Yesterday was hard. It was the first year we did not have my parents, so EG made arrangements with the partner of my sister's brother-in-law to have a big family Thanksgiving at one of the houses. F, the partner, then invited his mother, brother, sister-in-law, and nephew, as well as my sister and her two adult children.
Then F called my sister and said so many guests might be too overwhelming for the brother-in-law, B, whose mother was in rehab for a broken hip and whose father was now obviously declining from dementia. He asked my sister if she thought we would mind if he backed out of the invitation. She said we would most likely understand, and when I heard, I called and said, "We get it--we will back out of the invitation."
However, when my sister tried to back out, she was told her invitation still stood, as did the invites for the rest of the guest list. When my sister called and refused my invitation, saying she was still going to F and B's, I expressed to her that we didn't understand why we weren't included and everyone else still was; my sister said, "You aren't family."
Ouch. Apparently not. Imagine my reaction when I found out that niece's boyfried of two months was added to the guest list at the last minute.
So we stayed home. We watched the dog show, as we always do, stared out at the clouds, and we ate our turkey and stuffing and tamales and rice and beans. And I was sad all day. My sister called later, telling me how hard the day was, and never once asking how we were doing. Kiki started crying and wanted to go to bed at six o'clock. Finally, Nita marched into the room, bearing my yellowed deck of Uno cards, and started playing with Rocky, of course making up rules which suited her plan of whipping his behind at the game. I refereed, and eventually she said, "We all should play." I faked enthusiasm, convinced EG (another enthusiasm faker) to join us, and rather forcefully made Kiki participate as well. Pretty soon we were all hitting EG with "draw four" and "draw two" cards, laughing at his exaggerated reaction of dismay, and I realized that we weren't faking the fun anymore. We were sad, yes, but we were enjoying what we had.
And we were hopeful that things might be better.