How important is family really?

posted in: Autism, Dilemma, Kids, The Future | 9

In the grand scheme of things?

This could be a bit of a tricky one, so bear with me a little please.  And for those that know who and what I am talking about, I hope that I can count on your discretion.

I am an only child.  That’s “only” not “lonely” by the way.  When I was growing up, I never missed out on having siblings.  We had a large extended family, that was quite close and I have 9 cousins, so there was always lots of family about.

Oh how things have changed.  Divorces, family arguments and deaths have all taken their toll and now I can’t actually remember the last time I saw most of my cousins.  I keep in touch with some, mostly through Facebook, but it’s not like when we were kids.  Then there is the side of the family who must never be mentioned.  I believe at times, I have the most dysfunctional family on the planet.  Sides have been taken and depending on which side of the line you are, will depend on who you speak to.   My Nan is probably turning in her grave.

But anyway, The Baby Boudica’s have cousins. Three of them. Except the last time we saw them, the youngest Baby Boudica was 6 weeks old.  He will be celebrating his 4th birthday in two weeks time.

I don’t remember having a falling out with Mr Boudica’s sister, neither does Mr Boudica, but the effect is still the same.   Now Mr Boudica’s sister is not the easiest person on the planet to communicate with, to put it mildly.   Mr Boudica has tried, really tried, but you soon get bored of talking to a brick wall.  Or at least the BT Answer phone lady anyway.  He rings on her birthday, leaves a message and that’s the last we hear.  It has become a long standing joke “Are you going to leave your yearly answer phone message” type thing.

So we’re sick of trying really and we have enough problems of our own, to spend much time thinking about what is going on with someone who clearly doesn’t want to speak to us.  It has also not gone un-noticed that the last time we heard from her, was just before we received Eldest Son’s Autism Diagnosis.  Which would be fine, if the Baby Boudica’s didn’t keep asking about their cousins, who they are and when they can go see them.

So what do we do?  Continue to fob them off?  Make more of an effort?  Tell them the truth?

They hear the other children at school talk about their families and I suppose they feel they are missing out.  I can’t say I’m that keen on the idea on making that leap of effort to reach out to someone who has effectively snubbed my children, but I also hate the idea that they are somehow missing out.


9 Responses

  1. Just popped across from the Britmums Linky to say hello because your blog title caught my eye! Interesting post – we experienced fall out in our family too. I always tried to be open and honest to the kids, even if the truth is edited to their understanding ability at the time! But don’t forget, there are all sorts of definition of ‘family’ and we need to be clear to them about what value they are and have, and what’s the best for all! And sometimes, I believe, we just need to listen to what our heart is telling us and not worry about the rest! :)

    • Queen Boudica

      Thanks for your comment, it’s much appreciated. My heart tells me to let them go and to tell the boys the hard truth. They are surrounded by people who love them and how can they miss people they’ve never met? We’re told that families are important but sometimes that’s not always the case.

  2. blueladybird

    Discretion is my middle name…
    Anyway – I’m really sorry to hear this, but I think Mr Boudica’s sister has effectively cut herself off from a lot of us, me included :( Obviously I’m nowhere near as close as you guys in terms of relationship.

    My take is that you keep the door open, and keep the yearly answerphone message going (and maybe one at Christmas, too, for good measure). Maybe write and send pictures of your boys and ask for pictures of their cousins.

    As you know, the blueladybird sister is even more remote – I’ve not heard from her since June 2007, and she has no idea she has a niece :( I don’t even know how to get hold of her anymore.

    You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends and I’ve learnt that it’s the people who stick by you through thick and thin that are the ones who really matter. Sorry this is hard on your boys, though xxx

    • Queen Boudica

      Thanks. I’m sorry to hear about your sister. One day she’ll hopefully realise that she’s missed out on knowing her beautiful niece. I find it saddens me most that there are family members, who I dearly wish we lived closer to. But as you say, we don’t get to choose! We send pictures of the boys every christmas but have yet to receive any back. I think perhaps the time has come to just let them go really. x

  3. Hello, just popping over from MBPW. Families are funny things aren’t they, and I am sure we all have our own quirks and dysfunctional features – I know my family does! I don’t have contact with my dad anymore, and though my son is too young to ask questions about this yet, it’s something I have pondered and wondered how to approach with him at the right time, so I can empathise with your quandary.

    I would be inclined to tell your children the truth when they ask – maybe show them photos of their cousins if you have any (Facebook?) and answer any other questions they have about them as best you can. Hopefully it will satisfy their curiosity – I think kids are very accepting of all our myriad realities and often it’s the mystery or intrigue that really gets to them.

    • Queen Boudica

      Thanks for your comment. I think most families are nowhere near the perfect family vision we think they should be! I didn’t mention my Dad in this post but we don’t see him either. I told the kids he lives a very long way away so we can’t see him. They seem less interested in him than their cousins for some reason!

  4. Hi – I also read this post through your link on Britmums MBPW and I understand where you’re coming from with the SIL thing because I have similar with mine (although nowhere near as much of a brick wall). The trouble with my SIL is that she plays the passive aggressive card – a facade of caring and sharing but in reality (and through her actions) appears to want nothing to do with us and would much rather her family spend time with her friends and their families rather than us. It does make me wonder just how their parents went wrong because the sibling competitiveness and rivalry is ridiculous! Its just sad because my youngest is only three months younger than their youngest – both boys, and yet when they’re over from Germany (where they live – army) they can’t make five minutes for us even for the kids sake. Well I say “they” I don’t count her husband in that, he’s a really nice friendly guy, but she obviously wears the trousers when it comes to making those kind of decisions on her own side of the family. I felt really personally snubbed and actually quite hurt angry and upset last time I saw her. It really is a shame for the kids.

    • Queen Boudica

      Hi Sam
      Families are delightful aren’t they?! Sorry to hear you have similar troubles, I sometimes think I got off lightly being an only child, no sibling rivalry to worry about! Prior to us being cut off from SIL, she would tell MIL how she would like to see her nephews etc and really make out she cared! From what I see, sibling rivalry is almost encouraged when you have a narcissist mother in charge, playing them off against each other. It continues into adulthood and drives the rest of us nuts! It’s just a shame it’s always the kids who miss out.

  5. To be honest, I’m one of two (got an older sister) and we have a great relationship as adults so its not always better to be an only child! I am really relieved actually because it means that my boys will always have an aunt and uncle they can rely on and cousins who they know and love (albeit two girls who are a decade older than them!). I’m disappointed that I can’t be friends with my SIL – she makes more of an effort with my husband’s ex and my step daughter than she does with us which is like salt in the wound sometimes! Oh well, screw ‘em!

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