I sort of called with the agenda of checking on my mom - she had knee surgery yesterday. But of course, Dad took the opportunity to fill in all the blanks Mom left during our, um, chat. Some of his complaints are understandable, while the rest are just ridiculous and bizarre.
To start off, he's still upset that we moved to NC right after we got married. It was always Joe's goal/dream to move back after graduating college, and he told me this when we were talking about getting married. At first I completely balked at the idea. Leave my family, my home, everything I've known for the last 20 years?! But after a while, the idea grew on me and I realized that I really did want to get away from the place I grew up. I needed something different. Anyway, I never really communicated that to my family which I guess was - and is - my fault. So they basically see the situation as Joe wanted to move to NC and I went with him because I wanted to be with him, not because I actually wanted to. Dad's actual words were, "he said he was moving to NC and you could come or not." Not exactly the case, but I suppose I can see where they came up with that.
And now, because we moved to NC and I actually like spending time with my in-laws, I have "abandoned" my family. We spend more time with his family, supposedly, and we like them better. Oh, and here's a ridiculous, very 12 year old, complaint: I don't post hardly any pictures of MY family on FB. Seriously, y'all, I can't make this stuff up. He actually said that. And, yeah, it's true. But my family hates to take pictures. It's like pulling teeth. Rest assured that the next time I'll be annoying them with my camera and posting all the bad photos on FB. Just for spite.
The rest of the things he said were really meant to push my buttons. Basically, I'm not the person I used to be. I guess they think people can't/shouldn't change? He thinks that I started changing when I started hanging out with my bestie my senior year of high school/freshmen year of college. Well, maybe the two are just coincidental. Generally speaking, people start changing when they get into college and are introduced to different people and different ways of thinking. But since he never went to college and can't understand that, he's willing to place the blame on my change in personality/thinking on a person I became close friends with.
He even went so far as to tell me that I have none of my own thoughts because I've changed so much. That because I am a SAHM and want to homeschool my kids, I'm trying to be like my husband's family. "Because Sarah never wanted to do those things." And he's right, I didn't. I never had any desire to be a SAHM before I was married. I planned to send my kids to public school before I got pregnant. But people change. More accurately, God changed MY HEART. My dad won't respond well to me saying such things, so I can't tell him that God revealed to me when I was pregnant that I should teach my children, not someone else. I can't tell him that God changed my heart about staying home with my babies. I can't tell him because I'm not sure he'd understand. And because he can't understand, he says things like I wasted 4 years in college. That I should've gotten married at 18 and not gone to college if I "just wanted to be a barefoot and pregnant housewife." Those were his actual words.
It wasn't until I was talking to Joe later, that I realized something. My parents want me to be something I'm not. They want me to be exactly like them. They're not bad people, they're just not who I want to be. I can't be like them. I can't go to church and act one way, then come home (or go to work) and act another. I can't talk to people they way they talk to me. (Although it is tempting to talk the same way to them.) I can't take their advice on most things, because the way they live isn't how Joe and I want to live. We don't agree on a lot of things - money, church, homeschooling, careers, you name it. I'm sure they're disappointed. There's nothing wrong with being like/wanting to be like my in-laws. They're just different than my family. Honestly, they're easier to be around and not just because I don't have to field 90 million questions about why I'm not doing things their way. They respect our decisions (or at least they appear to ;-)) and they offer us sound advice.
All I can say is that I know God was behind that conversation. I know things were aired that needed to be and, thankfully, Dad was pretty calm and respectful... Well, other than those things about me just being a barefoot and pregnant housewife. The real miracle is that I was able to pretty much let things slide. I barely got agitated, which is rare when Dad and I have a heated discussion. I barely got a word in, which is very normal and also why I can't even try correct his incorrect assumptions, but at least he got out what he needed to say.
So I'm not sure I can do anything to resolve this situation with my parents. I can't convince them of, well, anything. I can't apologize for things I didn't do wrong. I did tell him a couple times that I was sorry he felt that way, and I think that's all I can really do. I can't apologize for wanting to spend time with pleasant people. I can't apologize for changing when that change is from God and for the best. My MIL emailed me a few days ago about all this and said there are some people with whom you just can't make things right. I have a feeling my parents are these people.
I don't really know where we go from here, but here is where we are. When I really think about the relationship I have with my parents, it makes me a little sad. It also makes me envious of people who have fantastic relationships with their parents. This morning I read a post by someone who has a great relationship with her dad. It was his birthday and she wrote some beautiful things she learned from him. Things I wish I could say I learned from my dad...about God and life as a Christian. Sure, my parents took me to church, but I don't remember ever having very in-depth discussions about following and living in God's will. It hurts my heart to think about all the opportunities we missed (and still are missing, I suppose) to share our faith. My grandparents and I share this, but not my parents. I don't understand why, but that's the way it is.
Anyway. Nothing has been solved and I'm not sure it will ever be solved. Maybe it's not supposed to be. All I know is that I'm going to keep living the way I am and I can't apologize for it.