June 22, 2017

Father's Day aftermath and sisters suck: exhibit A

So, I planned to post this right after the other Father's Day post.  It's hard to summarize the nonsense of being excluded from a Father's Day meal with my own dad, so another post snuck in there while I worked on this . . .

After a lifetime of being left out, over looked, and under valued, I hesitate to know where to go from here.  My siblings describe our family as very close knit.  I suppose if I am not counted as part of the family unit, then this assessment is true.  

In short, my two older sisters are best friends.  (So are my two younger brothers).  My sisters are stuffy, judgmental, and humorless.  They both adjust their normal voice to speak in a 'it's just super-sweet-me' tone when they answer the phone.  Puke.  With me, what you see is what you get.

Their straight-as-an arrow tendencies and their need for constant control frustrate me like the little sister who was excluded because she was 'too little.'  A side note . . . I am two and a half years younger than Marie, who is exactly two years younger than Ann.  Just in case you thought a ten year divide separated us and gave them reason to consider me 'younger'.
Ah, childhood memories!

In high school and college, my friends often confused my sisters, who looked so alike.  It didn't help that their non-blog names are just a syllable off of each other.  

I grew up hoping that they would accept me, include me, or grow fond of me.  Ann never liked me.  My outspoken tendencies and flare for embellishment must have made her queasy.  I enjoy retelling a good story.  I also don't go along with something for fear of making waves.  

Even the birth order of our respective offspring leads to my kids becoming the 'middle' cousins of the 22 grandchildren on my side of the family.

Growing up, my folks never corrected Ann for bemoaning my existence.  My oldest sister was considered incredibly sweet.  Her beyond-shy, worry-about-what-others-think personality allowed her to get away with treating me like the wicked step sister.  

About 7 years ago when Marie's family ended up relocating to the Midwest after years on the east coast, my mom said to me, 'This will be so nice for Ann.'  Strange, but true.  I raced to the bathroom mirror to investigate.  Nope, not invisible.  Over the years since Marie's arrival in Milwaukee, I have been excluded and made to feel invisible.

When Reggie and Curly weren't quite school age, Mom made sure to mention one shopping trip to me just before it happened.  She said that she, Marie, and Ann planned to meet at the Illinois/Wisconsin border for an afternoon of shopping till they dropped.  She said, they just assumed I wouldn't be able to get a sitter.  Of course I knew that one of my close girlfriends would have been happy to take Reg and Curly for the day.

It was clever to tell me about their adventure, so that it looked as if they weren't sneaking away for fun without me.  Waiting to the last minute meant I had no chance to make arrangements for my two tykes.  I hurried out of her house that day, because I could only blink back the tears for so long.  

There have also been dinners in the area, shopping weekends downtown (like when I was away with my dad and 10 kids touring Gettysburg - perhaps this one proved the most nervy) and overnight trips to Milwaukee.  All of these events had the same common factor:  no Ernie.  

For some reason I believe Irish families have no shame in playing favorites.  Or is that just my experience?  

Coach tried for awhile to remind me that I don't really enjoy spending time with my sisters.  I am a firecracker to their stick in the muddiness.  They don't approve of people who speak their mind - unless these free-speakers are, of course, of the same mind.  I get Coach's thought process, but it is just not the point.

My folks are old.  I recognize that it is too late to correct their ways.  What would it accomplish for me to point out, 'Hey, you guys never required my sisters to include me, let alone be civil to me'?

I could've tried to trump them by scheduling my dad for lunch before they 'got to him.'  BUT, I could NEVER invite my dad somewhere on dad's day and not include my siblings.  It's Father's Day.  He's their father, too!  

What to do now?  I've thought of being a wise ass and emailing them:  'Thanks for including me in your lunch with dad.  I appreciate your thoughtfulness.'  It seems my brothers weren't included either, but they probably planned to stop by his house later since they were most likely celebrating with their families.

A few years ago, I discovered that my brother was hosting a cookout on Father's Day.  Ann was invited, but the rest of us were not.  In order to get to see my dad that day, we drove the family to Pat's house, filed into the backyard to hand my dad his card and hug him amid their festivities, and then unceremoniously marched back to our car.  

Ann is divorced, so she isn't expected to make a meal for a spouse or instruct kids to craft memorable cards.  Marie's husband is afraid to rock the boat.  Besides at this point I'm sure he recognizes my sister's sheer obsession with our parents.  We can count on her to send out group text messages to her siblings when she can't track down our folks for over an hour.  (They don't have a cell phone).  They are only in their mid 70's and are both still sharp and mobile.  

Demanding to be included in my sisters' escapades puts me in a tight spot.  I don't really want them to feel obligated to invite me.  And of course, like Coach says - I don't really enjoy spending time with them.

So, it's hard to decide how to handle this situation.  I could do the usual:  just carry-on and allow myself a few days to remain pissed before I swallow my irritation and move on with life.

On the other hand, I'd love to finally share the link to my blog with them.  

So readers, what would you do?  Anyone have a similar family dynamic?

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