What I did on my summer…er…forum break
Wow, how long has it been? Looking back at my old emails, it looks like it’s been about 17 months or so. One bad thing I’ve done in the last year and a half or so was to somehow lose the document where I saved all my old Tales of the Uncanny. I’m sure it’s around on some flash drive or other PC, but it will take some searching to find it. With the forums 2.0 here, I figured I may as well get another Tales of the Uncanny going. What better way than to bring you all up to speed on what’s been going on with me over the last year and a half or so. The biggest things that have happened have been family things. As you can guess, not all has gone smoothly.
Probably the biggest development for me prior to the forums going away was our 2-year-old being born. She was a huge relief to my wife & me because we’d had a miscarriage shortly before having her. One of the curveballs that hit us right after our miscarriage was finding out just how disgusting and petty some of my family really is. We’ve been dealing with poor treatment from them for a good twenty years now, but in our most difficult, trying time, they sunk to new, scarcely believable lows. Within two weeks of losing the baby, one cousin decided to sign us up for a bunch of baby tracker websites. You know the sort: they send you weekly emails tracking your baby’s progress and serve as a constant reminder of how long it is until your baby is born. Of course, if you’ve just lost a baby, all they do is remind you of your loss. They’re great for an expecting couple. For a couple who have just lost their baby, seeing 3-4 of them show up each week is remarkably painful and cruel. To my cousin, though, it was an “awesome” way to make fun of someone who she felt had more kids than they ought to (for the record, although I could never prove definitively that she was the one who signed us up for those sites, she made numerous, thinly-veiled Facebook comments about us & how disgusted she was that we were actually upset over losing our baby and it wasn’t hard to put two and two together). To drive her point home, she would regularly either sign us up for new sites, or update the information on the old sites to ensure we were getting constant reminders (more on that later). As luck would have it, three months was the interval she chose for her updates. We found out we were expecting our two-year-old about 3 months after our miscarriage, so in an amusing twist of fate, she nearly nailed our actual due date when she signed us up for a second round of baby sites.
After our two-year-old arrived, we knew right away that we wanted another. We tried our brains out for the next year before finally succeeding. In the meantime, while things were going great for us and the younger kids, my family grew crazier and crazier. Shortly before we found out our two-year-old was on the way, we found out that the cousin who had signed us up for the baby tracker sites was sending absolutely disgusting private messages to our son. He’d just turned 18 and, among other things, she was telling him everything he had a “RIGHT” to do in our home, and how we had “NO RIGHT” to expect him to live by our rules (and, yes, she bolded those words and a few other key words all throughout her notes). She wasn’t the only one hell bent on causing problems between us and our son, though, as a couple other cousins started in as well. The bulk of it was them telling him how mistreated he was because we were so abusive and unreasonable. By “abusive and unreasonable,” they were referring to the fact that we expected him to work and pay his college tuition (the other option being that he not work, not go to school and get kicked off a portion of my insurance). They later told him that we should be buying him a new car as well. Granted, none of my aunts & uncles had done this for their children, but us not doing it was abuse. It got even worse once one of my uncles joined in on it. He was even more vocal about it than the cousins were. He was also the one who made sure to show his absolute disgust with us every time either of us discussed my wife’s pregnancy with our two-year-old (dirty looks, sighs of disgust, leaving the room, etc.). It reached a head at our daughter’s first birthday party when he decided to yell and scream at me about our son as I was walking in the door, still holding the baby with the other three kids behind me. Talk about class, or at least something that rhymes with it.
Don’t think my son was the only one they went after. I had one cousin, a guy about 30, tell my then seven and eight year old daughters that they couldn’t sit with the rest of the cousins at a family event because they weren’t part of the family. Another aunt of mine, before we started avoiding her when we had the girls with us, spent about two years trying to convince our girls that they’d walked in on my wife and I when nothing of the sort had ever happened. When my daughters didn’t repeat the story as well as she would have liked, she took to spreading the rumor on her own. She thought it was absolutely hilarious because, with us having that many kids, we obviously devoted all our free time to trying for more so the kids walking in on us must be a regular occurrence. We asked her several times to stop, which she finally agreed to do. However, we later found out that she kept it up behind our backs. Several of my cousins were also regularly excluding my daughters from conversations at family parties when the other kids their age were invited to hang out with the older crowd. One went so far as to physically shove our oldest daughter away from the table and then scooted over to block her from rejoining the crowd. While some may remember from the old forum, I’ll point out here that most of my cousins are teachers which, to me, makes their treatment of my kids that much more deplorable.
My wife and I had more than our fair share over the last two decades, but these last three years have been mind-boggling. A few weeks after our two-year-old was born, we showed up for a family party where one of my cousins and the aforementioned uncle quickly rearranged the chairs at their table so that there were no spots for us. Considering my wife was still recovering from her C-section and had to walk to the other side of the room, I was less than pleased about it. When I later found out that the main reason for crowding us out of the table was so they could badmouth us to our son, I was even less pleased with them. A couple months later, at another family party, not a single one of them acknowledged us when we arrived. We walked in, said hi to the room and you could hear a pin drop. We said hi to several of them individually as we went to find a seat, but they all either stared at their feet or turned their backs to us. It was something else. The kicker was probably Christmas of ’10. We’d considered not returning to the family Christmas parties after someone gave my son a sex toy for his gift in ’09, but we decided to give them one last try. After one cousin made a nasty comment about us as we walked in the door, the bulk of the rest of the family treated us like garbage. One refused to speak to us altogether even when I got right in front of her and wished her a Merry Christmas. Another literally fell over top of someone in an effort to avoid wishing me a Merry Christmas. My wife was told she had to nurse the baby in a tiny bathroom, and when I refused she was stuck in the bedroom where everyone put their coats. A couple cousins thought it would be fun to come and rattle the doorknob & knock on the door while she was in there because, you know, it’s fun to disrupt a feeding baby. One cousin’s husband stood across the room from the baby & I, just out of earshot, making comments distasteful enough that the two cousins listening to him actually walked away from him in disgust. By the end of the night, anytime we entered a room, it cleared. When we finally left that evening I told my wife that, after all her years of pleading, I was finally giving in and agreed that we’d never go back to one of my family’s parties. Things haven’t improved since then as several family members we’d always been close to have distanced themselves from us. I suspect that it’s either due to direct pressure from one or two of the cousins, or out of fear of retaliation. One quit talking to me for nearly six months, going as far as deleting any comments I made on his Facebook page. One aunt no longer posts anything on mine or my wife’s wall (she only communicates with us now via Facebook). She’ll send us private messages but does nothing publicly, even though she still communicates freely with the rest of the cousins. A lot of it is more annoying than upsetting.