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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Gone, But not forgotten

Josh and I have had a few sessions with a family counselor, Linda Chupik. We don’t have any huge marital problems, but sometimes we get on each others nerves. With all of the adjustments with the homecoming from this deployment and generally typical everyday strains, Josh joked one too many times about seeing one and I made the appointment. Seeing as our health care plan covers it, we decided to visit Linda on the glowing recommendation of friends.

As soon as we met Linda we both liked her. Josh is more comfortable speaking with a woman; He says he’s more likely to be able to charm a female ;) Before our appointment Tuesday my husband looked at me and said the sweetest thing ever; “I have nothing to complain about!”

I laughed and thanked him for the compliment! Josh then argued with me about whether or not that even was a compliment and I explained to him that it was, hands down, one of the nicest things I have heard in a while!

When I spoke to my dad the next evening he was shocked and, quite frankly, I was insulted!

My dad: “You mean Josh doesn’t mind how you talk to him?”

I don’t recall my exact response, but it wasn’t what I had really wanted to say; Thus I’m blogg-ing it for my own well-being, if for no other reason.

I have to say that yes, on our miserable vacation I did in fact snap at my husband several times. I admit whole heartedly that I was not exactly a “peach” to be around. What really kills tugs at my heart is yes, I am not perfect, but that I feel like my family expects this of me.

Josh loves me for who I am, even if some mornings I work his last nerve, or through the night I kick him or hog the covers. No, I do not always talk to my husband in a manner that I should, but sometimes Josh is a pill, too. We have come to accept that neither of us is perfect but at the end of the day, we are two un-perfect people and we still love each other unconditionally.

My dad has never had anything to say or ask about my marriage and he hasn’t been too quick to criticize me. However, my aunt has been the opposite.

My aunt never had kids of her own, and it made me that much more important as her neice. She always sent me thoughtful presents and I have always made her more important than 'just' an aunt.

My aunt usually has the best of intentions, but she is a man-pleaser and I am not to the same extent. When we were in New York every time I opened my mouth she would interrupt me and many of the times say the opposite of what I was actually saying. Sometimes in my family you have to interrupt to get a word in edgewise, but what Mary was doing to me was different than our family’s norm. I would also hear her complaining about me and I would say "I'm the only one here other than Stephen who does not have hearing problems; If you're going to complain about me, could you not do it infront of me?"

My aunt and I would disagree and I would go to my room and then she would follow me. I would say, "I'm not trying to fight with you, so I am going to my room, quit following me," and I would ask my dad-- "What else do you want me to do?" He didn't know what else I could do either. If I said I did not want the salad she fixed for dinner it would escalate into an argument.

Her: "You don't like salad?"
Me: "No, I did not say that; I just do not want to eat salad."
Her: "Awe! You do not like salad"! Then she would make an exaggerated sad face and I would try to explain, again, that I never said I did not like salad, but that I did not want to eat this particular salad and that no, I did not want to pick things off of it and I would get frustrated that somehow me not stuffing lettuce down my throat resulted in me ruining everyone's dinner.

I kept hearing that last February when my aunt and uncle came for a visit that this did not happen and how nice the visit was. The visit was nice, but my aunt didn’t do that to me every time I opened my mouth, either! I feel that this trip was different and that it had nothing to do with whose house we were in; I know the big difference was that this time Josh was there. My aunt wanted me to be on my ‘best behavior’ and say and do all of the right things like she would do to impress my husband.

Josh doesn’t expect me to be a person that I am not and Josh doesn’t mind me speaking or having an opinion. And when Josh is doing something around the house or with Stephen, more often than not he does not want my assistance because ‘he can do it’ and he wants it done his way. I understand that in my aunt’s marriage that she is responsible for a lot of the things that Josh does, but that is not our marriage and if Josh had a problem with our marriage, than we would make some changes, but since he is not unhappy and I am not unhappy, doing things my aunts way is not the right way for us.

Ever since I was a kid big family events have been a disaster. At my Grandma’s funeral I was left home because of some ridiculous fight over what I was going to wear. I was chubby and wanted to wear a sweater over the dress my aunt picked out. She insisted it was too hot for me to wear that. I didn’t understand why it mattered so much if I wore the sweater and my dad, uncle R and aunt were all in a tissy and the answer was to leave me home and to be mad at me. Even as an adult I do not understand why it mattered so much to everyone else if I would be too hot or not. If I was too hot I could have taken the sweater off AND they could have boasted, “I told you so.”

My graduation was yet another argument. The whole time my aunt was telling me her opinion of my relationship with my first real boyfriend. She was relentless and I didn’t want to hear what she was saying over and over. Again, another small stupid fight. My aunt went to use the bathroom and asked if she could put away makeup I had set out on the counter. I said, “No”, but when I went to put that in my bag to take with me, she had put it away anyhow.

I had gotten mad and said if you were going to do it no matter what my response was, why did you bother asking?! Somehow this manifested into “I’m not going to graduation,” and me storming out. I chose not to go to my graduation that day and walk to the podium and accept my diploma. I thought I was making some sort of stance as an adult. I agree, not my best battle choice…..

My whole family picks on me but you know what? Each and every one of us have tempers. Gee, I wonder where I got mine from.

Every one of us is stubborn as all hell.

As a kid I was the only kid. Before Stephen, I was the last Chiperno. Vacations were me flying to New York or to Alaska and playing by myself, bored, surrounded by people no where near my own age. Every time there was any type of fight I was the kid and therefore I was wrong. Then I had to apologize.

This Christmas mess of ours is pretty bad. In my opinion, this argument and the actions involved are far worse than any other argument over sweaters or makeup. This Christmas eve at 9pm I was kicked out of my aunts house (Wait, no, I guess it's my aunt's husbands' house) in Saratoga Springs, New York, which is pretty darn far from our home in Texas. Granted, only I was kicked out, but seriously: Did anyone really expect my husband, dad and son to stay?

My father gave me money to buy my cousin (from my mom’s side)’s children gifts. My husband helped me wrap them and my aunt added to the wrapping pile and kept suggesting that I bring junk food items. At nearly 8pm on Christmas Eve my aunt helped me carry these presents to the car and told me which vehicle to take and handed me keys. Josh and I were gone and hour; We were in and out of my cousin’s home and didn’t even see the kids, as they were already in bed.

My cousin, who hardly has two nickels to rub together even sent us home with a present wrapped for Stevie. She may have been a brat when we were kids, but you know what, she treats me well now that we're adults. She doesn't ask me for anything and she's proud of our family. I cannot complain about how my cousin treated me this year. She is not perfect but she's still my cousin and I love her.

Then the second I walked in the door my uncle pointed at me and told us to stop right there. He yelled at me, then put down the phone to yell some more. I stood there for twenty minutes and didn’t say a word, I just stood and was yelled at and insulted and accused of being the most negative person he has ever met, among other things. Josh and I honestly had no idea of what happened and neither of us knew of any reason for him to be upset.

At one point he said that it was even worse if I did not know and admit what I had done.

My aunt claimed she was sleeping, though there was no way I believe she slept through that. My dad missed the first part not expecting Bill to yell in that way and his hearing is not what it was. Everyone just let him yell and point and threaten; I had until noon on Christmas day to be there because he would be home and call the police on me if he ever had to see me again.

Then he said he was leaving and my dad chimed in that this was her house, that we were leaving and that he should not leave his own house. Then my uncle said, “All of those Chiperno’s are no good,” which would be the phrase that made my dad never want to see him again. Somehow all of the things he just yelled at me weren’t the tip of the iceberg, but that sentence about all of the Chiperno’s was the icing on the cake. Then he proceeded to shake my husband’s hand and say what a pleasure Josh is.

Then he said that Stephen turned off his oxygen while he was sleeping.

He left, I cried frantically and packed, my aunt, suddenly awake only after my uncle left, wanted to boast that he stuck up for her and that I was an asshole. (Her word, not mine.)

She also kept yelling that he couldn't breathe because Stephen turned off his machine and since he had said that Stephen did this before, somehow this justified his rant. Stephen should not have shut the machine off, but he is three. I know that the twins have done this before (although they know better now)and I know that he never looked at his grandsons the way he looked at my son. If he wanted to be so darn upset about the machine being turned off he should have directed this anger at my aunt or my dad, the people who were watching Stephen at this time.

She said he was drunk, but later she insisted that "he did not drink that much."

In the twenty minutes I was yelled at I heard about my son’s actions and I heard about what an awful human being I was, but I did not hear about my aunt. In spite of this, somehow my aunt said that all of this was over how I spoke to her. She also seemed to think that I "had this coming."

Later my dad said that my uncle had said he was going to have a talk with me because after we had left he said, “She’s taking my car to their house?!” My aunt had helped me carry things to his car and chose which vehicle she wanted me to drive. Before I left I told my dad where we were going, kissed him, and did all of this with my uncle sitting directly across from him, just mere feet away. In no way did Josh and I manipulate anything or lie about what we were doing. For goodness sakes, it was Christmas Eve and my aunt had had the next two days mapped out for us. If not now, when was I supposed to bring these gifts to my cousin’s kids?

Furthermore, is it their fault they were not blessed with rich parents?

The night was a messy nightmare. Christmas morning we woke up disheveled at the Holiday Inn.

Santa did not come for Stephen.

My uncle came home at noon, as promised, I am sure in hopes that he would have me escorted out by police, and they still continued on with their Christmas plans. The next day they still had their big dinner traditions and I am sure spoke poorly of me to their “better off” family.

All I have heard was poor things about his children, but today I am sure they heard these negative stories about me. Perhaps more stories about my mother’s rude mom who tormented my aunt and still does, somehow, although she’s been dead ten years.

I'm sure everyone forgot that just months before my uncle got mad at his daughter and called her the big "C" word. And I'm sure no one realized all of the stories my aunt had told about them the last four days.

My uncle’s grand boys, 4 ½, still had Santa and presents and unwrapped their stockings. They still had their Christmas feast and house guests and did all of the things that they wanted to do while my kid was at the Holiday in watching stupid Spongebob on the hotel’s TV.

I want to send my blog saying New Year or not, that I am not sorry for bringing those presents that night and I am not sorry I for a damn thing I have done since then. I am not sorry for this blog and I am not sad about my life or the adult that I have grown into.I am proud of my husband, my son, our home and the person that I am. If my family, my blood relatives, cannot accept this person than it is their loss; Not mine and not Stephen’s and not Josh’s. I do not believe I did anything wrong in bringing presents to some kids who weren’t receiving much. I also do not believe I deserved any of the above and my family certainly did not.

The last thing I want to say is that after all of those years teaching me to apologize when I was wrong, well, you should practice what you preach.

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