Another Shenanigans tale.

The biggest event of my staycation a couple of weeks ago was our daughter’s commencement ceremony and the family get-together at our place that afternoon. (For those following along, she’s received three full time teaching offers and will accept one today!)

For a rabid introvert like me, sitting in a gymnasium full to bursting with families of 100 grads (thank goodness each college in our daughter’s university has its own separate ceremony) is a total nightmare. Surrounded by people – ugh! I felt like I was sitting on a bed of nails while bathing in a pool of rubbing alcohol.

But that nightmare was Cloud Nine compared to the family party later in the day.


I’m not comfortable with a houseful of guests at the best of times. And this was not the best of times. Because this little gathering came with a shitload of family baggage, in the human form of my own personal Wicked Stepmother.

I’ve never been a huge fan of my dad’s wife. But until last fall we put on happy faces and played nice. Right up until she started sending me drunken, hateful phone calls, voicemails, FB messages, and emails (an encore performance of the kind of booze hag scenes she used to put on when I was young and frequently a captive audience). When that stuff went down last fall I drew the line, explained to my dad I refused to let myself in for that kind of crap ever again, and severed ties with her once and for all.

But I knew an event like our daughter’s grad party would be fraught. I wanted my dad to be there – he’s a doting grandfather, and our daughter cares for him. But I absolutely did not want his wife in my home. I quite literally had bad dreams about that eventuality. I knew there was a good chance he’d bring her to the party  – either due to his lifelong genius for absolute denial, and/or due to his slipping memory, and/or due to his choosing to placate his drunken, abusive wife instead of caring about my well-being. (Enable much?)

The Husband gallantly tried to come to my rescue. He volunteered to call my dad, inviting him to the party while making it clear the invitation was for him alone. It was worth a try, and I was thankful he made the call for me.

And then, at the appointed time on the big day, while I happened to be in the front yard, guess who appeared in our driveway? Yup. My dad, with the W.S. in tow.

Furious, hurt, and in minor shock, I made a beeline for the house and dashed upstairs to collect myself for a moment. I did not slam any doors. Didn’t scream in rage. Didn’t even cry – my usual reaction to any event so over-the-top emotional.

Of course, the W.S. behaved herself in front of company. That’s always been the trick up her sleeve. And I was eventually able to come downstairs and be civil. Bottom line, this was our daughter’s celebration and I didn’t want my drama to ruin it for her.

But boy, did my my blood pressure take a beating.

I’ll have to consider serving poisoned apples at our next family gathering.

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8 thoughts on “Another Shenanigans tale.

  1. I’ve just read back and caught up with what’s going on with you Amy. Wow, you must be one super-proud mum – your children sound amazing and it must be incredibly gratifying to see them blossom into well-rounded adults. My family are masters of ‘ignore it and it’ll go away’ and it’s served us well over the years. It sounds as though you have some complicated stuff going on with your dad and WS but I hope you can just rise above it all, take a deep breath and focus on all the brilliant achievements of your children and good things elsewhere in your life. Hang in there and take care, Sam x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sam. You remind me that I can deliberately focus on all the good things going on. I know just what you mean by that “ignore it and it’ll go away” strategy. I’ve done my fair share of that in the past, but now a lifetime of the practice has come back to bite me!

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  2. That is intense. I practically needed a Xanax just reading it. I’m not great with crowds either and to follow it with family drama sounds awful. I try to imagine myself in some Saturday Night Live skit in tough situations like this. Glad you were able to get through it for your daughter. W.S. sounds horrible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right – the fact that this scene came right after the having to sit in the middle of a crowd made it even harder. I like your strategy of imagining yourself in a skit – I can see that really helping!

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  3. It must be very tough to juggle keeping a good relationship with your Dad while trying to minimize dealing with someone who is so toxic. I’m glad the day was free of drama, but sorry you still had to be on tenterhooks the whole time. In future, I’d be tempted to give Dad a delayed start time for family parties, so you could at least know the first hour or two would be free of wicked stepmother and associated angst.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In the right situation, that could be a helpful strategy. I’m actually a lot more interested, though in never setting eyes on her again. And I’m torn between questioning whether that’s just ridiculous and childish and being certain I deserve that kind of self-protection. Bleh.

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  4. I’m so happy for your daughter. Three job offers! I hope her choice isn’t in Montana 🙂

    I have wicked step-sisters. The only way I have avoided them is because my husband has been holding a grudge since his mom died and there was a lot of brewhaha around that time. Now we live too far away. There is no way they will travel this far for a visit, and I forget on purpose to visit them while I’m in Seattle.

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