April 20, 2018

how to deal with an un-invitation? plus informative side-notes

Several weeks ago my sister in law emailed family to find out who would be available to celebrate her daughter's First Communion.  Her email went like this:
 Sent: Wednesday, April 4, 2018 10:21 AM
 Subject: Abbey’s First Communion

With Abbey’s First Communion approaching next month (Sat., May
12th at 2pm), I just wanted to get a feel for who thinks
they will be able to make it. I know Pat and Connie have
their music competition again, and Betty has prom. I
don’t need exact numbers, just an idea! 

Sent from my
My kids play Irish music-just like my brother Pat's kids.  I was trying to figure out which of my kids might go to St. Louis to compete in the Midwest Irish music championships the weekend of May 11th.  Mini's 8th grade dance is scheduled for Friday night the 11th.  If she opted to attend her dance, then she COULD go to St. Louis on Saturday.  She would miss the duets and trios on Friday evening.  She would also miss solos on Saturday morning.  That would limit her involvement to the Sat. night ceili band competition.

Mini wanted to go to some part of the competition.  Tank was ticked that she would consider going to her dance.  He skipped his 8th grade dance in order to attend the music competition in
St. Louis last year.  His theory:  I skipped so we could do a duet, so you should skip so that we could do a duet.

Mini (who has been playing fiddle for 6 years) and Tank (who has played the concert flute for years --just got his Irish flute last Christmas) have only had a couple of lessons all year.  Long story, but my sister in law Connie who was teaching Mini stopped giving lessons.  She opted to grandfather Mini in and keep her as a student.  That only resulted in 2 lessons.  Connie is just too busy.  Mini wasn't feeling up to competing with Tank based on their lack of serious lessons all year.  Side note:  I just found a new teacher who will teach Mini and Curly fiddle via skype.

I responded to my sis in law RIGHT AWAY to let her know that she might need to count Mini and I and maybe one other kid out.
On Apr 4, 2018, at 10:40 AM, Ernie Shenanigan wrote:

think Mini and I and possibly another kid will be going to
st Louis too.  Haven't finalized that yet.
Please note that she said she didn't need exact numbers.  Her next email totally caught me by surprise.

 Subject: Re: Abbey’s First Communion
To: Ernie Shenanigan
Date: Thursday, April 5, 2018, 10:24 PM

That’s fine. Since you’re planning on going to
St. Louis and so many can’t make it (only Marie, Delaney
and Ann who is a maybe for dinner), we’re going to go
to a restaurant instead. I’m only able to get a
reservation for 14 at this point. It’ll just be your
Marie and Delaney, and my sister’s family and                                                      maybe Ann, depending on timing around Betty’s                                                                picture’s for prom. 
Sent from my
WHAT?  Just because Mini and I and maybe another kid might not attend, she decided not to invite ANYONE from my family????  Help me out here.  I can't wrap my brain around it.

I am full of side notes today:  she and my brother just bought a mansion.  She almost never entertained at their last home because she always claimed they didn't have enough space.  They had a very nice 4 bedroom home with a living room, dining room, eat in kitchen, family room, full unfinished basement, backyard, etc.   We have a big family .  My siblings and I have given our folks 22 grandchildren.  Trust me, there was ample space for us in their last house.  I do believe that she gets overwhelmed entertaining.  I think she WANTS everything from a decorating standpoint to be perfect and appear as if it was out of a magazine.  (None of us really care.  No reason for her to raise the bar to host our group.  Really).  So, I get that she prefers a restaurant.  She couldn't find a place to accommodate the rest of us?

In the meantime, I told Mini that I didn't want to go all the way to St. Louis for a quick competition.  We would have to stay over.  I always end up driving 5 hours home from this event on Mother's Day. 
I took a few days to ponder my response.  I wanted to say something along the lines of, 'Hi Crazy!  I know I am the most awesome person in my immediate family - but did you really decide not to invite the rest of the gang because I might not be there?'  Instead I approached it like a grown up.
On Apr 7, 2018, at 10:32 AM, Ernie Shenanigan wrote:
That’s fine, but not sure if you realize that most of our family will still be in town.  I actually think I have Mini convinced that it doesn’t make sense to go all the way to St. Louis for ceili band only.  Mini has her 8th grade dance Friday night so she thought she was going to go to St. Louis for Saturday but that means she misses solos and duets - and just shows up to do ceili band.  If you want to keep your reservation the way you have it, then don’t worry about it.  Maybe if more seats become available, you can add us.  

Eleven days later.  That's right.  ELEVEN.  Side note #3 in case anyone is counting:  I typically get along fine with my sister in law.  She is very sweet.  I don't hang with her much outside of family events.  She is all about designer clothes for her kids - they don't wear hand-me-downs EVER, concerns herself with appearances, and has NEVER once answered a ringing phone - be it a cell phone or a landline.  It baffles me.  So consider that before you suggests that I call her.  She doesn't work.  Her kids are all in school.  She is a nice person who is crazy about my brother, devoted to her kids (spoils them pretty sufficiently- especially Abbey), and respectful and kind to my parents.   Her long-awaited response:

 Hey Ernie! Sorry I’m just responding now! Once the numbers started coming in and I knew that only 3 cousins had confirmed (Deirdre, Jimmy and Jill), I realized it would be a small party/more of a big kid/adult party. I didn’t want to have a typical house party where Abbey wouldn’t have anyone to play with. She said she’d rather go to a restaurant and have dessert at our house later. That was fine w Mike and me, so I reserved a couple of tables as soon as I could! But if you’re not going to go to St. Louis or if you think some of your kiddos will make it, we’ll have it at our house. I hope this weather will be better by then!!

Sent from my iPhone

WHAT?!!??  Now, Coach and I are going to dictate that they host a party at their house even though she has shared with me that she would prefer to have it at a restaurant?  I think not.  I tried to imagine if I had made a similar oversight.  I would instantly email the person back and say, 'Sorry!  I don't know what I was thinking by not counting your other family members.  Glad some of you are in town (and maybe all of you).  Invitation to follow.'

I would not have the nerve to make the potential guest feel like they were put upon -that their presence might mean that the party take on a different feel/location entirely.  IS IT JUST ME???

This is the frame I ordered for Abbey. 
It is my favorite 1st Communion gift. 
I get it at personalization mall.  (link)
Guests can sign the frame and write a message. 
Such a sweet keepsake. 
Ironically my family will not be signing
the frame, because
I have yet to respond.  Curly is upset because she really wants to go.  She is only 2 years older than Abbey.  I am thinking that I will call and leave a million messages for 'I-don't-answer-calls-sis-in-law'.  When she finally calls me back, I will just ask her if she can possibly fit Curly in at the restaurant.  I will point out that I have no interest in dictating where the party is held, so best if we just stay home.

I will recover from not spending time with my family.  Seriously.  That is not the point. 

Thoughts?  Tell me you have never heard the likes of this?  Please.  Because I feel like it is nuts.  Or do you think I am nuts?  I am ready and waiting. 


Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

Your family dynamics are unreal! I guess that happens the larger the family gets. I don't like hosting people at our house because I feel inadequate however, I would never not invite everyone to a restaurant if that's where we were having it. I think you just need to tell her no worries and leave it at the restaurant. Curly is just going to have to miss out unfortunately. It's clear your SIL's mind is made up on the restaurant with 14 people.

Ernie said...

I agree . . . my family dynamics are UNREAL! I am guessing that my SIL has her mind made up on a restaurant that is the 'it' place or something, because why not go to a different restaurant that could accommodate all guests? She is a good person, but not a strong communicator. The nuttiest part is that my family members believe our family should be the model for all other families. Gag, choke.