I am so glad last week is over and done with. My brother turned 21 last week and my mom thought it would be a good idea to throw him a big birthday bash with lots of alcohol. To make matters worse she invited a few relatives that she does not get along with. I knew right from the start that the party was going to turn sour real quick, so I tried to weasel my way out of going but my mom was prepared for this. All week long she played a massive guilt trip on me until I reluctantly agreed to show up.
The day of the party arrives and I show up about an hour late. I am surprised to see most of my family is already there and drunk. My mother’s sister (my aunt) who she does not get along with very well was the first one to greet me.
“Missy your late to your own brother’s party” she says with a condescending tone. Most of my family calls me Missy its short for Miss-know-it-all.
Her daughters (my cousins) chime in “I can’t believe school is more important than your own brother’s 21st birthday party” It is more important but I don’t want to give them the satisfaction of arguing so I politely excuse myself and walk away. I can hear them whispering about me behind my back but I don’t want to make the mistake of confronting them again.
Last year at another family party my cousin said something real catty about me loud enough for me and a few of my relatives to overhear. I was in a pissy mood so I decided to confront her about the remark she made in front of everyone who over heard it but to my surprise she denied ever saying anything bad about me and my relatives who overheard her backed her up completely. I know what I heard and I now know that it is useless to directly confront people who are passive-aggressive, it gets you nowhere.
My mother was not too thrilled that I showed up late but she was glad that I did come to the party. I asked her where my brother was so I could say Happy Birthday to him in person but she could not find him. A few minutes later I found him in the garage drinking with a few of his friends I could tell he was not enjoying this family get-together at all. Since we are all close in age I get along with my brother and his friends very well.
About thirty minutes later my mom barges in and pesters all of us for not being ‘social’. She then announces that everyone wants to sing happy birthday and cut the cake. I brace myself for another round badgering from my aunt and cousins. They are all pretty drunk now and tensions are high.
Things go pretty smoothly until we start singing happy birthday. Right in the middle of the song my aunt starts bawling for no apparent reason. Everyone stops singing and looks at her dumbfounded. She finally manages to blurt out one single word “Joey”
Joey was her youngest child, he was her only son and the pride and joy of her life. He died two years ago in Iraq. It was a real shock to everyone when he died, everyone misses him and the pain is still raw but I can’t help to think she wants some sort of sympathy fix. After all my aunt is a dramatic person and she loves to be the center of attention.
“Why can’t God kill me now, I have nothing left to live for” she says.
I feel kind of embarrassed and sad for my cousins who are standing right next to her but they don’t seem bothered by this. Everyone goes and tries to comfort my aunt the best they can but she only calms down when someone hands her another drink. I make a note to myself to leave pretty soon before this party gets any uglier.
We cut the cake and the tensions seem to subside. “Can you believe the nut jobs we have in our family.” My sister whispers in my ear. I am so surprised she said this that I just start laughing uncontrollably. I know what she said was not nice but I just can’t help myself. I fail to realize at this point everyone is looking at me.
“What is so funny?” my mother asks.
“Nothing.” My sister and I say in unison.
Its funny how when my other relatives talk bad about us no one says anything but if my sister or I say one little crack about our family everyone jumps down our throats.
Ten minutes later I decide to leave and I say goodbye to my brother and sister. When I try to say goodbye to my mother she berates me with a thousand questions.
“Why are you leaving so soon?”
“Where are you going?”
“What is more important than your brother’s birthday?”
As usual I am the last to arrive and the first to leave. Dealing with my family is emotionally draining and sometimes I just prefer to distance myself from them. For the most part they are good people but their dysfunctional lives creates a toxic environment.