Today was the end of a long haul. My stepdaughter moved into her own condo. Her very first home of her own and truly her own castle. It’s a long story how she got there, but I’ll be brief.
Twelve years ago, her father and she moved into my house. I hardly knew her father but we were building a relationship. He lost his job, lost his condo and so I did what I thought was the right thing. I hindsight, it probably wasn’t. She was thirteen and so spoiled rotten and pretty much a real diva. She was more so than a normal thirteen year old. Her father fed her every desire mostly to keep her out of his face.
I have no children of my own and thought this was going to be a delightful situation. NO, it was not. I expected her to learn to take care of herself, learn to cook and do her own wash and help with chores. I knew there would be push back, but what was the real issue was her mother was too involved. She lived with her husband on the west coast. She showered her daughter with lavish gifts, and paid for her to visit her twice a year. But she would never win the mother-of-the-year. She would call her every night and counter anything I had said.
I was just starting to get sick with psoriatic arthritis and was not on medication but in terrible pain. The girl began to lie to us about school and we had to go in for counseling. Meanwhile, her mother was feeding her things like “you do not have to do anything, like chores, you’re not their maid.” This was often played back to us in nasty tones. This went on for some time until I was losing my mind and spending a lot of time in my bedroom crying. Her father was caught between us both.
Finally, school ended and she left to spend the summer with her mother. It was decided she would remain out there indefinitely. I packed up all her crap and shipped it out there.
Over the next ten years, her step-father passed away. He left her mother some money. They traveled and went on a cruise. The daughter became very arrogant and distanced herself from her father. I was not even on the radar. As time went on, she would not call him at all. He tried but would hear the coldness and aloofness and decided it hurt too much. Last year, we never heard from her until the end of October. Her mother was in the hospital dying. She passed away leaving her daughter with a filthy house full of stuff and a mess of a will.
She decided to live with her uncle’s family and hire people to pack up everything and moved back to the east coast. We had extended an invite but she said she was set. I offered her counsel on how to hire movers and how to get the house ready and she seemed grateful. But once settled we hardly heard from her.
At Easter, her father’s family was getting together and so we thought it would be good for her to come up and visit. We had a wonderful time. She stayed in her old room. She was so wonderful. We repeated it a couple more weekends. She then opened up and explained how much she hated where she was and wanted to come up here. I knew it would not work for her to stay permanently in my house.
We set off looking for an apartment. Just to shorten this: she had a ton of money she took out of her mother’s accounts with her blessing. I suggested she buy something instead of renting. She thought I was crazy. But when we found a condo and I suggested we talk to the realtor, she found out it was the right thing to do. For the last month, she was here and shopping or doing stuff to get ready for this move. I gave up my time and space for her and I did it gladly.
Today was the move. I cannot carry boxes nor would I. She had enough funds to hire someone, but decided to use the Uncle. That was her choice. I told her I had a busy day and would be over later, using personal time I had. I got over there after they had moved a lot of the stuff in. They, however, just dropped the stuff anywhere and everywhere. You could not get from one room to the next. The kitchen was piled high and unusable. No one had eaten. My husband and I went to the store and bought dinner and some breakfast items for her, setting me back almost $80.00. I have been buying food for all three of us for the last month and she eats a lot!
There were only four chairs, and five of us. My husband ordered food I would not eat. So I decided to unpack the crap in the kitchen, do some wash and get things set for her for the night and tomorrow. Meanwhile, they chowed down. I can only stand for so long. I unpacked a bunch of boxes and cleaned up the mess in the kitchen for her. I washed her bedding. I helped set up the TV and some lamps. Four hours later I could not move.
I got home and I had wash I wanted to do of my own. I also wanted a shower to get rid of the grime. Her mother and step-father both smoked and so everything has a film on it. Her uncle also smokes. I cannot stand the smell anymore. I could barely stand, but I had to put the spare room back together. She had left a wet towel in the middle of the bed and left all the bedding rumpled. I was really beginning to seethe. The phone rang and her father answered immediately thinking there was some disaster.
Before I left, I showed her everything. I suggested she put everything in the dishwasher and then put it where she wanted. The kitchen is tiny with only a few cabinets. I had unpacked her mugs, glasses, silverware (packed in a crumb filled holder) pots and pans, some dirty, and other items. I set up her coffee maker; put the coffee out for her along with the bagels I bought, next to the paper plates. Her bedding was on her bed, her TV was working and we were leaving.
Her phone call was not to say thank you….oh no…. she wanted to know where I put the friggin’ mugs.
I do not know who I am more mad at…me or her. I will try to take the highroad on this. But for now, the pain in my legs and back reminds me that I am truly a fool.