I need an outlet today. I need to get something out of my brain. It's only vaguely adoption-related, and it's nothing I'm proud of, but I need to get it out just the same.
I never watched Keith Olbermann's TV show - I had to Google him to figure out how to spell his name. But I am vaguely familiar with one part of the program because of an episode of "The Simpsons." Apparently Mr. Olbermann liked to single out individuals with whom he disagreed and label them that day's Worst Person in the World.
I'm not sure by what authority he makes such claims, or in comparison to whom. If Keith Olbermann had ever met my high school band director, Mrs. Woodard, he'd think Ann Coulter was just a sweetheart. Mrs. Woodard was a musical Mussolini. When I quit band after my sophomore year, she spent ten minutes yelling at me and telling me what an awful person I was and how I was a quitter and loser and I'd never amount to anything and how she was ashamed of me. Apparently this was meant to convince me to stick around.
Most of the time I think I'm a pretty decent person. I'm not perfect, but I think most of us have our moments, don't we? Most of the time I am mostly good, and I do the best I can. It's human nature to judge people and to compare ourselves to others. As long as I keep it to myself, or between myself and God, and remind myself that I probably shouldn't be judging, I think I'm doing alright. I am much less judg-y than I used to be.
But every now and then I'll have a thought that is perhaps not very kind, and I wonder if anyone else would be as mean, or if Keith Olbermann was mistaken because I am the Worst Person in the World. I don't want to think these thoughts, but they keep popping up and several of them have been doing so regularly since my mom got married last December.
Usually it happens when I hear my mother's husband say he has eleven grandchildren.
My mother has eleven grandchildren. She's only got ten, strictly speaking, but she likes to count Roo, too. I mean, Roo's already got grandparents and everything, and I don't count Roo when people ask me if I have any children, so it's a little funny for me, but whatever. If my mom wants to count Roo as #9, she's allowed.
I actually insisted that she count Roo at first, because after I placed it seemed like most people I knew expected me to just move on with my life and pretend I never had a baby. My mom counting Roo as her grandchild was an acknowledgement to me that even though I wasn't a mom anymore, I had had a baby, and I still loved her. I was mostly fine with my mother counting Roo until last December, when my mom got married.
I am not at all fine with my mom's husband (let's call him Rick, just for fun) counting Roo. I have mentioned this to my mother on many occasions. I don't feel that Rick has any right to claim Roo as a grandchild, because he's never met her and isn't likely to, and he's never going to be a part of her life. He doesn't get to claim Roo. Not as far as I'm concerned.
If I'm honest, and I know this is just me being juvenile about my mom re-marrying, I'm not 100% comfortable with Rick claiming he has any grandchildren at all, because none of them are his kids' kids. They're all my mother's grandchildren. Rick isn't the least bit bothered by this. He started calling himself “Grandpa” pretty much the day he proposed to my mom.
My brother's youngest, L, was born two months after my dad died. His birth was a great blessing - he came when we needed a reason to be happy, something to celebrate. Of course, this means that L never met my dad, which is very sad.
A few weeks ago, Rick mentioned that L is his favorite grandchild, because L never knew his Grandpa Willy, so Rick is the only grandpa that L has ever known. That bothered me. What kind of person would take joy in the fact that a little boy never got to meet his own grandpa? It made me think unkindly of Rick, and I'm still bugged by it.
Am I awful for thinking these things? Am I awful for being bothered by these things that Rick says? Am I awful for not wanting Rick to claim Roo as his grandchild? But she's totally not his grandchild. Not at all. He doesn't get to claim her. He hasn't earned that right. He won't. It's just … I feel very, very protective of Roo and her story and the part that my dad played in everything (being such an awesome dad that I wanted the same for Roo, etc). Rick's presence in anything Roo-related feels intrusive. He doesn't belong.
Speaking of, as long as I'm admitting to being this selfish, horrible little brat, here's the other Rick-related thing that grates on me. Rick has, on more than one occasion, told people that he and my mother have nine children.
Um, excuse me? No, no they do not. He has five and she has four. THEY do not have any kids together and, parenthetically, as my mother is 54 I'd lay money down that they aren't going to. When Rick says things like that, I feel like he's pretending that my mother wasn't married to my father for 32 years. Rick and my mother don't have any children together. Rick is not my dad. I don't need Rick to be my dad. I have a dad. He's “laid this mortal by,” to quote a hymn, but he is still my father and he will be forever.
Am I awful? I need honest feedback here, because if I'm an awful person I should probably see my therapist more often and learn to make a conscious effort to be less awful. Even if I am awful, though, is it normal to be awful about these sorts of things? Even if you remove adoption from the situation, would it be normal to have these feelings about Rick, or am I just a rotten human being?
It's nothing personal against Rick - just the language that he uses. I mean, he's a nice enough guy, and he and my mother are happy together. But he's not my father and he never will be. Which makes it uncomfortable for me when Dad-related things come up, and there's Rick. It's intrusive and uncomfortable, and the fact that it's such an issue for me makes me feel like the worst person in the world.