Beyond Awkward Family Get-Togethers

pewter dragon statueAs many of you know, I haven’t had much of a relationship with my sister. And by “relationship,” I mean when you actually speak to or communicate with another human being more than once a decade.

We never had much of anything in common besides a mother and father and going to the same high school. I was into the Cure and combat boots and dark lipstick, she was into pewter dragon statues (when I see things like the photo on the left, I immediately think of her), Dungeons & Dragons role-playing games (and still is), and playing in the band. We didn’t listen to the same music, like the same clothes, or even like the same food. We did share a significant amount of friends, which irked me, but our high school was small, and weirdos were limited. Rather than having individual cliques of nerds, geeks, goth or punk kids, there were only a few of each and we all had to stick together.

It’s been at least 9 years since I’ve seen her in person, and about five or six since I’ve heard from her (she sent an invitation to her graduation from a community college — after the actual ceremony — which led me to believe she just wanted money). The last time I saw her in 1999, she actually stayed at my house for 2 weeks before moving to Ohio with our parents, eating my food, commandeering my bedroom, sleeping all afternoon and going to work at one in the morning, which really screwed up my schedule. Things didn’t seem to end badly when she finally moved, so I haven’t been able to understand exactly what it was I may have done as all these years have passed without a peep out of her.

When Charlie and I were planning our wedding, we went to visit my parents in Ohio and my sister was there, at the house, the entire time we were eating dinner. I could hear her shifting around in her room upstairs, but didn’t come down once to meet her future brother-in-law. Charlie has only ever seen a photo of her. It just seems odd that they were in the same place at the same time for at least four or five hours and have never actually met one another.

About 6 months ago, I finally sat down and wrote her an email, apologizing for whatever it is that I did to offend her. If it was something that happened when we were kids, it was most likely something stupid and I don’t know that I should be held accountable for something mean I did when I was 12, but with my sister you never know. I think she tends to hold grudges. But I did tell her that if she chose not to respond I was fine with that and would take it to mean she wasn’t interested in a relationship. Which was fine with me. I don’t particularly care to have some sort of weird, forced contact with a person with whom I really have nothing in common, all for the sake of being able to say I have that contact.

A few weeks ago my mom was pestering me to email my sister again and tell her that I’m pregnant. I kept saying I’d already tried to communicate with her and she hadn’t responded, so if my mom wanted her to know, well, tell her yourself. Apparently she did and my sister said she’d never gotten any email from me.

I don’t know what to think about that. My first response was that she was just fibbing in an attempt to avoid an uncomfortable conversation, but maybe she really didn’t get it? In which case, I admit I felt slightly bad for being hard on her. Only slightly.

Now, my mom is telling me that there is a chance (“weather permitting”) my sister, her new husband, and his daughter may be coming out for Christmas Eve tomorrow afternoon. Of course, it’s going to bother people who would have otherwise liked to have bought them gifts. Hopefully, my mom and sister will be prepared with something for this little girl, but by keeping it a surprise (mostly to avoid some family members’ disappointment if they don’t show up), people are undoubtedly going to feel bad. It’s not like Easter or Thanksgiving where you just show up and eat. I mean, everyone’s going to have something to unwrap except for them, which seems stinky.

I still have the last presents I bought for my sister for Christmas 8 years ago — a ring I found on eBay with amethyst (her birthstone), and a weird book about the extinction of the dinosaurs because she was really into archaeology and, last I’d heard, it was what she was studying in college. I guess I could bring those?


2 thoughts on “Beyond Awkward Family Get-Togethers

  1. Wow. I guess I shouldn’t complain about my brother coming anymore.

    If there is anyone that will be able to handle this with grace and style, it is you.

    Also, I have already filled the position as Auntie Heather, so she need not apply. 😉

    Big Hugs to you.

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