My sister, whom is my closest sibling to me in terms of speaking to each other frequently, lives in my hometown a few states away and NEVER visits me. I've had three kids in the past eight years and she has come to California once with her husband and two sons to go to Disneyland. It was convenient because I was living in Anaheim at the time.
I've been trying to hint and prod her to come down for years and she always says, "That would be fun" or "I wish we lived closer so we could exercise/laugh/commiserate together." (What she means by closer is that she wished I lived back in our hometown near her.) Last week I told her that I'm planning a big party for my 40th coming up and cornered her asking her point blank if she could come. She said her son's birthday was the same time frame, so she probably couldn't make it. I said, "No it isn't; his birthday is in March, mine is in May." Then she laughed nervously and said, "oh yeah, you're right."
Then I swallowed my pride and asked her pointedly why she has such an issue with traveling to California. The distance of a 2 1/2 hour flight? The cost? What? By the way, she doesn't work and has two sons who are 13 and 8 and they're pretty self sufficient. She's never used any form of childcare and has stated to me before, "I don't want anyone else raising my kids." Whatever; that's one of my least favorite SAHMisms.
She didn't have a valid answers, saying things like she has trouble getting out of her comfort zone, her routine, etc. Yeah, right, it's really frightening to go on a quick weekend trip to celebrate your sister's 40th in an awesome way; it is way more rewarding to spend your weekend at Costco in your small town. I see. I will be having friends coming from farther places in the U.S. with more kids and younger kids to celebrate with me.
I don't want to ask/beg her anymore to come visit me. Don't 'normal' families travel to visit each other periodically despite challenges? I wonder why I haven't pressed her on this sooner? Like I don't have the right to ask for what I want from people (which tends to be an underlying theme in my life.) I don't want to keep thinking she will spontaneously want to be with me (or her nieces or nephew) on her own accord and do something 'wild and reckless' like leave her place of comfort. It's too much like my relationship with my mom, where I cling for any hope of affirmation and reciprocation. For me, I choose differently for my life. I relish challenge, change, travel, work, continuous education and varied friendships. Pushing past anxiety and fear. I'm so glad I moved away from my depressing home.
My family is dysfunctional and disconnected. It hurts my feelings, embarrasses me and leaves me feeling lost a lot. My sister has been my saving grace and I always looked to her almost like a mother figure. During the 20 years I've been away from home, I always made an effort to fly home several times a year to spend time with everyone and try to bridge the gap. They've almost never reciprocated and I've remained relatively close by them in the western United States. Now that I have three kids of my own, it's too expensive to fly there several times a year and to be honest, it's not rewarding enough to spend that kind of money visiting them. I've always thought family was important, but not when they are a complete downer.
I'm at the point in my life that I'm realizing my attachment to her and the rest of my family may be unhealthy and codependent. I should reassess how much time, energy and money I spend caring about those people in my life who don't care enough about me. Which reminds me of a quote I saw recently and absolutely love:
"Why cross oceans for people who wouldn't even jump over a puddle for you?"In fact, why am I even having a big party for my 40th at all when I could spend the money on a fun trip somewhere with my husband and kids? Do I want my friends' approval and attention? "Hey look at me, I'm 40, and I can still party like a rockstar and look good doing it!" ? :)
I do want to have a big party for those reasons a little of course, but to also bring various friends from different times of my life together to celebrate my midlife crisis and 'carpe diem'. Make some great memories for an evening and forget the domestic hell.
Either way, I've booked the venue and the party is happening - a Newport Beach dinner/dancing/booze cruise. I just wish my sister would set aside her own hangups to support me and do something for herself for once. #YOLO! (young person lingo for 'you only live once' and ain't that the truth?!)
So, I'm feeling a little sorry for myself right now, but I'm going to plunge ahead in the coming work week and try to enjoy my busy life (in the last few months of my 30s).