My parents, who are divorced, live within twenty and forty minutes of me, respectively, but my sister lives several states away in Florida. My mother is going to see my sister next week and, other than a one-week visit at Christmas, she isn’t coming back for good until next May. I feel like she doesn’t care that she has another daughter (me) that she won’t be with for Thanksgiving, and also she doesn’t even care that she’s going to miss my birthday in January. I’m very close with my mom, we talk everyday and always do things together, but I feel like she’s going to completely forget about me after the baby is born. I mean, she’s already showing signs of it and the baby isn’t even here yet.
My mom was supposed to buy me a new furnace because the one I had was over twenty years old and was shot. Well, I found out she spent the money on a dresser and crib for the baby. So, now my mom will be in Florida this winter with no care if my furnace completely blows and I will be without heat. I feel like I’m not going to have a mother who gives a shit about me anymore; she’s going to forget she has another daughter after her grandbaby is born. I do not want to feel like this!!! Why do I? Please help!! Thank you. — Jealous Aunt-to-Be
I suspect because you have trouble thinking beyond yourself and your needs. Don’t want to feel like this? Great! Start fostering some independence. That furnace of yours you were hoping your mother would replace? Buy a new one for yourself. Can’t afford one? Better figure out some ways to earn more money or cut back on expenses so you can. And if you live in a home that you can’t afford maintaining, perhaps you aren’t ready for homeownership and ought to sell your house and rent something until you are more financially independent. Renters don’t typically have to worry about replacing 20-year-old furnaces.
One way to feel better about not being with your mother for Thanksgiving is to consider volunteering somewhere. Volunteering for people who are less fortunate than you is a great way to expand your thoughts beyond your own needs and wants and to gain a little perspective. You could also organize a “friendsgiving” and invite friends, who are also away from their parents, to your home for a potluck meal. Or you could spend the day with your other parent — your father — who lives forty minutes away from you. Or you could fly down to Florida and spend the holiday with your mother and sister and newborn nephew, whom you might want to, you know, meet. Same goes for your birthday, if you really can’t stand the idea of not being with your mother.
Your mom is never going to stop loving you. But, yes, for a while, she’s probably going to feel a lot more excited about spending time with her brand new grandbaby and helping your sister adjust to new motherhood than buying a new furnace for her 32-year-old daughter. You are not going to be the center of her world or the sole focus of her attention, obviously. And while you are clearly uncomfortable with this notion — and uncomfortable with your discomfort — the time on your own that you’ll be forced to fill with something other than your mother’s unending devotion — is ultimately going to be good for you. I encourage you to spend the next six months thinking about what you can do to make others feel loved and appreciated and how YOU can take care of yourself, make special occasions celebratory, and address financial needs without the immediate support of your parents, which you’ve come to depend on.
Not everything is about you. Your sister’s baby-to-be isn’t about you. (Other than it making you an aunt). You will never be able to count on anyone giving you 100% of their attention. I hope you don’t even give yourself 100% of your attention, because there is more in this world to think about than simply you, and the more you begin to appreciate that — and appreciate the joy and enrichment focusing some of your attention on people and things outside yourself can bring, the happier you will ultimately be.
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