Thursday, January 27, 2011



That's pretty much the purpose of family, right? To bring more drama into our lives?

Sometimes, like today, I feel guilty, and like it's my fault that things aren't easier with my family.

The good news is that my sister and I talked yesterday.

The bad news is that she angrily accused me of having an agenda, some sort of ulterior motive, for deciding to have my shower on a date that she couldn't come.

I very calmly (go me!) asked her what on earth kind of agenda would that be? What on earth could I possibly be trying to prove? Why would I not want her there? Of COURSE I want her there... it just felt like it was impossible to achieve.

She finally calmed down -- it helped when I told her it hurt my feelings that she suggested I have my shower four months before my due date -- and said she meant to only express her preference. And insisted that she told me that she would be there for any of the dates she had given me, including the ones in June. So I told her that I hadn't heard her say that in our previous conversation, but that I was glad to hear it now. She offered to talk to our cousin B, to see if there were any dates in June that might work for her, after all, so that my shower could be in the month of my preference. And I promised to use the one date in May that seems to work for everyone, if no June compromise can be reached.

I also told her that I'm sad that she may be moving across the country, right before I give birth. And that it's really important to me that she be there in the delivery room when the time comes... Which is very true. Though it's hard for me to imagine how that will work, if she's living in New Mexico.

Anyway, our conversation ended very sweetly. She told me that she's planning to start making me a quilt for the baby this week, and that she has a whole ritual planned, some sort of Blessing ceremony, that she wants to do for my shower. Which is beautiful. Of course, rituals make me super uncomfortable... but in this case, well, it's not about me. And she said she had this had been done for her, and it was beautiful, and she still looks at the album that was created during it. So maybe I will appreciate it too, instead of merely feeling uncomfortable. Hoping for the best with that one!

So we are back in a good place. I see her limitations very clearly... but I am able to not take them personally.

My brother, on the other hand. Well.

He called today, and after asking how I was feeling, inquired as to whether I had forgotten that I had promised him a housewarming present, as he hadn't heard anything from me in a while. And he wondered if I needed suggestions.

I. Am Not. Making. This. Up.

Now, I guess I should admire his forthrightness and honesty? I mean, I'd rather have someone ask me for what he wants than walk around resenting him.

But I must admit, it took me by surprise. And the whole honesty thing, well, he values it more highly than I do.

Case in point. Back when I was maybe 27, I had flown to the East Coast from San Francisco for our annual Thanksgiving family reunion. We were standing alone in the kitchen but were certainly not in a private place, and out of nowhere, he smirked at me and said, "nice mustache you've got going there. I've got a razor you can borrow if you need it."

When I glared at him, he said, "what? I believe in being honest with people I care about."

I can laugh about it now... well, okay, actually, I can't, but at least not be bothered about it. But at the time, it was horrifying. Truthfully, I lived in San Francisco, I'd been moonlighting as a dyke when I met my ex (boyfriend), I knew nothing about makeup, didn't shave my 'pits, and generally didn't care much about my appearance. But his comment made me deeply self conscious. I wondered if everyone had been gawking at me as I walked around, oblivious to my newfound hirsuitism?

But then, that he tried to play it off as "constructive criticism" and "helping me," well, that took the cake. Especially after saying this in the middle of a very public kitchen, in a home with 30+ people roaming through it.

At the time, I walked away, and ignored him the rest of my visit. When he confronted me about said silent treatment a day or two later, I said, "look, I could say to you, 'your ass is getting kind of big. Maybe you need to start going to the gym more often.' And that's true. But I don't, because it's not kind." That shut him up. And I walked away.

(After I returned home to SF, I managed to share this story with my then-boyfriend of five years, who is a lovely, gentle soul... cringing at the part about the mustache, worried that he had never noticed my disgusting hairiness, but would forever afterwards be revolted by me... and he just laughed heartily. To my shock and wonder, he didn't seem disgusted by me in the slightest, even knowing The Terrible Truth About My Hairy Self.  And then ranked on my brother and his unbearable self righteousness... and made me feel warm and surrounded by love. )

1 comment:

  1. Family. They're the best as pushing all the right buttons to upset you, aren't they?

    Though I'm still flabbergasted by your brother's comment! I love your response to him later when he questioned you on the silent treatment.