Being a Sister-In-Law is a lot harder than I thought it would be, and by that I mean I don’t think I ever really had considered that being married to Japh would mean that I would have a new set of family members that would need attention. I know it sounds odd because of course marrying someone would mean that there are new people / emotions / complications / moods to become accustom to, but it just really didn’t cross my mind. Until this weekend.
Oh man – this past Saturday was a total shit show complete with yelling, fighting, screaming, throwing of things and saying things that one may or may not fully mean. Disclaimer — none of these actions were performed by me. My youngest sister in law and my husband got into an argument that escalated into nasty proportions. They were both wrong and I won’t get into the full details of how it came about but it started with toothpaste. Yes — fucking toothpaste.
We were visiting my father in law and as luck would have it, the whole clan was there (both sister in laws and father in law). Somehow the fact that Japh had left toothpaste unattended in the house was brought up by youngest sister in law and then ALL of the things that have been bothering her came pouring out. Such as:
- How Japh never visits unless he needs something
- How Japh never helps out around his Dad’s house
- How he doesn’t care about anything except his little fucking married life
- How he never calls
You get the point. Youngest sister in law is just downright not happy with her brother. Most of the things she said are kind of true — in that he has been pretty distant lately. But lets break this down for a moment:
- Youngest sister in law started college in late August
- Mother in law died in late September
- Japh and I got married in early November
- The sadness of the holidays without mother in law
- Oldest sister in laws moves to DC in mid January
- Father in law starts casually dating a family friend in March
Everyone has started to try and move on with their life after mom’s gone and youngest sister in law has kind of been left by the way side. She’s 19 and figuring out what the hell life is supposed to be for her. This is a rough age, especially taking into account all that has been going on her life. I still get sad about losing my mother in law. Not as frequently as I used to but I can’t even imagine what it would be to lose my mom at 19. And then feel like you’ve lost all your other family members because they are off doing their own thing.
I have one younger brother so this whole sister thing is brand new to me. To be fair, healthy female relationships are pretty new to me. I’m better at handling male emotions. This weekend I got an opportunity to workout my sister in law training. There was SO much talking about feelings. So Much. Wine was involved, so you know — that just made it worse. Or better, I’m not sure.
By the end of the night things had basically been sorted. Did I mention that this whole fiasco lasted about 9 hours?? In any case, I realized that part of this is my fault too. I haven’t been there for my new sisters. I haven’t played an active role in their lives and I should have. I should have been better when I noticed months ago that my husband was pulling away from his family. I should have pressed harder as to why he was pulling away instead of being selfish because it’s easier to have him to myself and my family.
While all families are fucked up in their own way, mine has basically worked itself out and now at this point in my life my family is pretty self sufficient. My kid brother just moved back to NYC from WV and is living with us so that he can get back on his feet. I’ve gotten to the point with my parents that visits are a fun thing and not a necessity or a chore. Japh’s family is sailing in rocky waters right now, and that means more work, more communication, more face-time, more understanding and more attention.