Today is my only sons birthday. He’s 50 years old. I havent seen him or heard his voice for 9 years when he was 41. He took with him my oldest grandson who was 18 then and who is now 27.
How or why did this happen? I'll tell you. I am not at fault but they are. They both owe me an apology but I don’t see one coming after all this time.
I bet they don’t even know what happened.
Here is a timeline and gist of it.
Our grandson M was going to be turning 18 and graduating high school the same month. He was in need of a car as he had totalled the one he had purchased in a rear end accident on the way to school; going too fast, not watching what he was doing, tailgating a friend. Our oldest grandaughter was in the passenger seat and thankfully neither was injured. Insurance took care of his car loan but he was left without wheels or money. He had planned on starting collage in the fall, living at home and driving home every day.
It just so happened that around that time I had been thinking of trading in my car for a new model and this event made me speed up my actions as I was inspired to give him my old car as a bd present and graduation gift. First we talked at length to our son and daughter-in-law who were totally delighted at the offer and so I went car shopping.
It was to be a surprise and I remember well the conversation we had with them at which time our son said “this will help out our family a lot as M will be able to drive his sisters to and from school and their sports activities as well as attend collage while still living at home”
I was very concerned about the possibility of an accident and somebody dying or being seriously injured in my old car. How could I live with that? I wasn’t sure because of his accident, had he learned his lesson? Was he a good driver? Should i even be thinking of doing this? I needed to be very sure of this gift. The car wasn’t at all old at 13; it was a nice sporty model and in great condition as I had purchased it new and you know I drove it like a little old lady. It still had the looks and style of a new car and it was a heavy bodied vehicle, low milage, no scratches, never been in an accident and fully loaded with all the bells and whistles. I should mentioned too that since M was 5 yrs old he had stated his love for the car many times. He had often asked me to never sell it or at least to save it for him until he was old enough to buy it. I had always laughed at this but now here it was and it was the time! We had many happy memories and fun times in that car, tooling down the highway singing “If I had a million dollars” at the top of our lungs.
I loved that car but I had also seen the new model…. and so I took it into the dealership and they gave it a thorough going over to ensure it’s safety for it’s new young owner. And finally then I was assured that it was a car that nobody would die in and it was was a safe vehicle and everything would be ok.
After much discussion with the parents over a period of a few weeks the big day finally arrived. I drove my old car one last time out to their home while hubby followed in my new one. Needless to say M was thrilled although the surprise had been ruined by his parents telling him ahead of time. Of course in retrospect I remember he visited us more than ever in the previous few weeks, driving over in his girlfriends car and phoning several times a week….guess I just thought he loved his grandparents or something.
We should have known that he knew, but no matter; it was still an exciting moment. Finally we were off to the insurance place where it was found he couldn’t afford the insurance and his mom had to produce her credit card and that was a disappointment but I said nothing. He did however offer me a loonie which is what we thought was the procedure in giving a vehicle. We had mistakenly thought it had to be sold for a dollar to make it legal.
It had been a fun and exhilaratingly joyful day and I was really proud and happy and M was happy. I thought everybody was happy. Well, I thought we all were happy at the time.
It was when he offered me the loonie that I said to him “all I want is for you to drive it over and park in the driveway with my new car so I can look out and see them together”
Turns out that was my first of two mistakes and too much to ask and little did I know I’d never see him or that car again. So what was wrong with that request?
I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it at the time but since then even my hubby disagrees and says I shouldn’t have put that on him, like a payment or a “come kiss my feet” sort of request. Who thinks that way? It wasn’t anything remotely like that but maybe the apple dosn't fall far from the tree and that's how it was interpreted.
So, week after week went by and M didn’t drive up nor did he call. I knew he had a summer job in Whistler and I realised he was a busy kid, working and playing in a fabulous playground; he had wheels and money in his pocket and wine, women and song going on so I really didn’t sweat it. We were busy too. I did ask re his welfare of both his parents at separate times and asked them to tell him to give us a call when they heard from him or if he came home on the wknd. Then summer was over and M was attending the collage but very soon after we got the word that he had quit school and was working full time at the job in Whistler. We also heard that he had found the time to drive out to Edmonton for a few days. While I was glad he was getting around and having fun it secretly peeved me that he could do so much but not have time to call his grandparents. After 6 months there’d still been no visit or a call even though there had been a flurry of visits and calls from him earlier in the year, ok, I’ll say it “before he got the car” It seemed strange and unusual for him to not be in touch but I felt out of the loop and didn’t know what was going on and maybe it was also a busy time in our lives too. I then inquired again to my son and separately to my daughter in law. This wasn’t in a special call or visit; it was merely in passing that I asked them to tell him to give us a call. I mean, isn’t that what people do when they call someone who isn’t home they say “get him to give us a call when he gets in”? At the time I probably just thought dam kids, they never think of the old folks but I really don’t remember but i'm sure I didn’t think of it as being any big deal.
Thanksgiving arrived and so did M and his family. We feasted that year at our daughters home and M brought a friend which made it awkward to talk or get caught up with him and his life and plans. At this point I still hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing him at the wheel of my old car nor had it been in our driveway but then it was no biggy; I really am a very laid back grandma. At some point his friend mentioned that he had quit school at the same time as M and they were both working at the same job. We didn’t know any of that but he went on to say they planned to return to school after a year off. As it turned out the friend was easy to talk to; I was happy to hear something about their life; M was out of the room and I was talking to this friend re quitting school and how hard it would be to go back a year older than the rest of the students when
suddenly my son was there asking me why I was lecturing this guy. I laughingly denied any lecturing and so did the guy who said it’s ok, my parents and grandparents said the same thing. But I felt my sons anger and it was an uncomfortable moment to say the least. I felt then that I couldn’t even talk to my grandson about it; that it was none of my business and so I shut up. Something was going on and we wern’t to know. I even thought maybe we don’t want to know.
A week later at another grandchilds birthday party the other grandma told me all sorts of stuff that I hadn’t been privy to. It sucked but I didn’t say anything to anyone even though it miffed me that she always knew everything that i didn't.
Another week went by and on an outing with my daughter-in-law I asked her if would she tell M to give us a call. It was just a very brief request from a concerned grandma with no animosity or angst and then we talked of other things.
A week later I was just about to leave the house when my son phoned. He seemed in a good mood as he told me about his work and a friend who had recently passed away. We chatted for almost an hour about all sorts of things and it was possibly the best conversation I had with him ever. Then as we were just about to hang up the phone he mentioned that M might be home the next wknd but he wasn’t sure.
That’s when i said “if he comes home, tell him to give us a call; we havent heard from him in ages, ever since we gave him the car”
That’s when my son went ballistic hollering at me “that’s all you care about is that dam car! I told you not to give him that car! I told dad not to give him that car! All you’ve done is harp on it constantly!” “why did you have to go and give him that dam car”? “Harping constantly!”
I tried to remain calm even though I was seeing red. "Constantly?" I quietly responded that isn’t how it was but he was on a rant. He got louder and repeated the thing about “harping constantly” I denied it because I didn’t think I had done that. I know I didn’t do that and my mind was in a turmoil wondering wtf? I was trying to think fast, to find words to say that he had never talked to us about not wanting us to give M the car…..and how many times did I actually ask him to give M the message to call us…..how and when did I mention it….I remembered asking him twice and our daughter-in-law twice over a period of 6 months….or was it 3 times each and he was totalling them? Was it 6 times to two different people in a 6 month time period? and was that too often? Who would think that was too often? And what was the real problem? What the hell?
I then clued in immediately that it was mainly those last 7 words “ever since we gave him the car” that had hit his sore spot and I regretted saying that but it was too late, the words had come out without meaning to specify that. I should have said “we haven’t heard from him in ages, since the first of April” or “for over 7 months or something giving a different timeline reference like April fools day? I guess I just remembered in that frenzied time that it had been ever since we had given him the car and so I said that, not thinking anything of it, not even thinking it was wrong to say that. In that moment he was hateful and angry and there was no going back. All I could do was try to remain calm but I also needed to correct him on when he was saying “I sat right there on your couch and said do not give him that car!” There was no truth to that; it hadn’t happened and I didn’t even know what was now happening or where he was coming from. It was like a nightmare as I started raising my voice in order to be heard. Then he said “mother, you’re nuts. You should see a Dr. You belong in the nuthouse”
That’s when I hung up the phone.
Later when my husband got home I was a wreck telling him all this. He immediately phoned and got him out of bed to tell him “you were wrong, none of that shit is true and you owe your mother an apology” and then I heard him fumbling for words as his son was trying to tell his version of the story saying awww dad…. Then I heard my husband say to him “ awww dad nothing, you better cool off and don’t call until it’s with an apology to your mother” and he hung up the phone.
And that’s it. Nine years we’ve been waiting and still he doesn’t call. Needless to say the relationship with his wife and other kids is strained but the two youngest are friendly and outgoing and I can see what they’re doing via face book. Our oldest grandaughter was married last summer and we received an invitation but declined. How do you show up at such an important event as her wedding knowing our son will obviously be there, and most likely drunk. We wouldn’t take a chance of ruining her wedding with the chance of this drama and so didn’t go and I don’t think she really expected we would. We also missed the three girls graduations from high school fearing his reaction. I’ll never forget her graduation when instead of going to it we went to Tim Hortons where I burst into tears and sat there crying in my soup.
I miss my daughter-in-law very much as well. We were communicating for the first few years, meeting for lunch, on the phone and by email and it was a long time before I realised she was always fishing for info on things she would never have asked on her own previously like got any vacation plans? Got any new furniture? Etc. I could tell even the kids were fishing for various info that wasn’t in their usual interests and I knew they were giving their dad all the gossipy goodies and that really pissed me off. So then I ended all that because she betrayed me in my request to not tell my son anything I said and to please not show him my emails. She agreed to my request by giving me her work address to email instead of sending to their house but then one day she let it slip that she was sharing my words with him. It was difficult but my feeling was why does he want all our info; we don’t ask anything about him….so I don’t want him to know anything about us, what we’re doing or where we’re going is none of his business.
So now, we get a snail mail catch-up letter and new pics of the kids twice a year but we don’t return anything to her; no info at all, not even when my hubby was sick in the hospital and almost died. I will be relentless until I get my apology and hopefully an explanation but that isn’t a requirement. In the meanwhile I heard that M has a nice girlfriend, is now driving a truck and works out of Province but has bought a condo in the little town where I go to see my Dr. and he comes back for a week every month. I always think maybe I’ll see him somewhere there going about his business but so far it hasn’t happened and probably never will. I don’t know how I’d react if I saw him; I’m still very raw about the whole thing as really, theres no reason for him to be in a feud with us. I don’t even know him anymore and actually didn’t recognise him when I saw a balding young man in the wedding photos who looked like Prince William and I didn’t even know it was M until I figured out ok; Prince William wasn’t invited so who is this guy?
Also saw pics of my son walking his daughter down the isle, drunk, red faced and pie eyed looking miserable like it was the last place on earth he wanted to be instead of joyful at his daughters wedding.
As I finished writing this up I glanced at the time. It’s exactly 50 yrs ago he was born right down to this very minute of 1 a.m. Aug.07, 1961.
I was 17 when he was born. Maybe I was too young to be a mother but I did the best I could and he still turned out to be a jerk. His sisters born a year earlier turned out good. It’s taken me 9 long years to even be able to speak of it and I did it on the spur of the moment when I realised the date. It’s unbelievable that he’s 50 years old. Guess I won’t be wishing him a happy birthday. Actually I still can’t speak of what happened but I can now finally type of it without bawling in frustration. So there it is, a true story of what happened to our family on one crazy day 9 years ago.