I’ve gotten used to being excluded from family gatherings over the years. I suppose it started with the age gap – I’m considerably younger than my siblings. I’m also older than my nieces and nephews. My aunts and uncles are much older, my father being the youngest in his family and me being a late life baby and all.
My sisters are close – they are a little over a year apart, grew up with each other and they have a bond that is amazing. My brothers used to be close – they had each other growing up, with only three years between them. Then there’s me – out there on my own. I’ve sort of gotten used to it but there are times when the exclusion hurts.
Facebook is a remarkable tool to see what’s going on in the world, with your friends and family, and in your community. It’s also the devil’s bane to see what’s going on in the world, with your friends and family and so on. I’m sure everyone is well aware of the horrors going on in Ferguson, Missouri by now; a neighborhood that is considerably closer than I am comfortable with.
Amidst all the wonderful pictures I see for back to school first day of school – I didn’t post any, my youngest is starting her senior year and glared at me with the death dagger stare at the idea of snapping her picture – I set my phone down and backed away slowly – I find a post on my wall that not only excludes me but my kids. REALLY?
I’m used to crap from my family, you know every family has conflicts, everyone has arguments but usually in the end when push comes to shove we are blood and we bond together even if it’s only for that brief amount of time. But now the fecal mater is flying in my husband’s family. I have to assume it’s me as I am the common denominator.
You can hate me all you want – I really don’t care what anyone beyond my husband and kids think about me anymore. I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with “better than thou” opinions, the eye-rolls, the gossip. Seriously, get a life! But when my kids are slighted – it’s ON.
Now here’s the thing, I’ve never met the offender in person. I had the flu over the last gathering when my kids met her. I’ve never said one word to her, never spoken on the phone with her but this woman just had strike 3 you’re out. I know people talk, and when you’re not around you are the one that is most often talked about.
I’ve refrained any judgment up to this point. For those of you who don’t know my personality, let me give you a brief introduction. I’m usually easygoing, can be the life of the party, spontaneous, laugh easily ( for which I’ve been criticized for laughing too loud, and being unladylike because I joke around), am generally good-natured, and it takes a lot to make me angry. I am a good listener – sometimes, other times I am too talkative. I take life as it comes and usually don’t get too bent out of shape by most things. Slow to anger but once I am, very reluctant to give that second chance. I don’t judge others – I let their behaviour speak, and in essence they prove themselves one way or the other. I have strong opinions but you know where you stand with me.
If you’ve read some of my rants here, you know when things set me off but to be honest, those are rare. However, having said that once you cross me and prove to be a gossip, talk behind my back, I’m done with you. You cross my children or slight them – it’s on. Hell hath no fury like a mother whose children are hurt.
Like I said I’ve gotten used to being slighted by family. It’s no biggie to me, I am in between the generations, and don’t really fit into either very well. BUT, my kids are a different matter. In a sense we’ve sort of gotten used to certain exclusions of them by proxy. You aren’t hurting me or the kids. What you are doing is creating the lack of a relationship between you and them.
I realize that the offending parties are too wrapped up in their own drama and self-absorbed to the level that they never see beyond the end of their own nose to even understand the full impact of those hurtful words. Let me clue you in: you’ve just driven a wedge between you and these beautiful young ladies who are intelligent, have moral integrity, and more class than you could ever hope to have. Cutting remarks made flippantly cause irreparable damage to tender hearts.
My heart? I’m too old to care what they think or give a crap about whatever drama it is that they feel necessary to create. My girls however are young, impressionable, and vulnerable. It’s not my fault that the offending parties are too stupid to realize they are burning down the bridge that they are standing on. I know my children well enough to know that this will hurt them deeply. I want to protect them, tell them it’s a mistake, but when it’s posted by the individual publicly on their Facebook wall, how can you deny what is said? I also know my children well enough that this will be a line drawn in the sand that will not be easily forgiven or forgotten.
I’ve spent the past 20 years trying to teach my kids to behave properly, have good manners, treat people as you would like to be treated, watch your mouth, refrain from expressing your opinion when it might hurt someone . . . and then the people who are supposed to care about them, supposed to be there for them, stab them in the back with a butcher knife.
That can’t be undone. What I can do now is offer my daughter’s this bit of advice, and I hope that you see some value in it as well.
Confront your path with courage, and don’t be afraid of the criticism of others. And above all, don’t allow yourself to become paralyzed with self-criticism.
I need to work on that myself. There are times when I let the criticism get to me. There are far too many times when I am my own worst enemy with self-criticism. I want better for my girls, therefore I must strive to do better with myself.
I hope that in some small way you have benefited from a motivational post, or something uplifting by reading my blog. It is not my wish to create strife for anyone. All of us are trying to live the best we can, and I know it’s not everyone that finds it necessary to be the vinegar of life. Most of us prefer to be the honey. But when combined, they balance each other out – the one not too bitter and the other not too sweet. I do hope though that my posts offer a pleasant sweetness to your day, and that you keep coming back.
Life is too short to let the opinion’s of others hold you down, or make you feel less valuable than anyone else. I am concerned for my children, but I am also confident that they are mature enough to see this for what it is. However, I also know that there will be many tears before they see it.
I remember when my youngest was not quite 2, and was throwing a bit of tantrum. My friend looked at my daughter with the big gorgeous brown eyes, long lashes, her lips curled slightly quivering as tears rolled down her face and she said, ” Oh my gosh, how can you ever say no to her? No one could ever bring themselves to harm such a beautiful child.”
Sadly, not everyone was of that opinion. It’s their loss for cutting these precious gems from their life, it’s their life that will be lacking for not knowing their inner beauty, because I know after the dust settles that my girls are strong and they will do the right thing. I will never force a relationship on them with anyone that doesn’t value them whether blood relation or not. This is just one of those hard lessons of life.
I hope that you value the people in your life. they may have their faults, they may be annoying even but we should be thankful for them, even for the hard lessons. Be the better person, don’t degrade yourself to their asinine behaviour.
Write on my friends, and live your life with grace!