Sunday, February 26, 2017

¿Esta la familia bastante bien?

"Sí, Señor. Bastante bien." That's about all I remember from high school Spanish.

But no, I'm pissed at my family right now.

"Se's no bien a todos."

Some of it ties back to my mother's death ... more than four years ago. I'm reminded of something Carrie Fisher once wrote, "Nothing is ever over. It's just over there."

When my mother died, she left her three daughters a lot debt.

•  My older sister made it clear she would pay 1/3 of the costs to bury our mother and close out her estate. Not one penny more. AND she wanted to see receipts for everything.

•  My kid sister told me that she would do everything regarding the house -- empty it out, set up the estate sale -- because she had no money.

•  That left me paying 2/3 of the estate costs.

There is more I could say about this situation, but I'll just get myself wound up. These bare bones suitably reflect how unfair it was.

Now my kid sister is taking her entire family on a cruise to Nassau this spring and just yesterday had Lasik surgery.

I wish I could be happier for her than I am. Which is not at all.

Facebook doesn't help. I see my two sisters chattering about how delightful this all is and it makes me want to scream.

Then there's my aunt and my cousin. They each went through landmark changes in 2016. My aunt turned 70. My cousin saw both his kids move out and decided to pursue his dream. He is no longer a music teacher. He is now a full-time, working musician.

They should be happy for each other. Instead, they are not even speaking.

Last June, my aunt and her husband met my cousin and his wife/kids for a long weekend in the Smoky Mountains. It seemed like a good idea. Especially because each household had their own cabin, giving them a chance for time apart. (Maybe I'm projecting here, but I always need "alone time" when I visit people.)

My cousin and my aunt spent one afternoon talking about Donald Trump. Demographics predict the outcome: My aunt lives outside of Tampa, my cousin lives outside of Chicago.

My cousin and his kids came away from the exchange thinking she is homophobic and racist. It really rocked them. For the rest of the trip, the kids -- aged 22 and 20 -- actively avoided their grandmother. They were so saddened and shocked by her political views. She had been the sweet, kind lady who always remembered birthdays and indulged them when they saw her once a year. Now suddenly they discover she's into denying people their basic human rights.

She misinterpreted their reaction as "spoiled brattiness."

The divide has gotten wider. My cousin no longer has a 9-to-5 job, which leaves his days open. And he has spent them protesting Donald Trump at every opportunity. A clip of him appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show, which made him very proud.

His mother is horrified. In an email, she said she was worried about his "puerile behavior."

They are not speaking. At Christmas, he sent them a giftcard. He did not call on Christmas morning, as he always has.

I do not believe my aunt is a homophobic racist. As a teenager, she hung this portrait of JFK beside her bedroom door and kept it there till she married and moved away. That girl simply could not grow up into a homophobic racist.

I do believe that she now takes her worldview from Fox News (her choice) and Rush Limbaugh (which her husband always has on in the car).

I do not believe my cousin's behavior is "puerile." He is expressing his outrage, peacefully and legally. If she didn't object to her neighbors being part of the Tea Party Movement, she shouldn't mind her own son similarly exercising his First Amendment right.

It makes me sad that they are not happier with one another. After all, she's a healthy, active 70-year-old. Yea! He's living his dream with a wife who loves him at his side. Yea!

And yet they are not speaking. It makes me sad.

I'm working to stay as far away from this as I can. As of now, I hear from both of them and I'd like to keep it that way!


  1. Damn! That's complicated all the way around. I wonder if your sisters think you're wealthy because you're single. I think mine feel that way. (well, one of them does)

  2. Families are always complicated. I wish they weren't. That is why I love my friends so much. They are always much easier to handle.


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