Here’s a game I feel I have been playing (unwillingly) since my return to the states. It’s really just a two player game between my mom and myself. It goes a little like this……
Rules: They are based according to the player. Mom - no rules. Daughter - you must be nice to your mom.
Object: Again, these are based on the player. Mom-Guilt your daughter into staying in the United States. Daughter - Convince your mother that it is possible to travel to Germany by plane and that Skype still works in Europe. Also, feel as little guilt as possible.
So far, I think the stats would show it’s
Mom- 398721087302740324732098403284 : Daughter - 1
I think I’m losing. But she doesn’t play fair. She says things like “all the things I will miss out on with the baby”, “since I will never see you guys again”, “we won’t have enough time with you guys”. How can I compete with that? Especially since I know that I am her only living child and I have her only biological grandson. Also, my stepfather’s health is not the best so she says he will not be able to fly and she could never leave him to fly on her own to see us. Then, just to pour salt in the wound she has said “you’re choosing his family over yours” or “how can you choose another country over your own?”.
My rebuttals usually go something like this: “I want what’s best for my son” and “I love it there”. That’s the simple version.
To go into more details, would be to explain the main reason for our decision, which is family. In Germany, my son will be surrounded by all of his German relatives; grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. Most, if not all, of those family members live in the same village or nearby areas with the farthest maybe being a couple of hours. These family members are the type who stay in touch and see each other often enough to feel like family. My family consists of my parents in Las Vegas and my half-brother and half-sister both of which are in China. I have a step-sister in Las Vegas, a step-brother in Michigan, some other family of my stepfather’s that I am not even sure who they all are and I have an aunt, uncle and some cousins I’ve never met. Aside from my parents, none of these people feel like family to me. I think it’s safe to say objectively, if family was the basis for the decision, Team Germany wins.
With all the gun violence and school shootings I throw safety out there for another reason. My mom comes back with, “crazy people are everywhere”. Yes this is true, but I think if I am to risk it, I’ll choose the country with the lower crime rate and gun laws.
With healthcare and health insurance just as fraudulent as they can be and the economic crisis, I throw that out there for justification. I don’t get much of an argument on that one. She does use the standard complaint of higher taxes, but I always explain that the taxes don’t bother me when I can sleep at night knowing I have healthcare that isn’t going to bankrupt us in an emergency.
I will also be living in a culture that still values the family system. Sundays are family days with most things being closed. Employees are given a good share of vacation time and maternity leave is even better. On just that issue alone, you can see from this chart where the US ranks! Did you see that? PAID maternity leave! Sure, we can get that too, but only if we pay for short-term disability that you had prior to becoming pregnant and in most cases have been with your employer for one year in order to even be able to take FMLA to get the 6-12 weeks off to begin with! Phew! Plus, even if you take the 12 weeks allowed by FMLA, STD only pays for 6 weeks for a normal delivery and 8 for a c-section. Unfortunately, capitalism built this country, but it has gotten the best of us.
And I digress….the point is, I love my mother and the guilt is killing me. I want her to be happy because I am happy. And, most of all, I don’t want to hurt her, but I can’t live my life for her. I’m hoping that in time, I will convince her to travel and/or convince her that Skype works when I’m in Germany just as it does when I am in Indiana. Here’s to hoping!
Oh and cast your votes - comment and let me know! Maybe I can use that to win more rounds!