My oldest nephew is graduating and having a bbq. Patricia refused to invite my mother's family because she says they have not made themselves part of his life, so why should she? In a practical sense, I completely agree with her.
When I pressed her on this about myself, after having told me that it would mean a lot to her personally that I be there, she did the math in her head. I told her son, hey, I don't really know you. I have not really been a part of your life. Do you care if I am at your bbq? He said no not really. He's 18. He doesnt really care if anyone but his closest friends are there.
So she agreed, okay, maybe I don't really need to be there. But I know she's like any parent, quietly proud of him and wants to share that with her family. There's the rub. She has a ....well gay people understand this a bit more...different definition of family. For her, it's not so much like the gays, families are not something you are born into, they are something you form. She insists that if our grandmother were to run into Javi in the grocery store, she would have no clue who he is.
Compounding the issue is the fact that Steve is getting married. We are invited to a reception after his JP nuptials are performed. I was not present during this argument, but when he was asked if HE was inviting those same family members and replied no, not a word was said. Patricia was infuriated. This may have sent her over the edge and she has now vowed that she will never make any obligatory family visits to my parents' home. You know, Mother's Day, etc.
I don't know. I was kind of raised with the old school ethic that there are just some things you just DO for and with family. It's diplomacy. It's decorum. It's considerate. These things are just custom, and for kids like us who have said screw custom, nobody likes me for what I truly am, I'm living life for me now, custom can be overbearing or downright useless (speaking for my sister). She may not care for my grandmother and her aunts, but my mother does. It's a family bbq and she thinks her mother and sisters should be invited, even if she knows they won't go, because that's protocol.
For my brother's reception, it's simple math. 100 guests at X dollars a head. We alone are 7 with the inlaws and outlaws and not including my jailbird brother. However, he too is of the quiet opinion that he doesnt really care about other family beyond a howdy. I am older and have had different experiences with most of my extended family. I am eldest so I was ingrained with a deeper sense of family and for nurturing of family. I struggle with my sense of obligation and my sense of individuality just the same. I told my family this weekend that I am not the kind of person who needs things or asks for them. They were the ones who insisted to me that one day I just might need them and it is not right for me to feel that I shouldnt.
As for the bbq, I'm just not going. I was just there last weekend. I hate to drive and I hate to travel. Mom is now refusing to go partly because of my sister and partly because Javi popped off at her and said "good" when she said she wasn't going, whether in jest or not I dont know. Dad says mom has gotten sensitive in her older age (and we have only gotten more INsensitive), but I don't know if he's kidding or not. I guess he wasnt. I don't need to be in the middle of a family squabble either because that's just a waste of my time.
They are both very strong and strongly opinionated women. They just need to realize that the only reason they fight is because they love each other so much.
Perhaps I don't bother fighting with them anymore is because I don't?