Some December Bumps In The Road

I don’t like Christmas. Never did. And I never will. It’s a horrible time of year for me. And yet each time the holiday season approaches I try to give it just one more try. I was really hoping that this year was going to be different. As I hoped all the other years were going to be different. But it’s just the same old, same old.

I used to run away every December. But my husband would make a fuss and put his foot down and demand that I remain in town, at least for the grandchildren’s sake. So, as usual, as I do every year, I sent an email to both my daughters and asked to send me a list of what the grand babies need or want this year. My older daughter asked what the budget was. I replied, as I always have: $25.

And that’s as far as this story will go as it being the good part. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is going to be yet another rant, written by me, on the unfairness of how I am treated by my two “wonderful” daughters. I’m sure you are sick of it. Trust me, I’m more sick of it than you are. I’m sick. And I’m tired of it all.

So, the banter follows like this:

“But I spent $30 on your birthday present (which I haven’t gotten yet and my birthday was in November) and I’m contributing $30 to Nick’s iWatch, so why can’t you spend $60 on #1 granddaughter’s gift?”

And then it starts.

The ‘back-and-forth’ deluge of instant messages and texts touting “I spent this” and “I spent that” and do you know how much money it cost to serve you all up a Thanksgiving dinner, plus a breakfast and lunch? begins. Till eventually, I say ‘enough’ and cancel all plans and get-togethers with the lot of them because at this point in my life I don’t give a shit.

I have other important things to concern myself about this year.

My husband is finally going to have medical tests run to calculate how his two aneurysms are increasing in size come this December 23. If they have increased substantially, he may be required to have immediate open heart surgery. If not, then the surgery may be prescribed for later on in the year. Or, God willing, not at all for this year. The last time he had undergone these medical exams was two years ago. Because of the radiation, the human body can’t tolerate too much exposure. So they space the medical tests out every other year. I will tell you it is a horror living knowing that you have an two aneurysms (aorta and celiac) which can burst at any time. Once they do, survival rate is near impossible.

So, realistically, do you really think I want to involve myself with the childish, selfish bantering of my two ungrateful daughters? I asked the both of them if Nick has open heart surgery, which one of them was coming to help me take care of him? The answer was neither one of them. When I told them the value of Nick wearing the new Series 5 iWatch, which monitors the human heart and alerts his cardiologist if something is amiss, could they help me buy one for Nick, for Christmas? Only my youngest could cough up $30 towards a $400 iWatch. Needless to say, both my daughters earn over $125,000 a year. Nick and I live on under $30,000 a year. And we’re in our 60s. What help can I expect from either one of them when we are in our 80s or 90s?

Am I being stupid or non-sensical? Why must I feel guilty all of the time? Is it really my fault that my daughters turned out so callous and uncaring? What have I missed all this time? Why can’t I be the mother who has those great children who take care of her and buys her diamonds and jewels and fully paid vacations to The Bahamas? I see families like that all the time on Facebook?

Needless to say, I’ve been very depressed lately. I don’t feel like doing much of anything. Nor do I feel like writing my blog. I have nothing to say. Nor do I want to talk. I just want to keep praying and asking God for either a miracle or just to let this year slide by so Nick and I can have one last very good year together. Can’t he have his open heart surgery next year? No matter how you slice it, he will eventually have to get the surgery. I just want it to be later rather than sooner.

I apologize to you my dear readers that I haven’t written anything positive. I’m not concerned about retirement or money or being frugal or cooking or baking or anything. I’m not feeling very Christmassy nor have I put up any decorations. I just want December 23rd to be over and done and I want to know the results of my husband’s tests.

That’s all I want for Christmas, this year.

rv in the snow.jpg
Our new RV is just sitting in the snow. We would have been in Florida by now but we have to wait for hubby’s medical test results. I am praying daily for a miracle and that he’s well enough to take on the drive south. I’m staying positive but sometimes I wonder.

46 comments

  1. Oh Cindi. My heart breaks for you. I can only imagine the worry you must feel. Please let the other stuff just go and concentrate on your husband. Money is a funny thing. Some believe it equates to love. It sounds like your daughters have their own issues about that, and it’s just that. Their issues. As you know, I am not a fan of Christmas as well. I don’t understand how we got to where we are with it, when it should just be about the birth of Christmas. We can celebrate through good food and good company. Why does it have to center around gifts?

    I was guilty of trying to make the ‘perfect’ Christmas for my kids, and now that I can actually afford it, I don’t want to do it anymore. Thankfully my kids are grown and can understand, at least most of them. This year I’m leaning towards Advent and my spirituality. It is helping.

    If there is anything I can do to help you, please email me. I wish I lived closer, as there would be a train of meals coming your way. Ask for help, Cindi, I’m sure your friends will come to your rescue.

    {{{hugs}}}}

    P.S. Nick will be in my prayers this whole season. I have a good feeling. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sharon, I feel a whole lot better today. The sun is shinning and Nick and I are going to go out to see some Christmas sights. It felt good to know that whatever I got off my chest, there was someone on the other end who was listening and understanding. Nick has always been the strong, massive, he-man. It’s hard to see him so fragile now.
      Anyway, thanks for being my friend and for your kind words. I’ll keep you posted. Maybe there’s a Christmas miracle in there somewhere.

      Like

  2. Please don’t believe everything you read on Facebook! Those people may have so much debt they live in wonderland or some of those stories are just not true! Prayers and blessings go out to your husband and you. You are right though, this time of year should be about kindness and consideration not about money. You are blessed to be living in such a beautiful place. It took a lot of hard work to put the two of you there. Please take a minute to look around at the beauty and enjoy it. I wish you all the best at this time of year and always. Sue from LI.

    Liked by 1 person

    • HI Sue. It’s true what you say about Facebook. People make it look all so wonderful. Sometimes, it’s not.
      Nick and I are here but only for the grace of God. That I know for sure!
      Thank you for your kind comment. 🙂

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  3. May I share some of our grandparent ideas?
    A want, a need and something to read. No one, but us, knows the budget. We are no longer the dual working fairy god parents. It took a few years, but it is realistic now.
    I never ask or tell what the budget is. I ask, in early November, what they love to play with. This year Legos, baby dolls and books were high on the lists (we have six grands 18m-12y). Then we have what the parents don’t – time. The hunt begins. The largest hunt was for a silly reindeer- WAY over budget. We found it on half price- had several gift cards from earlier in the year- and bought it at midnight- on budget. We shop the Carter’s door blasters and got a set of jammies for everyone @ $5 a shot. Scholastic books has a warehouse nearby- Books for $5 or under each. Legos–those were tough- but we hunted the sales and landed each set for well under their limit. And socks—everyone needs socks. We also put a low $$ tag on what they were to give each other’s children—and do a dirty Santa with a $20. limit for the adults. No cheating.
    Let’s face it- what you want your grands to remember is smiling and laughing- not a slamming door and being treated poorly because “they make more”. Right?
    YOU love a good deal- this is the deal time of year!!!! I bet, next year, you will be on here stating how cool the deals were that you found. In fact, I could see you doing a “deal of the day” for the grandparents of the group!
    This year my daughter finally caught on to the $$ it takes to feed a family of 12 for four days. They are bringing the fixings for their favorite sides and we are providing only the meat. On the other days- we chose a day to cook for everyone. Whew!
    We both know that their pay is middle class in NYC. Your girls are doing well building a life. You trained them well.
    I recommend you never talk money with them again. It only upsets all of you.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Janette, you have some fantastic ideas here. Thank you so much. I think the best advice is for all of us never to talk about money ever again. My youngest daughter sent me a list of recommendations/suggestions. I’ll shop from there. I hope I NEVER experience what transpired between the 3 of us ever again. It was very disconcerting to say the least! UGH.
      Thank you so much for all your great advice and info! It will help a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m late on reading some blogs-so sorry Cindi that your family responded in such a way. I love Janette’s approach. My Mother-in-law always buys and wraps so much, too much trying to do what she thinks should be done. Last year she played a white elephant game where she wrapped up crap and tat, and we rolled dice, laughed, exchanged crap for other crap and generally just had a fun time. Everyone from my 8 year old twin niece and nephew, the teens, the young adults, and the grown-ups loved the game and suggested doing without her giving any gifts any more at all. It is too much work, too much expenses (even though she is quite comfortable) and no one needs anything but good memories. We need to be treating her to experiences, and our time-not her doing for us My mom, since it is such a big family, gave everyone socks, and a little bit of cash, like a $ for the grand kids. They knew this was a big sacrifice consider the numbers, and loved getting those socks! We are not a Facebook “worthy” family either-I think much is bunk, but just enjoying company should be the value. I’m sorry your daughters do not see that.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hmm, my brother has a 5.2 cm aneurysm in his heart and my dad has a 4.8 cm which thank God hasn’t changed because he is 88 and can’t have surgery OR blood pressure meds since he has orthostatic hypotension. My brother sees the folks in Cleveland Clinic Dec. 20th for second opinion on what to do here. So I know how nerve-wracking it is. I hear Cleveland is the place to go if you can swing it–perhaps with your RV when the weather breaks?

    Since you wrote about this publicly I presume you are open to comments? I know you have a lot of fun and challenge with your retirement budget. And your life focuses around a financial blog and the challenges of retirement which helps not only you but many of your readers! So money seems to be front and center in your life more than most people (even though money is certainly an issue for everyone, we don’t write about it or think about it every day). I always overspend on Christmas when the emphasis should be on gathering and cooking (you look like a marvelous cook) and any spiritual beliefs folks have.

    So this is one time of the year where money shouldn’t be the focus, though, unfortunately, it so often is. I give my daughter money to buy Christmas presents for my grandson. That’s what my parents always did for my kids — and now my daughter puts our name on things. It’s too hard to keep up with ages and things they want. Then I shop a little bit on my own. But I control how much I send. We also do most of the spending for anything from clothes to appliances at this time of year to justify spending as much as we do!

    And we certainly don’t talk about it this much. That seems a mistake overall. Obviously not everyone has the same means. And we should all rely on the old standby: it’s the thought that counts!

    As long as money remains the focus of your holiday season, though, I suspect none of you will enjoy it. I’m sure there are creative ways to solve this. I know some people don’t do gifts at all, donate time to charities, confine gifts to hand made ones or food. Things like that.

    But this sounds like something that needs solving in your lives overall and Christmas is just highlighting the need for it. Your relationships can’t be about money. Bottom line. Regardless of who is at fault here and I would suggest it really doesn’t matter, your daughters take their cues from you. You can’t change them, you can only change you. If you change your approach to your relationships, they will change in some way. I’m sure of it.

    But good luck. I’m pulling for you.

    Like

    • My husband’s size is 4.2 to 4.6. We can’t remember. That was 2 years ago. We’ll know if any change later on this month. Thanks for sharing your info, Lynn.
      I think my daughters are under financial pressures from the ‘other’ side. They don’t buy gifts for hubs and I but they surely are under pressure to buy for in-laws and their biological father and his family.
      Not my problem. Nor am I going to be a whipping post for their frustrations.
      I never brought up the subject of money first. They did. They asked what the budget was and when I gave my answer, they balked.
      In any event, they sent me their list. I chose what I could. ‘Nuff said.
      But you’re so right. No more talk about money this time of year!

      Like

  5. Hi Cindi. I am sorry for this situation in your life. I do want you to know I do so enjoy reading your blog. I was on Blogger for a year and just came over to WordPress. I have searched many blogs, and I find yours one of few that resonate with me. It’s a good mix of the things I am interested in. From what I see – as a newbie to your blog, you have a wonderful marriage and a successful blog. There’s probably a lot more. I do hope your husband’s tests turns out positive, and you can head to Florida in that travel trailer.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Betty. That’s what I’ve been praying for. God has blessed my husband and I something fierce over the years (we’ve been together for 37 years!). There’s no reason why the good Lord will let us down now. Thank you for your comment. And thank you for reading my blog!!

      Like

  6. What a December you are having! Your budget for your granddaughters is great. Your granddaughters will be pleased with whatever they get. Your daughters need to be ignored. They are lucky to have you around and that you want to celebrate with them. Keep giving them hugs and do not feel guilty. Doing too much for your daughters can make them spoiled. I like the idea of family bringing food and sharing the cooking. Tell them that they should be thankful for what you can give.

    Your husband’s health is a great concern. I hope all can be fixed. You both must be very scared. We will say a prayer.

    Your snow looks lovely. A red building is so cheery. That red mixed with green and all that white keeps our spirits up during this time of year.

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    • Hi Sue. Thank you so much for your prayers. My husband has been great at keeping a stiff upper lip and acting as if it’s just another day in the park. Whatever works. Me? I’m a nervous wreck! LOL.
      Thanks for your kind comments.

      Like

  7. I totally understand your grief. My husband and I have four sons between us. No phone calls from or holidays with them. Each year I set myself up for grief by thinking *this year* it might be different. It never is.

    Like

    • Hi Anne. I hear ya. I’m the same way. We mothers are always so hopeful. I told my husband to leave me alone next year and let me do what I want to do. It’s like constantly opening up an old wound, over and over and over again.
      Enough!

      Like

  8. Hugs to you and prayers for you both. Being an operating room RN, I totally understand the severity of hubby’s aneurysms and the stress around monitoring them and awaiting that needed surgery.

    May you both enjoy your time together this month and may you be Blessed in the company of those who care, be it friends or family.

    Like

  9. On a hopeful note, there have been tremendous advances in repairing aneurysms, like abdominal aortic aneurysms, endovascularly. Much less invasive. Hopefully, if the time comes for an intervention, this will be the case for your husband.

    Focus on healthy living, and being a good friend and neighbor. Volunteer, if you can, in your community or church. Good friends and great neighbors are lifesavers. We all need help at some point in our lives.

    P.S. I quit buying christmas gifts 30 years ago and what a relief! Throughout the year, if I see something a friend would really like or needs, I gift it then. Otherwise, we focus on just enjoying each other’s company.

    Like

    • HI Mary. I like your Christmas style!
      My husband has an ascending abdominal aortic aneurysms plus a celiac one, which is very rare. So far, only 200 cases known since first discovered.
      I’m taking your advice. Thanks for your comment.

      Like

  10. I totally understand and can relate.
    When my oldest son and his wife were still married many years ago with two little girls, she would gush all over the gifts, and say something like “this is so beautiful, (etc) where did you find it?” Found out later she was returning hers and the girl’s gifts for cash. Fast forward a few years and the only time we hear from the girls is two weeks before birthdays and two weeks before Christmas.
    The girls (now in their 20s) unfriended me on FB a few years ago when I told them it wasn’t necessary for them to be bad mouthing their dad all over FB. Got a friend request from one of them yesterday, but haven’t decided whether to accept or not.
    So anyway, do what you need to do for you and your husband. Maybe send each child $20 each in a cute card or book. 🙂

    Like

    • Hi Robin. I have almost the same problem. If I don’t buy the grandkids what their mothers specified, they take the gifts back to the store and get a refund.
      So, where does that leave my granddaughters??
      My granddaughters adore me. When they see me they run to me and hold on and won’t let go. Kids know who naughty and nice, trust me!
      Hopefully things will get better when the kids get older. At 6 and 4 its hard for them to stand up for their rights. But as we all know, children remember!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Cindi

    There will be a miracle this year. It happens every Christmas Eve.

    My prayers will be sent for you and Nick.

    As always, best wishes from Best Bun.

    Like

    • Thanks Best Bun. I did find it odd that the only opening they had for hubdy’s test was December 23rd. That means we get the results Christmas eve. No coincidence that!

      Like

  12. Thank you for sharing this, Cindi. It is so refreshing to read a blog that is honest about both the ups and downs of life. So often, blogs, Facebook, Instagram,etc. present only the best of lives leaving the readers feeling alone in their challenges.
    Light and prayers to Nick.

    Like

  13. Oh Cindi ! What the heck !?! Your 2 daughters are ungrateful, I don’t get what their problem is. Stay strong.

    On the other hand, don’t believe everything you see on Facebook or Instagram, you know people only post those things they want others to see.

    Nobody posts a picture of a fight with their spouse, a disagreement with kids or siblings. It was easier in the old days, no one had access to everybody’s immediate thoughts, pictures, etc.

    Honestly, I would not post a picture after I have had a fight or disagreement with a family member.

    I feel you about the grandkids gifts. I am, much to my anxiety, an over-giver a Christmas. Truth be told, I spend money I don’t immediately have on them. Every year I tell myself I’m not going to do it this year and then when Christmas rolls around, there I go again.

    Every year my kids and step kids tell me the same thing, that I’m spending too much money, they understand we’re retired.

    It is a problem that I have, I think, related to having lived in communist Cuba as a small child. For years we did not have Santa or the three kings come.

    I have always overcompensated for my children when they were small, and now for my grandchildren.

    It is a big problem for me. I’m not happy to admit it but there you are.

    I so admire you for sticking to your guns on this issue. Don’t let them wear you down. Your blog helps me a lot, specially with things like this. Hugs to you.

    Like

    • Hi Teri. If I could be allowed to follow my gut instincts, like run away to a beach in Key West for the month of December and avoid all their nonsense, life for me and Christmas time for me would be a helluva lot better. But my husband keeps sucking me back in. He feels this pang of guilt and some ‘Leave It To Beaver’ nostaglia when the reality is anything but.
      The last time I overspent on Christmas was back in the late 1990’s when I spent over $2,000 on my American Express and then couldn’t pay the bill at the end of the month. That’ll scare the bejesus out of anyone. Never again!
      If it makes YOU happy to buy your family Xmas presents and you can somehow handle the bill at the end of the month then God bless you. We only get one family in life and if doting on them is your only sin, God will forgive you and send you the money you need to do it! 🙂

      Like

  14. Oh and I will keep Nick in my prayers. What a worry. You just keep on doing what you’ve been doing. Stay strong. You are both in my prayers.

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  15. Also (sorry for my repeat posts) your entry today inspired me to return over $300 worth of gifts for my three grandchildren. Think of the good you have done worldwide LOL at least in my pocketbook 🥰

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  16. Ah the holidays… they are more fraught than people let on. I’m glad you have this blog to vent – it’s a safe place to do so. My prayers are with you and your husband. As for your daughters, I think you got some great suggestions in the comments. You may not know what other issues/concerns/pressure they are dealing with in other areas of their life. Please try to continue to love them unconditionally and don’t engage on the “tit for tat” – you’ll never win. Florida will be waiting for you after Christmas. Hugs to you.

    Like

  17. I hear you, Cindi, about the holidays. I set an amount for each grandchild and do my very best to get them something they would truly enjoy, even if it’s not on their list. I can’t afford the big “WOW’ gifts like iPads, expensive electronic games, or high-end name brand clothing. But I can afford endless love and a few small fun gifts.

    Now that my grands are getting older and understand money quite well, I’ve decided that after this Christmas, I’m giving them cash from this point forward. They can spend, save or donate it. I asked my daughters how they felt about it and they liked the idea. Then I asked the kids and they loved the idea.

    A few years back I stopped buying gifts for my daughters and their husbands. They all have extremely high paying jobs and can afford whatever they want, whenever they want. And I told them to please refrain from getting anything for me. My older daughter would buy me holiday-themed dish towels, candles and/or a coffee mug. Year after year. My younger daughter came up with better ideas but she has a houseful of kids, pets and craziness so I told her not to worry about getting anything for me. In reality, I just want time with all of my grandkids and my daughters to have fun and make new memories.

    I’m glad you’re feeling better today. Just know that there are a lot of us out there who struggle with you through the holidays. I hope you don’t feel alone.

    My prayers will be with you and your husband on the 23rd for a wonderful outcome of his tests.

    Like

    • Lisa, what has helped me most in my life journey is knowing that I am not alone. I may not have close-by friends and family but I have my loyal followers and readers who have been accompanying me on my life journey since 2007. That means an awful lot to me, so thank you for that.
      My husband and I put in a lot of work to have our kids all together here for Thanksgiving. It just happened to be my birthday at the same time. We had to buy a special bed for SIL because he couldn’t sleep on the twin we already had. We had to buy additional folding chairs because now we are a family of 8 instead of 4 and then 6 and now 8. We had to buy a Fire TV stick for our older model living room TV otherwise they’d have no access to Disney and other streaming channels. Plus hubs and I had to buy a larger turkey, cook up more veggies because they’re on keto diets, lactose intolerance diets, organic diets (ka-ching!) because they won’t eat otherwise. Throw in lunch and dinner and you see how it all adds up.
      I just wished, in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner, someone would have said ‘thank you’ to me, got me a birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday to me. I know it’s crazy, but I was hoping someone would do something nice for ME rather than the other way around. I didn’t even get a card from anyone. Nothing. I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. After I worked so hard to make everyone else comfortable and happy.
      I always said that motherhood is a thankless job. It is. Unfortunately, my own mom died when I was 28 and 6 months pregnant. I never got to say thank you to her. It’s a sad cycle, for sure.
      Thankfully, my 2 granddaughters love and adore me. They hug me when they see me and they won’t let go. Children know who’s good and who isn’t. All 3 of us play for hours.At least no one can take that away.
      Thanks for your comment. I appreciate your sharing your own story with me. 🙂

      Like

  18. Facebook is Fakebook. I have one grown kid out of my four who is just awful, but he is severely bipolar, and other mental issues, and won’t take meds. He really acts up at holidays, just like his dad, my ex, used to do. This kid, financially and emotionally, drains me dry all the time but it worse at Christmas. I don’t do Christmas anymore. I give cash and stay at home, sleep in and play Christmas carols. I totally understand. Hugs for you and I hope the medical tests turn out ok.

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  19. Hate that your holidays are going to be spent with hard feelings and worry over your husband’s health. Hope you get a clear picture of what’s ahead at the next appointment. For me, the waiting and not knowing, is the worst!! We can face anything once we know what we are up against.

    Maybe your daughters, their families and you and your husband could draw names? Then you don’t buy for everyone but just for one person. Or maybe you just give to the children. That is what we are doing. I have purchased little things for my daughters and SILs but we are going to spend the money that would go into buying gifts, on making memories, going out to eat, going to a bowl game, etc.

    Praying for strength and comfort for both of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I’ve come to the conclusion that the better you treat your kids then the worse they treat you. I’ve seen it too many times turn out that way.

    Like

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