Friday, May 29, 2009

Awkward extended family relationships.

Okay, I know I can't be the only person who has an awkward, strained relationship with my extended family. I've been thinking about it a lot lately as my grandma's 75th birthday is coming up and my dad is hosting a family reunion/birthday party for her. Part of the gig is that each of us (and by each I really mean each of us...Glenn, Beanie & I) are to make three cards for my grandma. That's nine freaking cards! They are supposed to be fond memories or birthday wishes. I think its calculated to work out so she'll have 75 cards to open. Yowza!

Anyway, it is kind of funny trying to think of things for these cards. And really all nine are going to have to come from me. I mean, Glenn doesn't really know her at all. I'll probably have Beanie scribble some artwork on a few and call that good, but that still leaves six for me. Sigh.

My dad and mom got divorced when I was 14. An already almost non-existent relationship with my grandparents (my dad's parents) became even more so. So, to say the least, there aren't exactly lots of fond memories there. I have some, sure, but they are all from when I was very young so this task of making nine cards seems almost insurmountable. Okay, not really, but you get the idea.

Here are a few that didn't make the cut.

Thanks for pretending I didn't exist after my parents got divorced.

Thanks for asking my husband if he "thought he was a samurai or something" at our wedding.

Thanks for kicking my cat across the room when he nuzzled up against your leg.

Thanks for telling me that there was "no history of mental illness in the family" when I was struggling when I was younger & making me feel like I was all on my own (knowing full well that there was a very serious history of depression -- and suicide -- in my family).

Thanks for mailing all my mail to my dad's house, even though I lived with my mom.

Alright, I'm sure you get the picture. I think it'll be best to stick with memories of picking peas at her farm, thinking cow pies were the funniest kind of pie ever, and Skippy the dog. What do you think?

And coming soon I have to find a father's day card for my dad which is always a difficult task too, although I do have to say it has become easier the last few years as I have gotten older and learned to live and let live.


  1. Here's some more! Thanks for trying to make me eat Blackie. Thanks for always sending me $50 Savings Bonds for my birthdays to use for college...that still haven't matured. Thanks for instilling a strong sense of denial in your son so he never realizes when something is really wrong. But I guess I'm an even worse granddaughter cuz I thought she was turning 70...

  2. Oh, I hear you... My parents didn't divorce until I was 18, but my relationship with my father became VERY strained, and I always struggled to find suitable Father's Day cards, of the variety that basically said "have a nice day." Things are better on my Mom's side of the family, but I dread when someone tries to be clever and come up with one of these "write a story about your favorite memory" ideas - nothing like being put on the spot and forced to be creative, touching, and funny all at once, right?

  3. Been there. Although my parents are not divorced, it's more of JC's family. In my part no more pretending, we just don't ever go to family gatherings where they are in attendance.

  4. Ditto on the f'ed up family...
    It is really hard to think fondly on my childhood and even harder to try and not sound like an ungrateful daughter. I love my family but I moved to Colorado to escape the drama.
    Holidays are the worst - and picking out cards for those holiday - don't even get me started. Ugh.
    All I know is that in my Colorado family - made up entirely of friends, I try and make memories that are worth something - I try and do special things for my friends and my friend's children. We create traditions and get together as often as possible. I guess that is what I try and focus on...
    And every now and then my (real)family surprises me by doing something amazing and sweet. But i never hold my breathe.


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