Family

In the course of my pre-move decluttering, I came upon a pile of home videos, one of which was one that Ashley’s Dad made, documenting William’s first year.

I sat and watched it all the way through (it’s a couple of hours long), and it was so lovely to relive the memories, though quite poignant as well, particularly as my father-in-law is no longer with us.

What really struck me, though, was how close we were in those days to Ashley’s side of the family.  Ashley’s brother and his wife lived next door to us, and we were always in and out of each other’s houses.  Almost every scene in the video was a family get together of some kind, with all the kids (who were toddlers/babies then, obviously) playing together and all the adults chatting and laughing.

And it made me feel really quite sad that we don’t have that any more.  Not at all.

Ashley’s Dad died almost five years ago.  A couple of years before that, Ashley’s brother and his wife split up and subsequently divorced, and Ashley’s brother now has a new partner (not that new, they’ve been together for years now), and another child.

Out of all of ‘that side’ of the family, I am closest to S, my ex-sister-in-law, although the rest of the family have pretty much excommunicated her subsequent to the divorce.  We both make the effort to get the kids together (I think it’s really important for Will to have contact with his cousins), and also catch up for lunch and a gossip several times a year.

The last time we had a family get together with my brother in law, his new partner and kids was literally YEARS ago.  And we live five miles apart.  I don’t really know what went wrong.  The last time I laid eyes on my brother in law was Boxing Day last year, when he popped in for ten minutes on his way somewhere else.

There hasn’t been any falling out, it’s just …. drifted.  We do, admittedly, have very different lifestyles.  But with family, that shouldn’t really matter, should it?

And it makes me feel really sad, because I get so much joy out of spending time with my own side of the family, and I would love to have that with Ashley’s side too – if only for William’s sake.

I had a chat with Ashley about the whole thing after I’d watched the video, and we agreed that we should reach out and try and organize for us all to go out for a meal together – neutral territory, kids included, not too long – just a nice step towards getting to know each other again (the new partner for the first time, really) and celebrating a little bit of Christmas with family.

And Ashley tried to organize it.  And to start with, BIL seemed keen.  But it hasn’t happened, excuses and obstacles were given, so it’s not to be.  Which is a shame.

I tried to discuss the situation with my MIL last weekend.  But she is a master of not hearing things she doesn’t want to, so that was a dead end.

So I guess the happy family memories will stay in celluloid form, to be looked back on with fondness and a smile.  But it seems that no more memories will be made, at least not in the near future.  And if my father-in-law is looking down on us, I think he’d be sad, too.

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Family

  1. That is really sad when families drift apart. I do think when children are small you do make more of an effort. I hardly speak to my brother and yet when I was small I hero worshipped him. That didn´t last long I must say when he threatened to tell the vicar that I wasn´t good enough to be confirmed aged 13! My brother is twelve years old than me and became very pompous. We do send the occasional email but not much else. I phoned my cousin the other day to tell her about the new additions to the family but as usual she annoyed me so much that I ended up cutting short the conversation. She has never worked, never married, never had children looked after first her mother then her father and has lived in the same house all her life which is now too big for her and she is confined to one room with a gas fire. She won´t move to a smaller place where she could live comfortably and has a horror of modern technology thinking it is the devil´s work full of paedophiles and people trying to steal your money. Even an answerphone is banned in case a burglar knows she is out!

    I think you have done the right thing to put out a hand in friendship but it may be the case that everyone is too busy with Christmas coming up. Perhaps in the new year you can try again.

  2. ps I say everyone is busy with Christmas but my OH isn´t playing golf three times a week whilst I do all the present organisation and the trip back to the UK! Grrr.

  3. Really sorry to hear that. Especially as you had been so close. I have learned it is hard to second guess what goes through peoples’ minds in their take on relationships – even more so with family. I think it is great you made the effort to reach out and have another go – but like you said, things have come up on their side and maybe they are not choosing to make it the priority they should have. And you can’t do it all.
    Keep the film/video safe in the move!!

  4. Its is a shame when families drift apart, we haven’t seen John’s youngest Brother since John’s Dad’s funeral three years ago. He does not seem to want to have any contact and after one meal together three years ago nothing, when the children were young we were always together and met up all the time but we have very different interests and friends and have drifted apart. I speak to my Sister every day and when we had the caravan we were away with her and my Brother in Law most weekends, we meet up for meals and are really close but our kids have been in the same room and said a few words to each other neither side has been really bothered, yet when they were youg they went everywhere together, so sad x

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