Monday, August 11, 2008

The Other Side of the Story

I hate knowing that people are talking about me.

I hate knowing it and not being able to do anything about it. Not so much not being able to but being the bigger person and letting it go.

I hate that.

I hate it because there are two sides to every single story and when people talk about others, usually there is a side not being heard or considered. What I've found is that the side that is not being heard is the side that can shed light on the situation. The side not being heard is usually the side that might bring with it some negative connotations for the person or people involved in sharing the first side of the story. That's often why it's not being heard.

A few weeks ago the husband's family had a fairly large party. It was over the holiday weekend and it involved family from all over. I guess in a lot of ways you could call it a reunion.

The husband could not go. He works in liquor. It was a holiday weekend. He's in charge-aka the boss. People drink on the holidays- regardless of which one. Get where I'm going with this?

My kids are not very familiar with my in laws. My son knows my father in law and each time we see him the boy warms up to him more and more. I try very hard to get the kids up to my father in law's restaurant so that they can see him. But the father in law works a lot and hard and bringing two toddlers into a busy restaurant is not always an ideal situation.

They know my sister in law, sort of. We rarely see her. We've had her over a few times in the past year or so but more often than not she's busy. She did a lot of the organizing of this reunion. She and I are not close. At one point we were. We hung out and went out as couples. We had a good time. That has since changed. We're kind to one another. She's very good with the kids when we see each other but that's where it ends.

My brother in law and his family are probably the ones we see the most and even that's not much. They have kids that LOVE being with my kids. The cousins all enjoy playing together. It's usually a good time. We don't see them often but when we do the kids hate having to part.

That's really the extent of our contact with my in laws. My father in law comes from a fairly large family and I love all of my husband's aunts and uncles but we really only see them at weddings, funerals, and random family parties. My kids don't know them AT ALL.

I'm not sure about everyone else's children but my kids don't do great with strangers even when those "strangers" are friends or family. The cling to me like plastic wrap to a bowl. In most instances I can give one to the husband and keep one for myself (Children that is). When it's just me it becomes more difficult. It becomes frustrating and well, annoying and stressful.

I opted not to attend the reunion. I explained to my sister in law why my husband could not attend and then also explained that attending the party with two kids who knew absolutely no one there and would have just me to cling to was not really a great idea. Plus, my father in law has a huge in ground pool and all I could envision was my son in it, unable to swim. She didn't care for my response and made that perfectly clear.

She could not understand how my husband could not get the holiday off, I mean really this was a FAMILY party that had not occurred in over 15 years! Why didn't he just put in for the time off? Explaining to her that when you're the boss and in charge you don't just get to take off whenever you want, made no difference to her.

She could not understand why I wouldn't want to attend a large party where my kids would know no one and would have every opportunity to run into a very large pool not knowing how to swim. She could not understand why I felt it would be stressful. She reassured me that everyone would help me take care of the kids.

You know, everyone who my kids don't know and wouldn't go near until the last 15 minutes of the party when we're all ready to go and they finally feel comfortable.

Yeah, well, anyway I didn't go. The husband went to work and the kids and I celebrated the holiday at a parade and with a bbq with my parents.

I found out that my sister in law spent the entire party discussing me. Discussing my husband. Discussing the fact that we were keeping our children from knowing the husband's side of the family and that was the REAL reason we weren't there. Discussing with everyone that I just did not want to bring my kids and let my father in law spend time with them. Basically slamming me every chance she got.

I was and am livid. Furious. Spitting fire.

My father in law understood why we weren't there. He was disappointed but he got it. He also spent the entire day in front of the grill so I really don't know how much time he would have spent with my kids. And he saw the kids about a week after the party. And a week after that. And he'll see them tomorrow.

But I don't want my kids to know my husband's side of the family. (Read with sarcasm)

And I sit here and I say nothing. Well, nothing except for this post and all. I say nothing to my sister in law.

Part of me says nothing because I don't want to hurt the people that shared all of this with me. I don't want them to have to deal with her.

Part of me says nothing because it's just not worth it. I've had to deal with her and situations worse than this before and it was pointless because she doesn't get IT.

Part of me says nothing because I know that if I do I'll spew meanness and hate filled words and that is not me.

And there is a teeny tiny part of me that says nothing because I just don't care. I know my husband's family knows me and will ask me why we weren't there when we see them the next time and when I explain they will absolutely understand. That's a tiny part of me right now. Hopefully it gets bigger.

I hate knowing, feeling, finding out that people are talking about me or have talked about me. Part of it is because I don't like having my named and reputation smeared in an unkind and unfair fashion. Part of it is because there are two sides to every story and more often than not, I've found, the side not being heard is the one that deserves to be heard and understood. And part of it is because it makes me sad for that person or people who have chosen to do the talking.

This is not the first time I've been talked about and it probably won't be the last. While it upsets me it's not worth getting my entire ire up. If it were truly hateful and horrible I would confront it. But I know both sides of the story and I am going to be the bigger person.


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