Years ago, I would stand here on the west coast and watch my family in the midwest get together for special occasions or just dinner on a Sunday and think proximity was my barrier with them. I was far away – they were all close together. I would rationalize that if we were all together that I would be part of it. I would be there too – celebrating, comforting, just being there too. My choice of life took me from that, but did not make me less of a family members.
When they first moved out here – a mere 3 hours away, I was happy. After dealing with G’s dysfunctional family for years, it was a welcome relief for me to have my family close by. All of them near – my kids would have their other grandparents. They would have their aunts and uncles – and eventually cousins to get to know and love. They would get to see a functional family in action.
There have been signs all along that I (and by virtue my family) was not part of that tight knit group. There were things that would come up where I would think “did they mean to exclude me?” But I tried to continually interject myself into it all. And there were times when they “needed the big sister” and sought me out. It gave me this false sense that I was part of that.
But in reality, I’m not.
I realized last winter that my parents were celebrating a significant anniversary this summer. An anniversary that required a group celebration – a bigger than family one. I brought it up to my brothers who hemmed and hawed about the whole thing. Neither even realized it was a significant one until I proved it to them – yes, I had to prove it. Nothing came of my forethought. So, I figured we’d deal with it when it came closer.
It snuck up on all of us – their anniversary. I called the siblings and suggested that we plan something. More hemming and hawing – work schedules, etc. Then I realized we had committed to sending Indigo to my in-laws the same time as the anniversary. They had put it on the calendar with G weeks ago. Nothing was coming together planning wise, so I called my mom to see what she wanted. She wanted the whole family together. She wanted to see the kids. She realized nothing was being planned, so understood about Indigo. So, we picked another date. A date where we could go spent the day together at a lake.
The plan was thwarted again by work schedules and such. A plan D was going to need to be made.
I woke up to G asking me “did you know they are celebrating your parents anniversary tonight?”
He had read it on Facebook that a plan had been created.
No one had told me.
I was not happy, but there was nothing I could do. I had tried. I had failed. I was being excluded….again.
I went about my day just doing my own thing. Having a great evening with friends. All was good.
Until they went home and I checked my email.
The same brother who had created this plan of exclusion for me had sent me an email basically telling me my priorities were fucked up. He told me that this was a great evening that I had chosen not to be a part of. Then he went on to tell me that these are chances in life you don’t get back. He read me the riot act for not being there – not attending the party that no one told me about – the party I found out about via a Facebook status update.
This is, for context purposes, the same brother who I got onto anti-anxiety medicine when he was struggling to keep his head above water, the same brother who I gave an extra car to when he was vehicle-less, the brother who I reviewed and rewrote resumes for, I gave advice to when he was fighting a unemployment denial. I have loaned him money. I have helped him out. I have been there as he needed it.
My heart has broken with the realization that I will never be part of that family. I had apparently forfeited it when I moved out to Oregon 16 years ago. And despite the feeling all those years ago that it was distance that kept me from not being a part of it, I now know – it isn’t. I’m really not sure what I’m going to do with this realization now.
This was so much easier when they were halfway across the country.
What do I do with it?