Call me an awful person, but there are members of my extended family that I don’t like very much.
I’ve always been fond of the members of my mother’s family – aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. The same cannot be said for my father’s family. There are, of course, exceptions to this. I always liked my paternal grandfather, who died when I was 14. He was fun. He called all of us ‘Stinker’. It didn’t matter which one of us he was talking to, we were all ‘Stinker’.
But the rest? I could give a rat’s ass about them.
I rarely get to see most of my cousins on my dad’s side of the family, which may be part of the reason I feel this way about them. I don’t know their spouses or their children. I live out of state, and I don’t get to see them much.
The funny thing is, I’m friends with four of the five cousins on Facebook, yet we rarely interact. I try not to have much to do with one cousin, simply because her know-it-all attitude really pisses me off. I’ve never met her husband or her kids. Her brother isn’t on much anymore, so I don’t really talk to him either. I’ve met his wife and stepson one time. I don’t know any of his kids from his first marriage and I’ve never seen the little ones from his current marriage. I honestly couldn’t tell you what he’s doing with himself these days.
Another cousin remarried last year. I’ve never met his wife, although I’ve seen a few pictures. They have a little boy. Again, I only know him from pictures.
My other cousin recently got divorced and I have no idea what the hell happened. All I know is her changing her relationship status was the first I even knew about it! She has two kids. I barely know them. I couldn’t pick either of them out in a crowd. Her half brother is about the same age as her son. He’s the only one that’s not on Facebook (that I know of). Quite honestly, most of the time I want to strangle the kid after being around him for five minutes. He’s rude. He interrupts conversations for no good reason other than wanting attention. He drives me nuts. Thankfully, he tends to stay outside playing most of the time.
Then there’s the aunts and uncles.
My dad’s older sister is a bitch, I’m not going to lie. She’s never liked my mother. She actually tried to break my mom and dad up back when they were dating, with my paternal grandmother’s support. She still snubs my mother when she thinks she can get away with it. Personally, there are times when I just want to tell her to go die in a fire.
Then there’s my dad’s younger brother, who is a lot like my dad in personality, kind of laid back until you get him worked up about something that’s important to him. My dad’s youngest brother died about a year and a half ago. He was the black sheep of the family, the one who drank and smoked and had run-ins with the law.
Which brings me to my paternal grandmother. She’s a piece of work, let me tell you. She’s gossipy, talks about people behind their backs, and dislikes my mother. She was party to my aunt’s attempts to break my mom and dad up when they were dating, and she’s never warmed to my mother. I honestly think she thinks my mom isn’t good enough for my dad. Which is so goddamn funny, because my mom and dad are the only ones who haven’t been married multiple times! My aunt? On her second husband. My uncle? On his third. Even my now-deceased uncle was on his second marriage when he died. So her attitude really ticks me off.
My feelings about my dad’s family, and in particular, about my aunt and grandmother, came to a head a couple of years ago.
Around this time, oil companies decided that the Haynesville shale could be harvested for the large reserves of natural gas it contains, mainly due to the development of new technology to facilitate the process. So the oil companies were going around leasing the undeveloped land in the area around my grandmother’s property. My grandmother was actually one of the last property owners they approached. She signed a lease for an outrageous upfront sum per acre. Since she doesn’t technically own the land (my grandfather left it to my dad and his siblings in his will, with my grandmother having lifetime tenancy), all the siblings had to sign off on the lease.
When the check came in, that’s when the stupidity started. It should have been divided evenly among the five of them (my grandmother, my aunt, my dad, and my two uncles), but instead my grandmother handed the money over to the lawyer the oil company had a relationship with, to be put in a trust. Something was weird about that whole thing, but I don’t know enough about the situation to know exactly what. And my grandmother gets really defensive and won’t give a straight answer when asked about it. So we were all like, fine. The money isn’t going anywhere. It would have been nice if she had discussed all this with her kids before she did it, but she didn’t.
Then the matter of how the trust is set up came up. This is where it got weirder, and frankly, offensive. My grandmother, of course, was a trustee. Named as co-trustees were my aunt’s husband and both of my uncles’ wives. First of all, they aren’t blood-related, so they have no business being on the trust, in my opinion. Secondly, and this is where it gets offensive to me, my mother was completely left off. My dad has no representative on the trust, basically. All the other spouses are on the trust, but my mother isn’t.
The more I think about it, the more pissed off I get about the whole thing. My mom was really hurt and offended because it was a deliberate jab at her. When my dad pointed out to my grandmother that mom had been excluded and wanted to know why, she was like well, I can add her or Courtney if it means that much to you. What the hell?
So now my mom refuses to go to my grandmother’s house. She’ll let my dad and my brother go, but she refuses. I’ve joined her in the boycott because it makes me absolutely furious that my grandmother still treats my mom like she’s not good enough for their family. Last year, the husband and I were home for Christmas. My husband and my mother both asked me if I wanted to go see my grandmother and I told them no, because quite frankly, if anything about the trust came up, I was liable to go off on some people and it wouldn’t be pretty.
It makes me sick that even after more than 40 years, my grandmother is still this childish and petty when it comes to my mother.