Bolt from the Blue

On Saturday morning I woke up and did what I usually do, check my phone for messages and emails that come in overnight and right away my equilibrium spiralled into a tailspin of note.

There was an email from my daughter announcing that she and her partner and baby would be visiting SA next month and if we still wished to meet our granddaughter she would arrange a visit.

Those bloggers who have followed my blog will know that our family has been torn apart since 2009 when my daughter cut all communication with us. In 2010 she visited for her brother’s wedding but after that appeared to cut her brother out as well. I was unable to try and get a reason from her then as I did not want to do anything that could upset our son’s wedding and even though I invited her and her partner to visit us for a braai she never bothered to respond. When we got word last year that she was pregnant our heartache doubled. In March this year I travelled to the UK to track her down and meet my granddaughter but when I finally located her through the help of a community police officer she refused to see me and accused us, her brother included of harassing her. She has not acknowledged a birthday or Christmas since 2009 and even her brother’s recent birthday went unacknowledged.

We angst all weekend on how to respond to this bolt from the blue and eventually decided to respond warmly saying that we were looking forward to seeing them and meeting our granddaughter. The plan is then to tackle her face to face about where to from here. Is this a once-off or will we be allowed to be part of our granddaughter’s life and have a relationship with her in the future. At least that way if it ends badly we will finally know where we stand. To date she has refused to provide us with an explanation for her stance and has avoided any possibility of a face-to-face meeting. I am not going to let this opportunity pass without trying to clear the air once and for all.

To complicate matters further she has remained in contact with my BIL and SIL. They chose not to tell us about it until the baby was about to be born and were actively avoiding us since our son’s wedding although we could not figure out what was up. We no longer trust them at all and a subsequent altercation between OH and the SIL who was way out of line lead to an extremely unpleasant email from BIL resulting in us not being comfortable enough to attend our nephew’s wedding in March. There has been no contact since then. It would not surprise us at all if our daughter will be staying with them and SIL tries to play the peacemaker and host a family lunch to which we most definitely would not go. If there is going to be a reconciliation it will be on our turf.

When I returned from the UK in March I had resigned myself to never seeing my daughter again and never getting to know my granddaughter. I don’t know what has changed between now and March that she is prepared to see us now but I am not going to give her the opportunity to play games as she did in 2010. Some straight answers are required now and if she does not want a relationship with us going forward so be it.  I am stronger now than I was in 2009/2010 and my visit to the UK this year proved to me that I can endure the worst heartache and survive if need be.


30 thoughts on “Bolt from the Blue

  1. I am a bit stranger than most people so if I were you I would not be too clingy and not too eager to push this situation just be a little laid back and relaxed, even give the impression that this move is too little too late maybe her explanation will come out by itself then.

  2. Oh optie I am so happy for you! As you say face to face. My heart is actually doing cartwheels for you my friend. Things like this give me hope, you know that right?

    I know it will be a time of anxiety leading up, but that will all fall away when you see your baby with her baby. Only love will be there.

    I cannot tell you what this means to me for you my friend ,tears are falling becasue I know. You know I know.
    Bless you my dear friend forsharing with me.

    ps. I just saw that I had not been following you! What the “L”? 😉

    • Hi BB, thanks for your reply. I have had more contact with her since, they are coming for a barbeque (braai) on the 7th and our communciation just seems a lot easier and warmer. I know … it’s early days and I must not get too excited but on her last visit she did no forward planning to see us, just phoned up and said “can I come around”, stayed about 30 mins and that was it – back to silence.

      • My friend I am feeling positive about this, but I know you need to tread gently for your sake. I am not going to offer advice optie you no doubt are getting plenty. I do know that quite often when I set myself with expecations and they do not turn out thatt was that I could have avoided the pain. if I had just gone with the flow so to speak.

        You are a very grounded lady, I know because you helped ground me when I was feeling a bit crazed over he same situation. I have faith my friend for what is worth that you & your hubs are going to do what is right for all. You will be seeing your daughter and grandchild, maybe for just for an hour or 3 that can be enough. Then meet hearts.

        I know it hard for me to remember that other people’s emotions play roles too in my situation. I forget to make allowances for that quite often. I try to tell myself this about my daughter too,

        You hav to know I wil be there in spirit with you, standing by your side as one mom to another, friend to friend ~ Blessing abound ~ BB

      • Bless you BB, your kind words and understanding mean a lot to me because I know that you are dealing with your own painful situation. I can only hope and pray that love will conquer all on the day and all the unhappiness and anger of the past can be put aside and be replaced with new beginnings for all of us. I am so excited about seeing my granddaughter, she will be just short of a year and possibly walking – can’t quite believe it’s actually going to happen. The fact that she has agreed to a braai means that she is not planning to be just in and out and that gives me a lot of hope.

      • I am so grateful that you have shared this optie for a hundred different reasons that will touch both of us.

        I just looked up what braai is and to see how you prep the Bbq It sounds like a perfect homecoming celebration. Something that touches the tatse buds of her as a child…maybe not a bad idea. Not too obvious.

        My heart is beating and racing for you my friend, I think I am excited an anxious for you at the same time Would yiu sat bittersweet at this point?

        Although I know for me the goals is yes reconciliation, but what is it going to cost each of us? Too much?

        The main thing is that baby girl. What a perfect age in my mind. I love just at about a year. old. Such a great age where they are discovering they are separate entities of mom. I am looking forward to knowing all about it. In the mean tie I men this sincerely, if you need to vent or some support don’t wait. You know my email , blog, and smoke signals

        You all are in my prayers and thoughts~ BB

      • I think even OH is beginning to let go of some of his anger towards her. He has been very angry at what she put me through, obviously because he had to live with me when I did not want to live anymore and that was not an easy time. I am not going to confront her about the future until I can see that she has relaxed a bit, I want her to feel that she is on safe ground and that we can and have forgiven her for what has transpired.
        In the meantime I bought my first gift for the baby yesterday and look forward to being able to give it to her myself.
        My son could be less forgiving, he is also angry with her for what she put us through as well as her behaviour when she was here for his wedding. Chatting with him and his wife we decided against any sort of family reunion get together, she needs to make her peace, if that is her intention, with each of us individually.
        Just two more weeks!

  3. I am very lucky as I have never had those problems. My kids have always brought the Grandkids to us whichever country we have been in. I embraced all the partners that my kids have chosen and they are still very close, unlike my Mother who hated every partner that her 3 kids chose. That made it very difficult for our children because of the added stress. Your problem seems different in that it is coming from the other side and there seems no rational reason. I hope it sorts itself out soon. All the best Leo

    • Thanks for the comment Leo, it’s never been about partners, we don’t even know the latest one with whom she has had the baby. I would like to have a normal mother/daughter relationship like we used to have. From being close we were suddenly out in the cold with no explanation.

  4. Great news – but an enormous dilemma, nonetheless.
    I agree with others here that preciptating a crisis (with someone whose actions simply haven’t seemed rational) will probably do more harm than good. To draw an analogy, you can accept the slighly opened door which at least you can see through if it remains that way, but by trying to force it open further there is a real risk of it being slammed in your face again. Nothing gained.
    At the most I would suggest looking for an opportunity at a later stage of the meeting to say simply, ‘I still have no idea what has offended you but if you don’t want to discuss it I’d rather leave the matter there than lose contact . Please do ask yourself, though, whether there is even the slightest chance there has been a misunderstanding or that you have been told lies.’ If the right moment doesn’t happen, don’t force it.
    Most importantly, whatever happens do not allow yourself to lose your cool. You can go and kick something later, in need. *hopefully* If things go well, you might even find that someone did spread false gossip, and who it was. Then you can go and kick THEM.
    This is against all the dictates of pride, and the hurt and indignation you have suffered. Short-term, lashing out would make you feel much better, but long-term it may just blow the whole situation for good.
    Phew, I have gone on a bit, haven’t I?

    • Col, thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to write such a detailed reply, you have no idea what it means to me. You have given wise advice and I really appreciate it. My response to her email was warm and welcoming as have all my attempted communications been. Now we just have to wait and see if she actually follows through with a visit.

  5. This is such wonderful news, optie. My advice, for what it’s worth, is to just wait and see what transpires. She has obviously had a change of heart, so don’t frighten her away. Just accept her and the baby with open arms, and I’m sure all will be made clear eventually. At least there is now a bridge between you and her, instead of just a void.

    • Thanks for the advice AD. Make no mistake she will be welcomed with open arms but I don’t want a repeat of 2010. I just want to know what her intentions are going forward.

  6. I went through a similar situation some years ago with my daughter. I was advised by a counselor not to react but to continue as normal, sending birthday cards, Xmas cards etc. and otherwise ignore the situation. After a year of the cold shoulder she reappeared without any discussions or explanations whatsoever. I did not pursue the issue. I hesitate to advise you on which stance would get the best results, aggression or simply ignoring your daughter’s behaviour and acting as though there is no problem. Certainly I believe that being confrontational would have only agrivated the situation in my case.

    • I have to agree with Footsy, it might be an idea to not pursue it. I think I mentioned to you before that my mum and I hadn’t spoken in about 10 years, and when I approached her last year, it just seemed right to not go over old ground and we’ve been chatting ever since. 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment footsy. I don’t plan to be aggressive, I just want to know what to expect going forward. I chatted to my son about it and he said that we cannot apply rational thinking to her actions. I just don’t want to get my hopes up and then find I might never be allowed to see my granddaughter again.

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