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He was a beautiful, intelligent child.   To be honest, I always favored him.  I didn’t love him anymore than I loved the other children.  I just enjoyed his company.  I felt I understood him better.  He was easier.  He was the most obedient of them all.  He was my precious first born son.

I sacrificed greatly for him, and I forced the rest of the family to sacrifice as well.  My fifth son spent the first two years of his life in a car seat while I ran S from activity to activity, building his portfolio so colleges would view him favorably.  We had a tuition commitment to his prestigious university, and I sent him boxes of food.  We ate rice and beans, and we rationed.

I had the chance to leave when R was arrested the summer S graduated home school.  I knew if I did though, S could not go to college.  I knew what R would put me through.  I knew what it would be like.  And, I knew I could not afford college as a single, unemployed mother.  So, I took R back solely for the continuation of S’s plans.

We spent money we didn’t have to go visit S.  And, he left us alone in the city, in our motel room watching TV, while he went out with his friends.

My ex husband and the other children complained bitterly.  But, this was how it had to be.  We couldn’t allow our circumstances to rob him of his wonderful opportunities.

And, it paid off.  He makes good money in DC as a defense analyst.  He travels the world.  He lives in a beautiful townhouse. 

He’s become pretentious and entitled.

I was nervous about the holiday.  My kids all have strong personalities, and I’m getting stronger.  I had a strange sense that I may blow up and tell all of my adult kids just what I really think. 

But, it was him.  S blew up and told me what he really thinks.  And, I had to say goodbye to him.  Forever.  For now.  I’m dead to him.

Things seemed okay when he and his girlfriend arrived, though I noticed they appeared to resent me working while they were here.  But, it got weird when my daughter asked me to babysit her sick child on the second day of their visit. 

My son said I had to tell her no.  They didn’t want to get sick.  I explained that I didn’t either, but I knew A would be mad at me if I said no.  It went around and around.  They said I’m a pushover and need to learn to say no.  The girlfriend said  I couldn’t let A expect that of me.  It’s no way to live.   Say no.   I am a single mom, working all of the time, and I needed a break.

I made a comment that all of my adult kids make me feel this way, and they acted shocked that they may be included in that.  They expressed that they hoped they didn’t. 

While I was on the phone the girlfriend demanded that my 14 year old lock the gate to my property so my daughter would be unable to get in the next morning.   It didn’t matter.  At their insistence I told my daughter I couldn’t help her. 

She admitted later that it made her mad that I wouldn’t babysit for her, but she came over the next evening anyway, bringing homemade cheesecake for us all. 

My son, upon realizing she’d pulled up to the house, told us to grab our coats quickly and leave.  He didn’t want his sister coming in.  I, however, invited her to come with us.

We all caravaned and looked at Christmas lights.  Then, we came back to my house for her cheesecake.  It could have been a beautiful holiday memory.  But, the tension could be cut with the same knife we used on the dessert.

Over the next few days conversations were strained.  The younger children and I were maids and prisoners, dutifully obeying their commands.  We were insulted.  False assumptions were made about how we live.  They ate me out of house and home and then bought expensive foods with the expectation I’d pay for it.  They tore up my belongings and let their rabbit run all over my house, urinating and defecating on everything. 

We have all always loved and looked forward to our annual New Years bon fire.  I made enchiladas and Tri tip stew and individual cheesecakes in little mason jars.  I displayed things neatly outside on tables, labeling chalkboard trays I’d made last summer just for this night.  I set up an adult hot chocolate bar, and we had sparkling cider for our midnight toast.  I’d bought fireworks on July 5th and saved them.  It’s a big deal to us.

A, my second son, brought friends who seemed impressed by our little party.  R Jr brought his girlfriend.  My son in law came and was funny. 

All seven of my kids were here.   The four adult children brought their significant others.  My granddaughter and A’s girlfriend’s baby were here. Plus, A’s two good friends participated in everything, including family photos (at my invitation).  The potential was there for an incredible night!

I only went out to the fire a few times though.  I felt pushed away.  There was no doubt the final time I tried.  The kids were talking very vulgar, and I thought S said something he hadn’t said.  It was just one word that I misheard.  Instead of laughing it off as I was, he walked toward me and said, “Get your mind out of the gutter.  That’s where your mind goes because that’s what you’ve always hung out with your entire life. …. penises.”   I snapped at him quietly, “You’re not cute anymore.”  He responded, “Really?  I’m not cute?” with a self impressed smirk.  With that I returned to the dark house and didn’t come out again. 

The following day E and I cleaned up the huge mess without any help from S and his girlfriend.  They spent another day on my couch, cuddled under blankets, watching TV, only getting up to eat.  I angered him yet again when I suggested I retrieve his boxes from the storage unit I pay for, so he could sort them.  

I’ve been asking him to do it for years, but he never “had the time” when he’s here.   I made several trips in my car, bringing box after box to them while they never moved from the couch.  I hauled the garbage out to my can for pick up and some I burned.   I bagged stuff for donating.  And, then, I loaded boxes back into my car and returned the remainder to my storage unit.  He never left the couch. 

A came over that evening with just her daughter, but S and K refused to acknowledge her or visit with us.  They shushed us and turned my television up loud enough to blow the speakers.  A and I sat on the cold kitchen floor to visit while S and K “owned” the only heated room in the house.  E turned the TV down, nicely explaining that the speakers could blow at that level.  An argument ensued between E and the girlfriend with S and E going back and forth, turning the TV up and turning it down.   E finally walked away.

When their movie (Frozen) was over, they stood up and, as she had every other night, K barked at us to go to bed.  One night she had yelled at me to get out of her bedroom (my living room) and then demanded I wash clean towels for her for morning though.

I had had enough.  I was sick.  Ironically, after S threw the fit about not wanting to get sick from A’s child, he became symptomatic the very next day with something he’d brought from Portland and ended up spreading it through the house.  I asked E to fill the kerosene heater before bed, in an act of protest.  After six nights in the living room K had decided, without saying a word to me, to sleep in my youngest daughter’s room.   E would have to go through that room to fill the kerosene, and S snapped at E.  I responded this time and simply said, “We need that heat.”   S told me to knock it off.  And, I responded for him to knock it off.   It went back and forth several times until he told me I’d started if all.  To which I responded that he had.  Again, it volleyed in a juvenile way until I walked off. 

He knocked on my door and asked to speak to me.  He was calm but let me have it.   He hurled one accusation after another.   I was pushing my issues off onto him by forcing him to sort his boxes.  I can’t maintain a friendship for any length of time.  I’m negative and bitch about everything.  I never see the positive in anything.  I talk out both sides of my face.  I think I know him, but I don’t.  None of my adult kids like me and never have.  I’m still the same horrible person I’ve always been.  I’m a doormat.   I need to be more gentle.  My younger three kids deserve better than me.  I tell the same boring stories over and over again.  He asks me a question and I talk and talk and talk without ever answering him.  I’m too sensitive.   And, he is ashamed of us.  We’re white trash.  We’re too loud.  He said,  “A (his younger brother) is a toothless, semi recovering drug addict and A (his older sister) dresses from Walmart.  Everyone is standing out around that fire dressed in flannel shirts.  The circumstances here are embarrassing…..the poverty you all live in.   And, nothing changes.  It’s how you all live.”

I cried but stayed calm.  I responded and told him I respected his feelings but what he said was unfair.  And, I told him I want my grandmother’s wedding ring back. I don’t want K having it.  He replied that she’d wanted to talk to me about it anyway.  They “want something that [they] choose and represents [them], not something from two dead people [they] never even met.”

He said that he wants me out of his life until he sees the changes in me that he expects.  I’m never to call him.  I can text pictures if the youngest two have some recital or speech or something special.  He’s not coming back here.  

They left early the next morning. 

I was gutted by his false accusations, his coldness, and his cruelty.  But, I later told A, my oldest daughter, “I’m not devastated.  I have six other children I enjoy and two grandchildren who bring tremendous joy to my life.”   She chuckled and replied, “That’s good news for the rest of us!  We’ve waited a long time to hear that!”

So, I’m starting off this new year by letting go of my favored child, paying the consequences of spoiling him, the consequences of raising my children in an environment where everything is my fault and it’s 100% acceptable to treat me with disrespect.  But, I’m also starting off this year with new boundaries in place.  He threatened me that I’ll be missing out on a lot this coming year.  And, he’s right.  But, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.