“I always thought Christmas was a great time and I was really looking forward to it. It’s a party you should celebrate with your kids (grandchildren). It just hasn’t worked out for a few years now. Meryl and Stijn have always had a difficult relationship. They’re very different. Stijn is a quiet boy He’s good at everything. He learns easily. He’s good at sports. Fun to watch and gets along with everyone. Except with his sister. Meryl always looked up to him so hard. She was jealous of him. She thought we loved him more than her. She said he was such a brilliant son that we were so proud of him, while “I assumed we were disappointed in her. We weren’t. Of course we loved her equally. We always tried to explain to her that it wasn’t about your performance, it was about who you were. I tried to help her with her homework as much as possible, because it was less easy for her.” She insisted on going to pre-university education, just like her brother, but she couldn’t. She finished high school by being hanged and strangled and took her final exams twice. She is a sensitive and insecure girl. As a result, she can also act violently. She had periods when she felt very bad for She thought she was fat and ugly And she had the feeling that others were thinking the same thing and wanted nothing to do with her.”
Stijn had a hard time dealing with her moods. Then he retired to his room. Then she would visit him there often, which he found annoying. When he left home to study, things seemed to get a little better. Merrill even got into a relationship with one of his friends. As a result, she hung out. With the same group that he was associated with and who clashed on a regular basis. Then when she had a thing with another boy and her boyfriend broke up with her, she wanted Steen to stand by her. He didn’t, so that became drama again.”
“There was also a lot of trouble about money. Meryl is always short of money. Joost warned her that she didn’t expect us to help all the time. Then she borrowed money from Stijn and didn’t pay him back within the agreed period. That was the last straw for him. Then He said he no longer wanted to contact her. Since then they refuse to come to us when the other one is there. I think this is awful and I want to work this out with them. We should be able to celebrate Christmas together, right?”
“It’s not going to work. Not before Christmas, not after. I’ve told Ingrid a hundred times that she can’t force it. Our children are all grown up and you can’t force them to join us for Christmas dinner against their will. Apart from the fact that the atmosphere would be cut off if they did.” It’s for her. Ingrid thinks I should have a common conversation with the kids. And if they don’t want to, I’ll just have to talk to them and explain to them what they’re doing to their mother. Ingrid knows she gets very emotional in such a conversation, it’s happened before and it makes her angry All children.”
“But I don’t have that conversation. Not with her, not alone. We talk regularly about it. Ingrid blames me for not understanding how sad he is for her. I understand that very well. I’d like to do it differently myself, but it’s not possible now. I think it’ll work itself out.” In the long run. According to Ingrid, this is not the case. She says the longer this goes on, the more distant the two will become from each other. She sees it as our duty, as parents, to solve this problem. The result is that Stegen distances himself from us more and more. He blames his mother for not respecting his decision. According to him, Ingrid Merrill never addressed her behavior and it always bogged her down in her relationships and at work.”
What he also blames on Ingrid is that she transferred the money for the loan Meryl had with her, so that Meryl could pay it off. I didn’t know that either. Meryl arranged it with her mother, because she didn’t have the money herself, but then she couldn’t keep Her mouth is shut on Stegen. He is the thousandth example that Ingrid Meryl constantly protects. I agree with Stegen that she is no help for Meryl, but I’ve given up on discussing this with her. I told Ingrid to get ready for the two of us to have Christmas dinner together this year. This is a disaster for Ingrid. She’s always been more mother than wife, so my presence doesn’t make up for the loss of the children. Stegen and Meryl might have come and blown separately. But they made it clear they wouldn’t come to celebrate Christmas with us, so I suppose.”
Originally Ingrid’s question was if I couldn’t mediate between her children. I explained to her that I could only do something like this if the children wanted it themselves. When their mother asked to call me, Stegen adamantly refused and Meryl wasn’t enthusiastic either.
Then Ingrid made an appointment with Juste and me, hoping to explain to him how important it was for her and the children themselves to celebrate Christmas together. She was hoping to get Ghost to discuss this with the children.
I understand Ingrid. As a mother, you hope that your children and later your grandchildren will have a good relationship with each other. Family is important. They are the people you didn’t choose, but share the same history with, who you dedicate to, and who are therefore there for you when you need them. Even if you’ve fought fights—not just as a kid, but also as an adult—that bond is there. If it finally breaks, it will always be a pain, especially at parties like Christmas. After all, we are told through all the media that you celebrate Christmas together in good harmony. A decorated home and delicious food set the stage for this quiet celebration. Unfortunately, the reality is sometimes different. Tensions often arise around forced social contact.
I understand Ingrid’s desire, but I also agree with the father that you cannot force adult children to like each other. Meryl and Stegen have to work out their differences of opinion on their own. If Ingrid steps in as a mediator, there’s a good chance that not only will both of them get angry at each other, but also with her. In this way, the conflict between their children will not be resolved. This is only possible if Meryl and Stegen feel the need. They know this is hard for their parents. Ingrid doesn’t have to explain it again.
What I can help them do is prevent this conflict from causing a breakup between Ingrid and Jost as parents. I heard Ghost remark that his presence seemed less important than that of the children. I also hear Ingrid’s need to be understood in the complex emotions that result from her children’s argument. Besides making her sad, it feels like he failed to raise her and she sees it as her responsibility to fix this. They decided to once again say to her children that they were most welcome, but added that they should not feel obligated to attend.
By helping parents express their feelings and thoughts to each other this Christmas, they feel more connected. This makes celebrating Christmas without kids (a little) less daunting.