E. is named after my paternal grandfather. Not his first name, but his middle name. I wasn’t too fond of picking that name, but we wanted both boys to have middle names that reflected my heritage and neither was of them was getting my dad’s name. No way in hell.
So we named E. after my grandfather because it was the only name that sort of “met the requirements.” After he was born I called my grandfather to give him the news and he was so excited that we chose his name. So, so excited that he was literally yelling it to his wife, who I knew was only sitting a few feet away from him.
Since E’s birth we sent him a few pictures… the birth announcement, and some family photos that we had done a few months ago. Usually he calls to tell me that he got the pictures and that he loves them. But we got no phone call. I sent a Christmas card with pictures of the boys just a few weeks ago. Again, no phone call.
Today I finally got around to calling him to set up a time to come and visit him while we are in town. His number was disconnected. And so, I started to worry.
I found one of my dad’s cousins on facebook whom I know would be “in the loop” and I sent her a message asking her to let me know if everything is okay or to pass on my phone number to him so he can get in touch with me. Almost instantly I got a phone call from her. Now I was really worried. Today was supposed to be the first day of my *New World* not a day filled with bad news.
It turns out my grandfather is in hiding. From whom, you ask? Well, from my dad.
I hate my dad. I haven’t spoken to my dad since the summer, and even then it was just to tell him to leave me and my family alone. I also don’t like my grandmother very much, but I am too much of a good person and I have a hard time telling a little old lady, in remission form lung cancer, with no one else around to care for her, that she can stay out of my life too. Maybe I’m too nice? My sister stopped talking to her a long time ago, so maybe I need to follow suit.
After hearing all the shit that went down to cause my grandfather to go into hiding, I want to hate my dad more that I already do. He’s an ass and I’m sad to say that his behaviour doesn’t surprise me. His coke-addicted brother (whom I refuse to call my uncle) is no better. And, apparently, my grandmother is joining their ranks. DH even said that he has no desire to take the boys to see her this Christmas. I haven’t seen her since last Christmas, she’s never even seen E. yet, and I worry that guilt will eat me alive if she dies before the next time I am in town an have another opportunity to visit her. But I don’t really want to visit her, either. It’s a catch 22.
Anyway, back to my grandfather. Apparently he thinks that I will reveal his hiding place to my dad and/or grandmother if he contacts me or allows me to come visit. At first I kind of empathized with him. After all, I don’t talk to my dad, he doesn’t have my new address or my cell phone # (although he could get them from my grandmother and I regret ever giving them to her), so why the hell would I give someone else’s information away to him? Really?
Over the course of the day, however, I was beginning to get angry about the situation. Why can’t he realize that I am not my dad and I am not my grandmother? I am my own person, with my own family, and I want to come and see him. For God’s sake, I named my child after him and he thinks so lowly of me? I think I have a right to be pissed off, no?
I was putting E. to bed tonight and I remembered the decision that DH and I made to give him my grandfather’s name as his middle name. It was a long decision in the making and now I kind of regret it. There is a very good probability that E. will never meet the man whom he is named after, all because this man doesn’t respect me (his own granddaughter), nor does he care enough about meeting the great-grandson who is named after him.
What do I say to this little boy in 5 or 10 years when he wants to know where his strange middle name came from? I sure as hell can’t make him feel bad about the fact that we made the wrong decision in choosing his middle name, now can we?
I know all families are screwed up in some way. But my family is beyond screwed up… I believe the F-word might even be required to qualify the level of screwed up that ! have in my family. And I’m only talking about one side of my family.
I was so happy to change my name when I got married, just to get a little extra distance from that family. But then I went and re-invited myself back into it by giving E. my Dad’s Dad’s name.
Seriously, what was I thinking?