Monday, October 12, 2009

An eye for an eye?

Emma and Anna's grandpa died last week. The funeral was on Saturday.

My immediate family all went to the service, obviously (we've spent many a holiday and birthday with Emma and Anna's grandparents). As did my dad's sisters -- even though he is my mom's sister's father-in-law. We're quaint and close like that.

Emma called me when we were driving to the church. "I JUST MET AUNT JACKIE!"

Me: "You have an Aunt Jackie?"

Emma: "Uncle Alan is here! WE have an Aunt Jackie."

Oh. Of course. It makes perfect sense that my estranged uncle would go to his brother-in-law's dad's funeral. Especially since he hates his brother-in-law. And hasn't seen the deceased in 10+ years. And can't be bothered to show up for a family function.

And what a great place to introduce your new wife!

My mom insist that Meg and I introduce ourselves to Aunt Jackie. I put up a little of a fight. But then Mom flashed The Look and I instantly complied. My mom can be pretty damn scary when she wants to be.

Uncle Alan and New Aunt Jackie are talking to my Aunt Annette and Aunt Lynn. We sneak over. Uncle Alan gives Meg a hug. Meg is introducing herself to New Aunt Jackie. Uncle Alan leans in to give me a hug. I step forward and extend my hand to Jackie. I was spunky, smiley. "Hi! I'm Aly!" She pulled me in for one of those half-handshake/half-hugs.

And there is Uncle Alan, holding his arms open to...nobody.

I stepped away from Aunt Jackie. And I stepped away from the group. I did what my mom asked of me.

In the meantime, I totally brushed off Uncle Alan.

I didn't think anything of it. Until Aunt Annette brought it up later. "You gave Uncle Alan the cold shoulder, hmm?"

It wasn't intentional.

I also don't feel bad about it.

He treats my family like shit. He does everything he can to hurt my grandma. (Include the exact thing I did to him.) He doesn't see his sisters. He ignores the existence of his nieces and nephews. He quit the family. Except for showing up for funerals - so he can occasionally look like a good guy to bystanders.

If my mom knew how I turned my back on him, how we didn't exchange a word, how I didn't make eye contact with him - she would be furious.

I understand that. She would want me to be a bigger person.

But I don't want to be the bigger person. I want him to know that I can turn my back on him. That he can't waltz back into the family and be greeted with nothing but hugs and smiles. I'm not going to do what they do. I'm not going to pretend to be happy to see him.

It might make me just as bad as him.

I might not care about that, either.

3 comments:

my life is brilliant said...

Good for you! Clearly Alan is not going to change. If everyone keeps welcoming him when he does finally show up (and also in a way that hurts people), then he'll DEFINITELY never change.

He didn't deserve smiles and hugs from you (or anyone else in your family). I think there comes a time in situations like this when being the bigger person has to end. Pretending won't make things better either.

allimarie said...

I give respect where respect is due.

allimarie said...

And just an fyi - I LOVE reading about your dysfunctional family!! :o) In a good way, of course!

 
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