When i got the e-mail from my sister T’s partner, TK, i was amused.
So the reason I am writing you is to see how your calendar looks for the weekend of August 20 – 22. I’m thinking about having a surprise party for T’s 50th. Would you consider coming down to surprise her? Please be honest with me…
Also, I think you would be the only family member I would invite as I think any others would be a problem. Do you agree? Would that create tension in the family? I just don’t know so any direction you can give me would be great. You know how much T resents them.
TK has been with my sister T for several years, and i have learned that she loves my sister a lot. She has been tremendously resourceful in helping T manage bipolar disorder – which can be devastating. She looks out for T’s best interests, and has on a few occasions contacted me* to intervene when the Trailer Park bullshit caused stress.
We sorted some ideas, and i figured it would be easy for me to get there for a party. In fact, i could even craft a story for my Mom that i had a business trip in the region, and just decided to pop down to surprise T for the big 50th. It was credible, and designed to minimize family drama, and prevent stress being dumped on T or my Mom.
It was one rather unfortunate tactical error on my part that sort of screwed things up.
The surprise party? Perfectly executed, with military precision, by TK and her extended family! My sister, T, was stunned when she walked into the party room to find 30 friends cheering for her! She about fell over when she finally spotted me in the crowd! i haven’t seen her for over a year, and it was fun to have a chance to meet her friends – people i’ve heard about for years but never met in person.
My mistake? In the wee hours of Friday morning, while i was still in the wet clothes i had been wearing when i got the partiers to jump in the pool, i put up a silly facebook post, thinking that my extended family might like to know that T got a helluva good party for her 50th.
Before i managed to get to bed that night, i received the following e-mail from my Ridiculously Self-Absorbed Sister, S:
I’m glad to see that you’re allowed to have a relationship with T but we aren’t — that’s right — “she’s all you have!”
Last April, S was poking at T with the Ronco Pit Bull Teasing Stick, with a whiney-assed series of e-mails to T’s work address. When T finally told her to “Stop e-mailing me at this address”, S was mortally offended, continued to send a few more e-mails despite the request, and was horrified that the family was being abandoned by T.
i thought it was resolved, and all sleeping doggies were resting comfortably. Apparently not.
How selfish do you have to be in order to find offense when two of your sisters are able to get together to celebrate a birthday? Especially when the birthday celebrant lives 1,000 miles from the homestead, and is rarely visited by family**?
Oh, that’s right… S is the sister who managed to become completely derailed by my cancer diagnosis (the old “Oh my god! What am I going to do? My little sister has cancer?” routine). The same sister who melted down in a hospital after Mom had a cardiac catheterization (the patented “Oh my god! I’m not ready for Mom to die! What will I do without her?” tantrum).
Of course it was all about her. Everything is.
* It was TK who first got T to call me when the last round of serious Trailer Park Stoopid was underway.
** The lack of visitors is, at least in part, due to the fact that T can be rather intense. Especially when she is under stress. This has led to a few bad moments when family did visit in the past. In reality? It’s clearly best that the rest of the clan keeps a distance…