There's a lot I want to write about, but I'm not sure where to start. Maybe I'll start with post-holiday thoughts. Both my parents called me on or after Christmas. My mom said they were all having a good time at my dad's house. My parents are divorced, but every year go to my dad's house. Surprisingly, this year, both my closest in age step-siblings were also there. S. is three or so years younger than me I think and currently lives with my dad and his wife. S. is recently engaged and said how this year has been the best year of his life. His fiance who is six years his younger was also there. My mom and her husband both say how cute she is and how she and S. make a good match. I'm happy for both of them but still hold my reservations.
M. is five years younger than me. She and I have a little more in common than S., but we are not incredibly close. I think I had wished we were since we are both Asian and adopted, but it just didn't happen that way. We occasionally leave messages for each other on facebook, but that's about it. I hear what's going on in her life from my mom and her husband. My dad said how pretty M. has become and had changed. Then he asked when the last time it was I saw her. I replied with a couple of years, but honestly I am not sure.
Somehow that got me feeling guilty. It was compounded by my physical therapist asking me about my holidays. She knew my mom was here right after Thanksgiving, and I had mentioned to her my dad was coming to visit after Christmas. I also said how they were all at my dad's house but me. She asked why. All I could think of to say was that it was complicated and that I normally was not there. She asked how long or something to that effect. I think it's been four or so years, I really don't remember.
My mom and my dad's wife understand why I am not keen on being there for the holidays. The last ones I spent with my family were filled with stress and tension. If I remember correctly, that was the year that one of my dogs and one of my dad's dogs did not get along at all. I was annoyed by the fact that no one listened to me about how the two dogs should meet, and it ended unfavorably. The whole holiday was spent making sure the dogs were apart and my dog was left in a crate the majority of the time because he was quiet and the other one was not. It's old news I know, but I still get upset about it, especially since they miraculously think the dogs will be okay again.
Anyway, in the same conversation above I had with my dad, he also said how great it was to see my mom and her husband. And how my mom's husband has gained weight, looks rounder, and how they both kept eating fudge. I told him how it was the holidays, and they normally do not eat fudge. He just replied back with that they got fudge every time they passed it. These are not out of the ordinary comments by my father, but who wants to be around anyone who is surveying your every meal, snack, bite to eat?
My dad also said that he would really like me there next year, etc. and how I need to make more of an effort. I reply with yeah, I'll see. In reality though, and if I think hard about it, subconsciously I really do not want to be there. Besides being out of my own routine. the food, my father's comments, it's the whole seeing of everyone. There's a huge awkwardness and feeling of disappointment, when the topic gets to me and my life. Every time it is addressed, my dad makes some derogatory comment and how I need to be doing this, this, and this. If there was ever a "black sheep" in the family, I'm beginning to feel like I'm it. I already get hounded by it enough on the phone, so imagine being in person.
As far as the effort thing goes, I hate admitting that it's probably true I could make a better effort for the holidays for the sake of "family." I think for a long time I kept thinking how I was somehow missing out on something here at work. I actually hate coming into work not knowing what is going on, and that would happen when I was gone. In regards to my father's comment about not seeing M. in awhile, well, I guess I look at it as both sides of the coin. She doesn't make an effort to see me either. I tend to get a little defensive on this issue, because I feel like it's always up to me to make that effort when no one else has to.
I'm not sure how to end this post other than I'm left feeling guilty which I know is a useless emotion.