First – sorry that I’ve been MIA for the last week or so. I apologize to my 3 devoted readers…
As I mentioned last week, my mother passed away on May 6 after a lengthy illness. I was thinking this morning about my mom and how devastated she was after my father died 31 years ago. One of the things that bothered her was the list. The list was a running tab that she kept of money that my father “owed” her. You see, my maternal grandfather gave my mother cash every so often, and that was “her” money. She didn’t work, so I guess that was her own personal slush fund. When she would need cash for a household expense, sometimes she would use “her” money and get paid back by my father. Or not, I guess, so then she would note it on “the list.”
When he died, that’s what she had – the list.
She always regretted it. I suppose she realized that keeping track didn’t do a whole lot to contribute to the health of her marriage.
I thought a lot about keeping track in a relationship. I had some words with Mr. Ex yesterday that involved that very thing. I asked him if he had told his parents (who would, obviously, be my soon-to-be former in-laws and my children’s paternal grandparents) about my mother’s death. It was pretty much a rhetorical question, since I assumed he had. “Oh, yes,” he replied, reminding me that he had conveyed his parents’ condolences at the funeral (like I remembered…).
I put on my bitch hat. “I was just surprised,” I replied, “that they didn’t call either of the girls.”
No, I wasn’t.
He replied that I shouldn’t be; that my kids never do anything to keep in touch with them, so why should they go out of their way for my kids?
Of course, his parents have never done anything to foster a relationship with my children – not even when they were young, so why should they start now?
All of that led to an early morning thoughtfest about keeping score and how it doesn’t belong in any healthy relationship (operative term being healthy, I suppose). Football is about keeping score; marriage isn’t. Winning and losing should stay on the soccer field and out of relationships, I guess.
The problem for me, though, is that I think my needs weren’t getting met in other ways, so keeping score was how I was forced to keep track.
When, in my marriage, did it change from that intuitive knowing that you were being taken care of to having to make little mental tick marks?