Christmas shopping and picking up my niece to buy uniforms for her to start a new job on Saturday, Cindy and I were having somewhat of a good day although it was busy.

I was planning to meet my son sometime today in order to pay for new tires on his wife’s jeep.

A few weeks ago, I paid for new tires on my son’s truck.

Usually when I’m writing checks, I expect people to be thankful. Most people do.

But because I had my niece, Stephaney with Cindy and I today, my son started a scene at Discount Tires angry and agitated that “I had my niece with me. I told you I don’t want to see her.”

Apparently, my son and I were both flying into Discount Tires HOT.

Irritated, I told him “I asked several times what time to meet you. I had 11 things I needed to do between 10AM and 4PM. Rather than give me a time to do something for you, you tell me “you will call when you are in town.”

I’m spending hundreds of dollars at HIS convenience? On HIS wife after spending hundreds of dollars to put new tires on his truck and I’m getting yelled at because my niece is with me?

“Excuse me if I don’t have time to sit at home and wait on my phone to ring. I’m doing something for YOU not ME and a thank you would be nice.”

My son walked out still complaining and agitated to Discount Tire with me. “I told you I don’t want to be around my cousin. I told you o don’t want her around my son. I’m serious. If you have her with you I don’t want to see you.”

As other shoppers looked on, I instructed the salesperson to “wrap this up. As you can see I have drama. How much is it? I can’t pay fast enough to get out of here.”

Five hundred dollars later, I see my son NOW over at my vehicle yelling at my twin who cannot handle stress after her heart surgery. I am beyond upset about this.

Anyone yelling at Cindy might as well be yelling at me. Unlike Cindy, I’m not fragile. Unlike Cindy, I say what I think too.

Last week, I suggested getting holiday photo’s of my new grandson to my son and his wife.

Two nights ago, I had a text from my daughter in law regarding my request to have Christmas photos of my new grandson. Of course, I planned to pay for these photos.

I was a little surprised that my daughter in law had booked a session for $200 as I was expecting to pay $75-100. Whatever. While out Christmas shopping, I also bought holiday sweaters for my son and his wife and a holiday outfit for my grandson.

I arrived ready to pay with the clothing I had just purchased and was not a bit surprised to hear “that special requires that you prebook 24 hours in advance. Since you didn’t, you don’t qualify for the package. It’s right there in fine print.” Aha. The old fine print.

I (as usual) say I will pay whatever it is. We’ve now been at this photography studio 3 hours. I’m tired and hungry. The baby, my son and his wife are also hungry and agitated. I decide to take them next door to Le Madelaine for a light dinner of soup and salad.

Cindy and I are always “doing, doing, doing” for our children and grandchildren, clients and husbands.

Our clients and husbands are thankful. Our adult children are competitive and often quarreling over one thing or another at any given time.

Cindy sees other happy family photo’s on FB and Instagram. Cindy like me wonders “why we can’t have happy holiday photos? We are the mothers we never had. The parents we’ve never known and the most self sacrificing SOB’s I’ve ever met. What does it take to have a happy family that isn’t constantly mad at so and so or not speaking to so and so or doesn’t want to see so and so?”

Cindy had a valid question. I wonder the same thing too. Usually on Mother’s Day, our birthday, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. You know when other happy families are posting photo’s.

I tell Cindy “people aren’t posting failures or unhappy events. They are posting things they are happy about and even editing their photo’s so much that sometimes I can’t recognize real pictures of people that aren’t filtered.”

We live in a faux world where everyone filters their photos and some people even stage the photos.

My niece, Leigh Ann won’t post a photo of her daughter, Maddy crying.

Cindy and I will because kids aren’t posing and smiling all day. Come on. Perfect photos of kids? How unrealistic.

Social media would have you believing that every family except your own is dancing from one glorious day right into the next. Don’t you believe it buddy. I call B.S.

I certainly wasn’t having a glorious day dealing with my son who was upset at Cindy and I as well as Stephaney who did nothing other than being in my vehicle today to cause this incident that Cindy and I are both still upset about.

After all, Stephaney is Cindy’s daughter regardless of what pure Hell her choices have put us through for all of these years while raising Stephaney’s twin daughters.

Cindy and I both feel frequently feel like we are in a whirlwind of dirt and debris flying at us when dealing with our family about Stephaney. Cindy and I are the only two people who care about Stephaney.

Addicts destroy families. They burn bridges. Eventually they have no one. They can’t remember what they’ve said or done. Their families can’t forget.

Matthew and I are giving Cindy his Rogue for Christmas and giving Makenna Cindy’s Outlander. Makenna is anxious to start driving and is also planning to pay her own car insurance. Maryssa decided to quit the job she’s had only three weeks and has no interest in taking a driving course.

Makenna has always been driven. Maryssa has never been ambitious. The twins have compensating personalities.

Maryssa sent Cindy and I a text the read “I’m quitting my job today. I can’t handle it anymore. They don’t have enough staff and this job is making it difficult to keep up with my schoolwork.”

We responded “do what you want to do buddy. We didn’t tell you to get a job. You wanted to. You don’t have any bills. Focus on school.”

A few minutes later, after I had suggested putting in a two weeks notice as a professional courtesy, Maryssa sent us a copy of the text she had sent quitting. Ugh. There goes professional courtesy or a referral from the first job Maryssa has had outside of Texas Twins Events.

Makenna is doing well in her fourth month at McDonald’s but is also dealing with a young boy who is being a bit “too much” to deal with. We suggested switching her schedules.

This McDonald’s Don Juan is making her job stressful. But Makenna doesn’t want to go to management. Maryssa didn’t either. She chose to quit instead.

I sent my son a text after answering three people with CLM issues.

TDCJ policy makes it very difficult to undo a CLM status. TDCJ policy per the 2015 Administrative Directive pertaining to inmate marriage states that a CLM Status must be claimed upon entering. Not after but upon entering. Once an inmate has entered the system, claiming to be living with someone by use of the Informal Marriage Affidavit is difficult if not impossible to claim. Instead, TDCJ has protocol in place to legally marry on site.

Another email came in regarding a former officer trying to marry an inmate. TDCJ policy strictly addresses former employees and former inmates. The wait time to become an Approved visitor (a requirement for clients wishing to marry an inmate within a TDCJ facility) if you are a former employee or offender is two years. Period. You can argue all you want but policy and procedure aren’t negotiable.

I sent a text to my son telling him how upset I was that he had upset my sister solely because I had Stephaney with me today. I don’t need permission for who I have in my vehicle. Cindy doesn’t either. Especially when I’m trying to do something for someone out of my own pocket.

My husband doesn’t tell me who to spend time with and my son or my other niece, Leigh Ann aren’t going to either.

Cindy and I are sick and tired of defending ourselves about helping Stephaney. It’s lonely. We are isolated. We have no support from the rest of our family. My heart aches about this conflict.

Stephaney starts her new job Saturday. I pray and hope that she keeps this job. I reinforced to her today as I have so many times that she only has Cindy and I and the reason is that she has herself and her choices to blame for the rest of the family wanting anything to do with her.

I’ve saved my son, my nieces and my family over and over again throughout my life but my patience and my tolerance regarding everyone in my family not contributing to Stephaney’s well being or welfare and choosing instead to complain to Cindy and I have “no skin in the game.” It’s ALWAYS to sit on the sidelines or in the peanut gallery and give your opinion when you don’t have any skin in the game.

For us folks that do put some skin in the game though, they’ve learned the hard way that love is sacrifice. We’ve learned that people in our family have plenty of opinions but aren’t willing to put their opinions to good use.

Stephaney has a road ahead of her. Stephaney has an opportunity to earn enough money to buy a car and rent an apartment. Stephaney is learning that if “you want something you have to work for it.” It’s my new motto for 2020.

Sure, I could’ve bought perfume and purses and things the kids didn’t need this year but my son and his wife needed tires. I wanted photos of my grandson and I wanted my twin sister in a 2 year old car rather than a 10 year old car.

My grandniece, Makenna is thrilled to be getting Cindy’s Outlander. Cindy is thrilled to be getting the Rogue. I don’t have to worry about my son and his wife driving my grandson around on bald tires either. I’m a realist.

Christmas isn’t about getting what you want. Christmas is a time of reflection and appreciating what you have.

Stephaney has a new job and new opportunities. She has yet another fresh start and chance to prove herself. I hope she does this time.

Stephaney (not surprisingly) asked “how much money have you spent on Robert and his wife and the baby?” I skipped a beat before answering. “Nowhere near the 50k your mom and I have spent on you the past 6 years.” That ended the competition conversation with Stephaney.

Leigh Ann was talking to Cindy on FaceTime when my son jerked open the passenger door to tell Cindy “I don’t want to see Stephaney or be around her. I told you that.” This conversation was unnecessary and unwarranted.

Had my son followed me into Discount Tire rather than focusing on who I had in my vehicle, the drama and chaos over having my niece with me would have never happened.

Cindy and I would have had a great day as we had been doing previously.

My daughter in law now has brand new tires that fit her Jeep unlike the tires that were on it when she bought it and I wouldn’t still be upset about my son upsetting my sister, my niece and I by yelling at all three of us “I don’t want to be around Stephaney. If she is with you, I don’t want to see you.”

We can’t control what other people think or feel or how they act. We can control how we respond to them though. I’m mailing Christmas gifts to my family this year. I prefer to have peace. I’m sick of the drama that carried over from Thanksgiving when my son and other niece and Grandnieces were upset that Cindy and I took Stephaney to the movies. Why do they care? They didn’t go. I don’t ask permission to do anything from my husband. Cindy doesn’t either. I’m too old and too tired to continue trying to be the peacemaker in my family. If they can’t force themselves to be civil to one another I can’t force them to either.

It’s too bad people don’t think about what they say and how what they say effects others. The world would be a better place if they did…