Family dynamics

The first email I read this morning was from my daughter about Thanksgiving and Christmas plans this year (we are long-term planners in this family) and relating the story of A’s overreaching mother and how they handled it. Kudos to A for being firm with her in spite of the pushback. It made me smile for a lot of reasons. As smothering as his mother and extended family can be at times, I have met many of them and know it is not a malice-laced sort of smothering. Their family dynamic is different than what C grew up with and requires adjustment. Change is difficult, but not impossible, and I have to believe that love is theĀ big motivator for both of them. In order to make the relationship work in the long term, C has to accept that his family is a big, nosy, loving mess, and A to learn to establish and retain boundaries around the two of them. They will be fine.

Through all this stuff with C and A’s extended family, I remind her that they are nice people and love him. Yes they are critical sometimes, yes they are smothering a lot of the time, but when push comes to shove they are there, en masse, ready to defend, shield, protect. I cannot fault them for that. It contrasts starkly with my own family of origin. On the surface we looked fine, but it was a facade, like walls of thick styrofoam painted to look like cemented bricks. Press hard enough and the walls will fall easily; there was no protection or defense of the weaker.

I know and have known a lot of people from dysfunctional families, some far worse than my own. I have heard so many describe themselves as scarred from their childhoods. For me, I would say my childhood was well beyond scarring and into disfiguring. The ugliness can consume me instantly if I allow it to enter my thoughts without restraint.

But I digress.

This morning’s conversation with C made me realize that it has been 11 months since I met with the estate attorney handling my mom’s probate and I can feel the cranky rushing to the forefront. Thinking about my family is the Concord jet to sour irritability, yet this is something I have to resolve and get behind me. There is no reason this was not completed in 2013, except for the fact that the attorney has not done his job. I am going to have to put on my big girl panties and call him, again, about getting the final submission to the court done. It’s a simple estate and the accounting is straightforward and uncomplicated. The only thing left to do is present the numbers in appropriate legalese, attach it to whatever court-related form is required, and submit it. I write the check to the probate court and pay the lawyer and it is done. Why he has taken 11 months and not returned my phone calls or replied to my emails in the last 3 remains a mystery. I know why I am not calling and emailing him weekly about this: I hate thinking about it, hate thinking about my mother, my family, and all the angry, painful baggage that comes with it.

Yep, I am afraid to push too hard with the attorney because of my own issues. But right now I’m thinking about it, right now I’m already irritable and upset by it. Right now I am writing him another email and leaving him a message on his voice mail. Maybe October will finally be the month this all gets done. One can hope. Or one can get truly frustrated and start all over again with another attorney. There are choices here, but not necessarily ones I am prepared to take. Right now I’m going with hope.

Hope you all have a fabulous Wednesday.

2 thoughts on “Family dynamics

  1. Sorry you are still dealing with things you’d rather not! I’m the same way, I tend to ignore something and hope it goes away, which of course it does not. I’ve been trying to be better about this and just get the stuff taken care of and over with and not have it hanging over my head, always in the back of my mind.

    • Most of the time I am not much of a procrastinator – I’d much rather get it done and out of my mind.This one thing, though, has been dragging on and on and on … and I seem to want to avoid it so desperately I let it continue. Probably I’ll get something akin to an IRS notice from the court and that’s what will finally spur me to get on the lawyer’s case about getting it done.

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