So, today I find myself on the horns of a dilemma of my own making once again. The back story on this one is necessary, so bear with me, if you will.
After the divorce of my parents when I was around 6, my father’s family, through no
choice of their own, basically were removed from my life, and stayed that way until my early adulthood, when I happened to see one of my aunts giving an interview on the Sally Jesse Raphael show, which included a news clip of a reporter interviewing my father on a rather bizarre, yet somewhat humorous incident that she had been involved in. (Oh, yes. One day there will be a post on this one…lol. But not today.. :-) ). Audra had been visiting, so she can attest to my brain exploding in my livingroom…But, I digress.
The relationships between family members on my mother’s side of the family can be complicated and tricky, and I, for one, have never been all that relaxed with any of them. History in that family had taught me to be ever so careful with any thing that I said or did, because they could — and were — often misunderstood or misinterpreted by fellow family members, and never erred on the positive side for me.
And even though I’d discovered my father’s family again, my life was hectic with my three toddlers and my quest for self-identity, and they faded out again, through really no fault of their own. My father would pop back into my life at varying points, but life would take over again, and before you knew it, a lot of time would pass and I’d have lost touch with him again…
Recently, because I hadn’t heard from my dad in quite a while, I tracked him down using Ancestry.com. He likes to stay off the grid, so that was no easy feat, but being his own mini-me, I was able to track him down…And enter my Aunt C.
I guess because I didn’t have to deal with this side of the family, it was easy for me to put them all on a pedestal. Fairy tales are easy to believe until you’ve lived a month with Snow White, and you realize that she can be moody and cranky, as well as lovely and kind. And I’m sure the feeling went the other way too, as I have some quirks that annoy people around me, too.
Here’s the one that started my present pickle. I don’t usually check my voicemail on my cell phone. I, at this very moment, have 32 unheard voice messages, and I have absolutely no intention of listening to them, ever. This has annoyed everyone in my life, at some point or another, but I don’t want to change. I just figure if it is really important, you’ll call back. Or, if I’m expecting a phone call that I have missed, I’ll call you back. Don’t care about messages.
Well, of course, Aunt C didn’t know this about me. About two months ago, while riding on the motorcycle, I missed a couple of phone calls from her. I was in the middle of no where, so I decided to call her back later, when I got home. A LOT of hours later, when I did finally make it home and settled, I broke my cardinal rule, and actually listened to her messages. At first, they were kind. Then, they got kind of stern; lastly, they were offended and somewhat rude, like she figured I was ignoring her specifically because I didn’t love her anymore. That freaked me out.
Because of the tense, complicated relationships on Mom‘s side of the family, I sincerely didn’t want to be in even minor family feuds on my Dad‘s side. And I had inadvertently launched one. My reaction — hide. I’m not usually a coward, so I am having a hard time understanding why I can’t pick up the phone! I see that it is her calling me, and I just can’t think of some good excuse for ignoring her calls all this time. Nor do I want to tell her the truth, either. I’m kind of stuck.
I did tell my Dad when this was first starting, and he said not to take her personally, that she does this with everyone in the family. He simply didn’t care one way or another whether I ever call her again, but I do. This is not a characteristic in myself that I’m liking much.
For some reason, I still can’t shake that dread that I may have to face the fact that if I’m going to truly embrace, and be embraced, by my father’s side of the family, I’m going to have to deal with this kind of crap. Families just have these moments. Ugh.
I’m not there yet at the moment, and now that I’ve been hitting “ignore” on my phone for months now, I’m making my mess into a hurricane-sized problem. I guess today, I’m going to have to bite the bullet and call her and take the butt-chewing I know I deserve for being a little weenie these last few months…Bummer. Wish me luck!