My family and I do not have a good relationship when it comes to food. I’ve spent a fair amount of time talking about it and I’m not too interested in belaboring the point right now. But, suffice it to say, I’m having dinner with them tonight in a one-week-postponed Easter dinner so I’ve got some feelings coming up.

My sister and I have had a very on-again-off-again relationship over the years. This shouldn’t be too surprising since my sister has borderline personality disorder (although, don’t tell her that) and she sees me as alternately her savoir or her persecutor. About two years ago we had a fight that, at the time I knew was bad and would alter things, but turned out (in retrospect) to be a breaking point. Since then, we’ve remained polite and cordial with each other but she makes it clear that she doesn’t want to have anything to do with me.

Part of me doesn’t object, she’s drained me over the course of our lives more than I ever should have let her. But, it’s dismayed me of late that she’s taken to ignoring my children as well. This is something I don’t do with/to her children and we were always very sensitive to since my father’s family used all the grandchildren as pawns in some narcissistic game of one-up-manship.

So, I don’t know what I was expecting to happen in the long run, but I have a hard time letting go of hope.

But, last week she called me to tell me that she and her husband and kids (who have been living 25 minutes away from us for the past 10 years) are moving 3,000 miles away because, “There’s nothing to keep us here”.

Needless to say, my parents aren’t happy, and I was pretty upset for a few days. Not that she’s moving, I recognize they are free to do what they want and live where they want, but because at no point in the 45 minute conversation with me where she talked about all the wonderful reasons to be moving did she once acknowledge me, or my kids (her only niece and nephew mind you), or the fact that she’s essentially severing the opportunity for our kids to be close as they grow up.

They’ve got money and so this move will be a breeze for them. They probably spend $10,000 a year on air plane tickets as it is and go skiing in Utah for spring vacation. I’ve never been jealous of their money. They essentially inherited it and while I don’t begrudge them their good fortune, I also don’t look at it as they did anything to earn it. My husband and I are not poor by any stretch, we have the things we need and more, but we don’t have $2,500 lying around to fly to visit them. (If we did have that money lying around, we’d probably have to get our gutters cleaned first, know what I mean?)

So, just a word from her, during those 45 minutes of listening to her talk, about how she knows my kids and I are here and that she’ll miss us but they just feel like this is the right move for their family would have felt better than “there’s nothing to keep us here”.

But what could I do except say, “I’m happy for you and I hope it turns out just as you are hoping”? Because, what else can I really say?

My mother wants to say things that are scathing and will make them feel bad for hurting us. She’s hurt. She feels betrayed. I understand. But, I think my dad and I have successfully talked her down from that ledge and she’ll keep her thoughts to herself.

All this is to say why I’m not really looking forward to dinner together tonight.

I took matters into my own hands and planned the menu myself this time, dictating to them what they each were to provide. My sister insisted on baking cupcakes for the kids, which is fine, but I have the feeling that I’m not going to be able to sit there and not feel deprived and angry about not eating a cupcake because I’m going to be feeling emotionally deprived and angry already.

So, I made a batch of chocolate oat bran muffins and turned them into cupcakes with the low-fat cream cheese, fat-free yogurt, Splenda “frosting” I make and I’m bringing them with me. My husband and I will eat those and at least I’ll feel cared for by myself and by my husband (who could eat the “real” cupcakes if he wanted but said he’d eat mine which I know was a gesture of solidarity).

Part of me hopes that when she’s gone I’ll feel relieved, like there’s a weight of responsibility lifted from my shoulders. While I suspect that will be a part of it, it won’t be all and I’ll probably spend a few years wondering what I could have done differently.

The best I can do is stay clear today so that I don’t add anything else to the list of “what if”.

Advertisements