Commencement Revelations

We all make sacrifices for the ones we love. I have 8 nephews and 2 nieces. Since I do not have children (beyond my dogs), I would do almost anything for my nephews and nieces. This weekend, one of my nephews (who is also one of my Godsons) graduated from high school. Since he seemed to want me to come early for a Friday morning event at this school (Class Day), I left at 2:30 a.m. on Friday morning to make the almost 7-hour drive to arrive in time. I was not in town two hours before my sister (his mother) told me that I was too loud and I needed to be quiet. Were my feelings hurt? YES! Did I say anything? No, I shut up. No conflict for my nephew’s special weekend because he hates conflict.

I was EXHAUSTED, but I was a good sport and went along to lunch. After lunch, I went to nap for a while at the hotel (thank God for the hotel!!!) before dinner. My sister called to remind me to go to dinner with them, and, of course, we dined at a restaurant where they had virtually no gluten-free options. Since I am gluten-free, having no gluten-free options is a problem. She rolled her eyes. I ordered a burger without the bun and went back to the hotel hungry.

This morning, I was the first to arrive at the graduation location. I arrived at the appointed time, but no one was there as I was told they would be. I reserved the seats for the family, but after the ceremony, I turned around for 5 minutes (since my sister ignored me while she socialized with all of her friends), and when I turned around, everyone was gone. I was the ONLY member of either side of our family who made the trip to my nephew’s graduation, and no one seemed to give a damn that I was there. Now, candidly, I do not blame my nephews. They are gracious boys, and they have learned what manners they have from my sister and her husband. I feel like my sister is far more concerned with her status among the people she perceives to be the “important people” in her community than her family, especially. I probably would have told her to kiss my ass a long time ago, but I was a relationship with her sons. They are great young men who, I believe, need me in their lives, and I do not want to risk losing them alienating their mother. That said, however, keeping her in my life makes me feel like shit. Being around my sister makes me feel small.

Tonight, she invited me to attend a graduation part with my nephew, 10 of his friends and their families. I drank half a bottle of whiskey just to get through what little of it I was able to endure. I stayed about 1 hour, but after being ignored by virtually everyone there, including my own damn sister, I left. I went to a local restaurant and had dinner. I promise you, if I hosted a party and noticed ANYONE at the party sitting alone and not engaged, I would do anything in my power to make sure that person was having some fun. I mean, good grief, it’s not as if I am a wallflower! But there was not a person there who gave a damn that I was sitting alone for almost an hour. What really blows my mind, however, is that my own sister is more concerned with showing off that making sure I am somehow included. I cannot believe what I bitch she is. I can only hope her sweet boys inherit more of their nature from their father than from her.

Post-trip Reflections: After a long drive home alone in my car, I had lots of time to think about all that happened this weekend. Sadly, I sense that my sister (who is only one year younger than I am) has  nursed a general dislike/resentment of me for the greater portion of the time we have both been on this earth. Her facial expressions and body language whenever I am in her presence make her look as if she is either (1) waiting on me to say something that will provoke her to anger or (2) merely itching for a reason to put me in my place. As for me, I am no saint, but I sincerely just wish we could get along. I would give just about anything for an hour during which I could feel like my own sister sincerely liked me. It has been evident for all of my life that she would not even give me the time of day if we were not related.

The party for my nephew was so revealing. There were on 42 students in my nephew’s class, but the parents of the 10 most popular kids decided to get together and have a swanky party and a large manor house for the kids, some of their friends and the parents who appear to be living vicariously through their popular kids. Each kid was given a table with designer graduation cakes and stacks of presents and graduation cards. My sister insisted that I not give my nephew his present early so that my gift for him would be added to his table. Even my nephew commented sarcastically, “Oh, because it’s a competition.” Apparently, it was.

During the party, all the parents seemed dressed to see and be seen. I tried speaking to some people, but no one was remotely interested in me. I sat all alone in a chair in the front yard for almost an hour while people walked around me and ignored me. If I were at a party and noticed someone sitting alone, I would have done anything to make sure the lonely person felt included. No there cared. After I left, I think it took my sister another 45 minutes to realize I was gone. She seemed angry that I left. If I had invited someone to a party like that (even her!), and ignored her for almost two hours to the point where she left, I would have felt awful, not angry. Rationally, I realize this should indicate some flaw on her part, but emotionally, I cannot help but wonder why I am so unlovable that even my own sister is unable to like me or love me. If I did not love her sons so much, I would have quit trying a long time ago.

My spirit is just broken.

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