Our Middle Names Are The Same

I've been thinking about my cousin a lot this week. I've been struggling with feeling left out of her life for the past few years. Which makes me feel a little guilty. My uncle, her father, died two years ago this month. He was my father's only brother. His little brother.

When my uncle died, my father wanted to swoop in and help the family with everything, but he never wanted to intrude. He made it clear that he loved them and was there if they needed him, but he didn't push. He waited. I imagine that was pretty difficult. I'd never really know because my father has built a pretty good stone wall. It's been well crafted through the years of being the oldest, being The Dad and always having a good answer to any hard question I'd ask. I never really knew if he was scared of anything.

I followed his lead in loving them. I'd call and leave short messages on their answering machine to let them know I was thinking of them, or I'd just leave a little joke to make them laugh. It was easier not to push them when they were an 8 hour car ride away.

Then they moved a little closer. I'd have to ride only 3 hours to visit. They worked, I worked. Time passed. Fast. It passed so fast that Susan met, dated and became engaged to a man that I had never met. The first I heard of him was when we got a call from my aunt telling us to expect a wedding invitation in the mail. I couldn't believe it. All of a sudden I felt completely over-protective. My uncle was gone and totally out of the blue I felt like the self-appointed guard dog for his side of the family. If this guy was going to get to my cousin, he was going to have to get through ME.

Just in case you were wondering, it really wasn't helpful to have adopted this attitude when I met him for the first time. At his wedding. I introduced myself and my parents before the ceremony and waited for him to...I don't know, bow or something. I expected him to go on and on about how sorry he was that we hadn't met before and how he'd promise to love and cherish my cousin like the queen that she is, because he knows (from reputation) that I'd have to hurt him if he did otherwise.

But that didn't happen. He shook my hand and that was it. I can't say I warmed to him. Then he started treating Susan like she was HIS. I don't think he understood that she was MINE for 26 years. He didn't know me and that meant that he didn't know her. We grew up together.

Now we're both grown up. And she's married. And I feel guilty for not having been there. I feel guilty for not pushing harder. I feel selfish and I know it's unjustified. Frustrating.

It's frustrating because I love her and she seems so happy. I feel selfish because I had nothing to do with that.

How's that for honesty?


Anonymous Hollee said...

You got it out. Out of your head that is... If you put your feeling of selfishness that bluntly, I have to admit that I've felt that way before. That's a creepy feeling. Makes me feel like a really pathetic yucky ego.

11/16/07, 9:57 PM  
Anonymous sharyl said...

Your cousin, like the rest of us in your life, are lucky to have such a fiercely loyal and loving relative/friend. I think it makes you uncomfortable when I say it, but I--like so many others--love you dearly.

2/1/08, 11:28 PM  

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