Baa Baa Black Sheep

by Lisa Donovan

Thursday we migrated to my inlaws’ turf in Pensacola.  We had a beautiful family Christmas on Friday and then a huge party on Saturday for my mother-in-laws 60th birthday… They are a very “historic” and involved family in P’cola - we celebrated at the Yacht club which was, suprisingly, not the least bit fluffy or snooty (which were my own misguided stereotypes).  That’s the neat thing with “old” southerners with prestige or community clout - they have no care to act like people with prestige or community clout.. They are people who have worked hard to get what they have and are loving every minute of life and loving every minute of the people around them.  Such a massive difference from the people in Nashville with money or prestige, but damn my new year’s resolution of not saying anything negative unless absolutely necessary (which, never you fear,  I will take great liberty with)…. I had a blast and fell more in love with my husband’s family than I was before.


But.  But.  But.  There is the instance of the sisters-in-law (John’s sister and brother’s wife).  I’ll just say, we’ve come a long way.  What started out as a friendly and fond courtship between the women in the family, turned ugly for a few years and we are just now pulling out.  I hope, anyway.  I’ve wracked my brain and I honestly can’t figure out where the hate came from.  But trust me, it was bordering on hate..  John swears that it has nothing to do with me (excepts it’s aim) but that, unfortunately, they have both had bad experiences in the family and haven’t gotten over them.  I can’t say.  All I can say is that it would be nice to not be the outsider, as far as the women in the family go.  The fact is, they are all older either in years or in lifestyle and, even though we are in different places in our lives and I am completely comfortable with that, it seems, they are not. 

They have been a collective of married people raising kids for the last ten years - taking vacations together, living in the same town, sharing all levels of life experiences - and it seems, they are not ready to let anyone else into that fold - especially if that person if younger and of an entirely different ilk than them.  So, I find myself pulling back a lot from them and giving all my energy to John’s parents whom I am blessed to be wholly embraced by - which, I’m afraid, probably only makes matters worse.  I will just take a deep breath, try to reflect on mistakes I may have made and try very hard to be myself around them, even though they make it hard.. I never get nervous around people damn it, and 9 times out of 10, if someone doesn’t like me I wouldn’t think twice about it (honestly, it just doesn’t happen.. I know that sounds so egocentric, but I really do get along with people so well…).  But this is my husband’s family and it does matter.  A lot.  Because I respect them. And, I’ll admit, I never once thought that it would be like this.  I thought that I would finally have women to be a family with - to be tight with and strong for and vulnerable in front of..   But I can’t force myself into a picture that they want to keep all to themselves…  All I can do is be mindful of what I say without indulging in the great desire to keep entirely to myself and leave it alone all together.  Happily though, and on a positive note, the rest of the family and I adore each other.  The aunts and uncles and cousins always have and always will have huge open arms for me..  So, why should the fact that these two women aren’t interested bother me so much?  Can’t tell you.  All I can tell you is that I guess, maybe, it seemed like (in my weird, overly literary mind) getting married was like joining a tribe - and in that tribe you have a group that you belong.  And, it seems, my group doesn’t want me.  And, I can get all tough and say “well, who wants to be in their stupid ‘Creative Memory’ selling, church fundraiser crap life anyway?” - but that’s not the truth in it.  The truth is that, even though we don’t have a lot in common as far as lifestyle goes, we are really working toward the same goal.  And, when did lifestyles matter so much in a family?  I thought the whole point was to be a part of something much greater than miniscule day to day matters - I thought the idea was to be in a family with people who could bring you up and make each other wiser for the wear… Maybe I am just a kid with far fetched ideas about how the world is supposed to be and how it can be better.. Maybe their right… and maybe that’s why they can’t let me in… But I just don’t want to believe it. 

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This entry was posted on Sunday, January 7th, 2007 at 11:23 pm and is filed under Relationships. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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