Friday, 14 August 2009

Family Times

I've just had several days with my youngest brother and his family – his wife and my niece and nephew, whom we don't see nearly enough of, owing to the fact that they live in Sussex.

Still, it reinforced to me how important family is. Meeting up with them and having time to talk and laugh, discuss and share views, was made all the better by some uncharacteristic sunshine which meant our time could be spent mostly on the beach.

Not having children ourselves, it's all the more important to keep track of theirs and hear what they've been up to, watch them grow from children, taking the first steps towards adulthood. Sometimes you see flashes of how they'll look as adults, notice eyes or noses that are their parents' characteristics, or the tilt of a chin that is just theirs.

One afternoon I was taken by my niece and nephew to a Maize Maze near here. It took 45 minutes to get out, but it was a great way of bonding, and as a result we all got a certificate and badge to say we are now official Pirates. I shall keep mine and smile at it, remember our family days with joy and squirrel them away for the rainy months of winter. When I think of our sunlit time together, I get a warm glow and family love surrounds me like a big hug.

I was talking to a friend who sadly rarely sees her sister and family. They live in London and the last time she saw her nephews was over a year ago. She was very upset, and over a glass of wine she said, “they're coming down to spend a week with some friends in Bude but say they're too busy to come and see us.” She took a gulp of wine and added, “I think it's something to do with my brother-in-law, though I don't know what I've done to upset them. My sister would never behave like that.”

I didn't know what to suggest, other than perhaps to ring her brother-in-law and talk to him. “I would but I'm afraid of making matters worse,” she said.

If you were in this situation, what would you do?

25 comments:

ChrisH said...

This strikes a chord so I'll say more except to add that I'm glad you have some happy memories of a sun-filled day with your family.

ChrisH said...

Or even 'no' more - sigh!

rosiero said...

I would need to know what I had done wrong, if anything or whether there was some other reason. It may just be that they can only fit one visit to one person into their busy schedule and have no time to squeeze in a visit to someone else, even if it is close by. But it is silly to let it lie, as there may be something wrong which can be rectified. Life is too short not to pull the bull by the horns.

Debs said...

That's a difficult one. Family members can be strange, prickly creatures, and sometimes you can't do right for doing wrong. very frustrating and upsetting for your friend.

Glad you had such a lovely time with your family though. It all sounds great fun.

B said...

I would have to ask my sister, if it was me.

I'd be scared that my brother-in-law was isolating my sister from her family deliberately. But I am paranoid at times.

But whatever the situation, I couldn't let it lie.

Everyone else's mileage may obviously vary, though, and this might just be the way things are with them. Sad but sometimes true :(

Liane Spicer said...

Glad you had such a good time, FP. These are the times to treasure.

I'd go with B's advice. Talk to my sister.

JJ Beattie said...

I'm glad you've had a lovely time with your family. (Ours are going home tomorrow... so that'll be sad too.)

I don't know if I should comment on this or not but I'm so sorry for your friend. She should definitely talk to her sister.

Flowerpot said...

Chris - memories are lovely things!

Rosiero - I think the key thing here is talking and if they won't talk that's difficult isnt it?

Akelamalu said...

What a sad state of affairs that your friend is estranged from her sister and family - unfortunately I hear of this situation all to frequently.

Maybe your friend could contact her sister and suggest she (your friend) go to see sister and family if they cannot make it to her house? It is the sisters and family who needed to keep in contact, the BIL is an addition to the family really. Unfortunately it usually falls to one person to do all the running to stay in touch and in this case it would appear to be your friend. The thing is not to let pride (why does it always have to be me?) or fear stop one from doing this. Good luck to your friend.

Glad you hear you do not have this problem and had such a lovely time with your family. xx

Trubes said...

I'm so glad ou had such an enjoyable time with your family Flowerpot.
I think your friend should contact her sister and tell her how she feels.
As you say,'family is important', I couldn't envisage life without my darling Daughters and Grandchildren.
It is lovely to read of how close you are to your niece and nephew, and of course, your Brother and his Wife.
Sadly, quite a different situation from mine. I have a sister who barely shows any interest in my family and can't be bothered to
to remember birthdays etc.
My Brother ceased communications with us 12 years ago, and no surprise to say, there was a squabble about an aged Aunt's estate and the administration of it.
He was the executor, and in my opinion, totally mis-administered it, to his own advantage.
I could have made a legal case of the matter but just couldn't cope with all the upset an stress it would incur.
I do have a lovely cousin, her husband and family, of whom we are very fond.
just love your words, 'I get a warm glow and family love surrounds me like a big hug'.
So touching!

Warm wishes from us all 'Oop North'.

Di.x

Flowerpot said...

Debs - they certainly are prickly creatures! And yes it is very upsetting. But we had great fun this week!

Flowerpot said...

B - I agree with everything you say!

Liane - glad we both agree....

JJ - Why shouldn't you comment? I agree with you too!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I guess different families have their different issues and it's very individual to that family. But if it were me, I would say there's nothing to lose, grab the bull by the horns etc.

Family is important to me too. I think since my dad's passing, I have realised that more and more.

CJ xx

Flowerpot said...

Ak - it's sad how so many families seem to fall out isn't it?

Trubes - I am so sorry ot hear about your family problems. Must be so hurtful.

Pat Posner said...

Sounds like a lovely memory making time, Flowerpot.

Families can break your heart sometimes. I feel for your friend.

xxPat

Flowerpot said...

CJ - yes I think as we get older, family does become more important. Particularly if you don't have children yourself.

Around My Kitchen Table said...

I recently worked with someone whose parents had divorced. Her father had moved away and she and her husband had booked up a family holiday near where he lived because she wanted to show him her new baby (his third grandchild) but he told her he was too busy that week to see her. Coming from a large and close family, I found it unbelievable - and very sad. I think your friend should try to find out why - it may all be a big misunderstanding. If not, at least she knows where she stands.

Flowerpot said...

Pat - thanks for that.

Flowerpot said...

Table - families, eh? I think the only way is to try and resolve it. If it doesnt work then at least she can say she's tried.

Sandra Ferguson said...

Adult families are so complicated. Not like when we're all little. We don't get along, someone punches, pinches, or yells . . . gets the madness out of their system -- Mom steps in and makes everyone play nice. Maybe we all still need a master mom to make us behave.

The relationship she misses is the one with her sister. That's who she should talk to. Sometimes, it's a simple as 'I miss you. How can I see you more?'

I think we make the mistake of believing grown up families will or even can all get along. There are folks who are related by blood or marriage that would never be my choice of friend or buddy. But if I have an issue with a sibling then I'd always go straight to the source. It will either fix the problem or at least your friend will know it can't be fixed and she could put the drama behind her.

Flowerpot said...

Sandra - I think you are so right...

Elise said...

Hello, I just wanted to stop by and leave you a comment to say how much I've enjoyed reading your blog today. You posts are excellent and your pictures, well, they perfectly match your writing.

Best wishes & thank you for sharing them...

Ellee Seymour said...

I guess some families are closer than others. When I married my husband, I was really pleased he came from a large extended family as mine is so small, but they only meet up for weddings and funerals.

Flowerpot said...

Elise - thank you so much for that and it is a joy, as a balletomane, to find another journalist who writes about BALLET!!

Flowerpot said...

Ellee - yes, you;re quite right. Hope you had agood holiday.