Sometimes families are wonderful. I love my ‘little’ nest of people and the small menagerie we have accumulated. Sometimes they drive me to distraction or make me long for a distraction, sure, but they are there and they love me. They tell me so. In words, in teacups, in cooking, washing, technological assistance and cleaning up cat poo.
Sidenote: I am a grown woman with 4 children but I cannot clean up after cats without gagging. This appears to be my kryptonite. Which, when you think about it, makes far more sense than actual kryptonite. Pretty green stones vs icky cat mess. It’s a no brainer.
Anyway. Love is obvious in these and many other ways in my household.
Throughout my extended family, love is shown in other ways. We don’t live in the same city, so visits are always wonderful. Phone calls, texts and emails are also appreciated. Invite me to stay. Pay for a trip. Buy coffee. Hug me. Talk. All say, “I love you.”
My in-laws are a mystery to me. They say “family is everything” but I’m left wondering when inaction speaks louder than words. And even of words, there are few. Mostly mine.
The kids and I will be in town for these dates. Let me know when we can see you, please.
Arrive tonight. Let me know when we could catch up.
What is going on? I do not understand. No acknowledgement. Certainly no possible plans. Just nothing.
Hmmmm. I’ll try Facebook. I’ve seen your posts, I know you’ll see this.
Kids and I arrive tonight for 7 days. We are planning our time and would love to see you. Will you let me know what might work please?
An hour later, I receive one (of 6 possible) replies:
I’ll let you know. Busy with work as I’ve been promoted.
I get it. Work is busy. I know that in my own life. But 24/7 for the next week? No time for coffee? Hmm.
A day later:
***** has left the group.
Well, that’s pretty clear.
And after that:
One (who is widely considered THE most unreliable in family) writes:
How long are you here for? I’d really like to introduce my new partner. My phone number has changed since last time so if you’ve tried to text me, I didn’t get it. New number is *******. I’ll call tomorrow when we can work something out.
Well, seems like the same old deal. It’s always this way. He’s rubbished by many family members and sometimes drives you nuts, but he ALWAYS makes time for us. ALWAYS. Actions, right?
The week before, having received no reply via text, I created a Facebook event for the youngest’s 3rd birthday. His actual birthday is just days after we go home, so why not get everyone together for a little cake? Right? Nope. Not a single rsvp from the same people. Friends from my high school days, some of whom I know better now via FB than I did at school, have replied in the affirmative. Family in law? Not one. (This happened for two consecutive years!)
I don’t know what else to do! For my own sake, I couldn’t care less, but for my children and my disappointed husband, I care a lot. What message is this sending them? Hmmmm.
Let me tell you what I’m hearing:
– You aren’t worth my time.
– I don’t want to see you.
– I don’t care that you live at the other end of the state.
– Niece? Nephews? Grandchildren? Who?
And that hurts me for their sakes.
What I want to do is tell (some of) them where to go. I want to send them this rant. I want to go visit and say it straight out. I want a reason. I want my husband to feel like a valued family member. What I want to do is tell (most of) them to stick it.
What will I do? Probably make a phone call and try to squeeze ourselves in. Make children visit so they can be roundly ignored for the allocated hour; or be told how naughty, rude, goth, lazy etc they are. Try to make polite conversation and hope that I can communicate, pleasantly and perhaps too subtly, how important family is to us. This will be agreed with and then ignored again til next time. Try to comfort my husband by playing nice and making more of an effort to insert ourselves where it appears we aren’t wanted so that others don’t look bad for not having seen us.
Things that make you go, “Hmmmm.”