The next few months are well marked by the theme of “family reunion”. In two weeks time, I am going to meet my uncle, the brother of the mother, for the very first time. Him and his wife and three kids (kids that are young adults). They are visiting Alton Towers and he asked if they could meet up with us the day after. Initially, they wanted to come to my house but I took the tummy twisting notion as a sign, that I am not quite ready for that. I just can’t see them sitting on my sofa and hey, you gotta listen to that gut feeling. I know a lot is first time meeting nerves plus obviously a huge part of me wants to be liked by this unknown family and fear about not being liked is building up by the day. The little sensible voice in my head, who speaks so quietly at times that I can hardly hear her says: “It doesn’t matter if they don’t like you, because you know you may not like them.” And I know this is true, but at the same time I want to be able to dislike them, but for god’s sake I want them to like me. That’s the least they can do, you know.

And of course, I know he will be reporting back to my mother and this makes things even more complicated.

And then in September there is this trip to Germany that I keep postponing because I am paralyzed with dread when I think about it. When you haven’t seen people in such a long time it becomes a total big deal when you do. My aunt, whose 70th birthday it is, plus some random family members of our once huge family, my uncle (the one I know from little, the one who is my father’s brother, yet so unlike my father that it is hardly believable they are related) and his wife will be there. As much as I am looking forward to seeing them in equal measures I am dreading it. Dreading it because there will be judgement, there always is with families and mine is Catholic so judgement is almost religiously prescribed. There will be stories about my father, what he is up to (no good) and I can hear my uncle’s wife already: “You should be taking care of it.” And I can hear myself defending my actions or rather non-actions and I can feel my husband tensing up and being very quiet because I am not willing to share the truth about the whys with them and he thinks I should. And there is a huge part of me that wants to tell the truth but I fear what my uncle would do to his brother if he knew. Sometimes, not speaking the truth is protecting those we love. What good would it do to my aunt, my uncle, cousins if they knew?

So this morning as I am still trying to catch up with work, I am almost paralyzed with dread. I wish I could fast-forward.

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