Source: I can’t make this up
I have been fretting about writing this post for a few days. The details are haunting me ..but actually putting the words out there almost feels like a betrayal of something that I can not put words to (oddly enough). The most appropriate way of explaining this is this post comes from the files of stuff I can’t make up..even if I tried the family edition. So if you are playing the home game..my family is “special” ..and knowing that explains a lot about me.
In this age of social media ..the etiquette rules of Emily Post are out the window..news is shared in the blink of an eye and put out for the world to see even if the people affected most are not ready for that news to be shared. It is rather difficult finding out a loved one is hurt or has passed away via a Facebook post or a tweet..I found out there was a death in the family on my mother’s side. Well let me clarify..my first cousin’s husband passed away rather suddenly and other than reading on facebook I would have been none the wiser.
I was raised a good Catholic girl in an inner city neighborhood in Boston ..we go to wakes, we go to funerals..we show respect not only to those in our family and close friend circle who have passed away but we also go to support our family no matter how we may feel about them. Family is family is how I was raised and how I hope I raised my children as well. Against my better judgement I looked up the obituary online ..bought a new pair of black pants and bribed my daughter with dinner out at Tasty Burger if she went with me ..reluctantly she agreed (great way to spend night #1 of her Easter Break…not)
When we finally got to our destination after sitting in traffic for more than an hour..we both decided we would try to get in and get out as quickly as possible..it was already 7PM and the wake was 4-8 so long term visiting was not an option. Saw a relative I really like right outside..said hello and reintroduced my daughter (have I mentioned that other than Facebook I do not interact much with these people? It is a LONG story) walked inside..got in line to pay respects..saw a few more relatives and said hello and again reintroduced my daughter..and there SHE was.
That SHE is my Aunt M (all of my aunt’s names except for 1 and my mother’s name begin/began with M), she is 87, the oldest sister and the only surviving sibling of the 6 in her family. My aunt was sitting there holding court and my daughter and I deviating from the line to say hello to her. I know better than to get into too deep of a conversation with anyone related to my mother..my motto with them is keep it superficial, keep the kid close to me and usually I can deflect the comments …well I was wrong this time..oh how I miscalculated this one.
Yes I started with small talk like telling M how good she looks ..and yes for 87 the bitch looks amazing, barely a wrinkle on her face. I have decided that her skin is so good because she feasts on the souls of the young children in our family that she sucks out and keeps in a jar in her bathroom..I ‘m not joking about this. She goes one to tell me she knows I did the Ancestry DNA test and I say yes and sadly thinking this is a safe topic say how shocked I am by what I managed to discover about the maternal side of my family (her side too) she goes on about how the DNA is wrong and that her mother/my grandmother was pretty close to full blooded Native American and born in Arizona and then brought to Eastern Canada..ah no. I said that is interesting because I had the MtDNA test done that traces your maternal ancestors back to EVE..we are Acadians with a Strong Irish background and a trace amount of Native Blood that is M’qMaq native to eastern Canada..apparently DNA lies or so M says. I also tell her how I confirmed my paternity and she was having none of that ..told me I have 3 siblings..I have 1, a half sister via my father. So seeing this conversation is going to turn ugly rather fast I switch the subject and that’s when M struck with lightning speed…
For those of you who are not familiar..I have been sick for the past 3+ years with the effects of Lupus ..mine has been pericarditis, pericardial effusions, pleurisy and pleural effusions. Have been on and off prednisone the past 6 months..but I am on the mend (again not a pity me post) M looks at me and says what happened to you? I said excuse me? She said I saw you 2 years ago at M’s funeral (my other aunt M) and you had lost so much weight and looked good..looks like you gained most of it back and got fat again. WHAT THE ACTUAL? I look at her and said 2 years ago I was very very sick..she says maybe you should get sick again it was great for your waist line. My daughter is sitting next to M trying to pick her jaw up off the floor..but wait it gets better…maybe better is not the right choice of words here…the story takes another sick turn..
Aunt M looks at my daughter and says ..my word M (yes I had a child whose name begins with M as well) you look just like my sister Madeline (my mother) I hated my sister Madeline. Aunt M goes on to say ..Madeline was one ugly child ..did not get much better looking as she got older..looks at my daughter and says well at least you are a little better looking than your grandmother. She says your mother posts pictures of you on Facebook from your Irish step dancing ..the make up and the dresses look good on you I have your pictures all over my wall..you should wear make up more often…if you could see the look on my child’s face at that moment your heart would break.
If that is not tipping the scales of insanity ..my aunt M then goes on to say as I walked away briefly to give my condolences to my cousin who was the widow..you know your mother never liked her mother ..your mother was ashamed of Madeline because Madeline was poor. Your mother was always about money, that is why she always wanted to be with her aunt H (my grandmother got off the M track to have a child whose name began with H..but got back to her regularly scheduled Ms when my mother was born) Your Aunt H had money and spoiled your mother. Your mother thought she was better than all of us ..that is why she went to that high school in Brighton..that is why she does not associate with us ..we don;t have any money. She continued insulting the way I look..where I live..all of my choices that she knows of in my life to my poor child (she is not a child but still my baby)My daughter is sitting there trying to get away and she finally texted me “SAVE ME” which prompted me to walk over and say are you ready. I managed to be respectful enough to say my goodbyes, to give my condolences and get out the door with no fake promises of we will get together soon ..just a take care.
We get to the parking lot ..and as we drive away my poor daughter says I NEVER want to see those people again. I said what happened ..she conveys what aunt M has said to her and looks at me and says basically mom she told me I am a less ugly version of my grandmother especially when I wear make up and and am dancing at a competition ..and you are a fat, ugly gold digger ..that lady is a (and she went there and used the dirty C word that I refuse to say and could not reprimand her for using because if the title fits…..) It was a good thing we were already on our way to the bridge to get to Tasty burger..it was a good thing by the time I turned around it would have been too late to say anything…it is a good thing I was raised by my aunt H to be a respectful Catholic girl from Dot..most 87year olds are cute…many have totally mellowed out …my aunt M is the witch from Hansel and Gretel what looks good in the outside harbors a nasty secret on the inside. Note to self..the next time there is a family wake I need to be out of town …I wish I could say i punked you all with this but sadly I did not.. unfortunately it is all true and I sucked my poor kiddo down the rabbit hole with me…the only thing is she totally gets why I keep my distance from those people
All over my Facebook I am seeing posts for National Sibling Day. Ah National Sibling Day, what can say about it? Well I can say a lot and the one thing I say is damn it I am unbelievably jealous of all of you.I look at your posts and wonder what it would be like on one hand..and know what it is like on the other hand. I was raised with my cousin John like we were siblings ..and he well he was a big brother in so many ways, right down to being a massive pain in the backside. However he was not my brother and we have not had much contact in the years since both of our mothers passed. I have my cousin Karen who is John’s big sister and with whom I was raised as well but she was a bit older than both of us and let’s be real here..John and I were not the easiest pair of shoes to break in and Karen had better things to do than deal with the likes of us. Still she was good to us and took us to movies and to play mini golf and bossed around like only Karen can. Thankfully we are reconnected..family is everything and I realize I loved her dearly when I was little..and I love her dearly now.
As for this sibling day business…This is the day that usually I like to be snarky and post something from National Only Child Day about how we only children are bright and so perfect our parents decided why tempt fate when you’ve got a good thing going. Well …while it may be true that those of us raised as only children are actually amazing..for me there is a lot of reading between the lines..and my mother really did not need to have any more children.
Truth is….I am not exactly an only child even though I was raised as such. I am my mother’s only child, that is true . My father kind of sorta was married to someone other than my mother when I came to be so I also have a half sibling (a side note here..I don’t believe in half or whole..family is family is family in my eyes) a sister to be exact, she is 8 years older than I am and she is my father’s daughter. My sister’s name is Kate and she too was raised as an only child. I used to wonder if Kate knew that I exist and one day I took a chance and began looking for her and my father..the answer is if she did not know before..she knew at last. Neither Kate nor my father ever reached out to me and I spent the next 20+ years doing all the things I did like raising my family and in the process becoming a rabid Irish Dance Mom (another story for another year) But then things happened..my kids grew up and did not need me quite so much and worse I got sick (this is not a pity post) and suddenly everything in my life that was go go go became slow slow slow. So I wanted to find out what Ancestry could do for me…
Well through Ancestry I discovered ..I am 68% Irish and British with Iberian and Scandinavian as well…basically I am a Black Irish Viking ..kind of badass if you ask me but badass is not the first word one thinks of when they think of me (If I am being honest here) I also found my father’s college yearbook and loads of information about his family like my grandparents names and my great grandparents names and where it is they come from..really amazing stuff for someone stuck at home on bedrest and in the middle of a pity party to discover. So I decided to take this a step further..I found a cousin via ancestry and then I found said cousin on Facebook and I reached out ..he responded but not as well as I hoped. This cousin was rather shocked to discover I am a relative and said he would talk to my sister and get back to me..yeah that did not happen.
I discovered in the meantime that my newfound cousin’s sister (also my cousin) is friends with my neighbor down the street and that they used to work together when my cousin was one of the managers at the supermarket I shop at in my town (she no longer is at my local store) I also discovered she is at least Facebook friends with one of the Walpole dance moms whose daughter attends the same middle/high school as my daughter..small world isn’t it..gets a little smaller too. My sister has a child who attended an agricultural high school that is regional ..the same school the neighbor’s child attends now. My sister and I walk the perimeters of the same circles even if by association.
Thanks to Ancestry DNA I was able to prove my paternity..a task made completely possible when Karen’s son also tested along with another first cousin. I was able to see I am matched rather strongly with my grandfather and great grandmother’s family the Bombards of upstate NY as well as discovered I have Duffy family members and King and Conneely from the Connemara Region of Galway ..I have a strong DNA match with people who are related to my father’s paternal side of his family..I have a whole new world opened up..but I still do not have my father or my sister. My father passed away in 2010 and I am going to guess from Alzheimer’s or something like it based on the obituary I found..my sister it seems (according to my cousin via facebook) is “Not interested in having anything to do” with me. Door shut..message received stay in your lane girl.