An Open Letter to my Family

(Writer’s note: I’ve been estranged from much of my extended family on both sides for several years now. I won’t go into the details now…)

Ok, I give up. I’ve tried on numerous occasions to offer an olive branch and make peace with you.

For those of you on my father’s side, I know we disagree regarding several things, but you could have at least informed me of my grandmother’s death yourselves. The first notice I received from an actual family member was when I received a check with my father’s share of her estate almost SIX MONTHS AFTER SHE DIED. I thought that was pretty tacky, but I can forgive it. I’m sorry that Aunt Kay passed away. Like my grandmother, I found out about her loss from the same family friend – who you also seem to be punishing for her contact with me.

For those of you on my mother’s side, specifically those of you that decided to out and out ignore me at the mall Sunday. I have tried to make peace. As far as I can see, the sins I’m being punished for were my mother’s. Mother could hold a grudge as well as any of you and did in the last years of her life. But I don’t know why you punish me as well. I’ve only ever wanted to be friends with you. For my aunt particularly, your behavior hurts me the most. Long before I met my husband, you and I were buddies, going to shows and galleries. I thought we enjoyed each other’s company and I miss that. I’ve hoped that we could at least be civil with each other and to that end, I made sure you knew that I was pregnant and were informed when Phoebe was born.

So, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever it is that you think I did. If I knew what I did, I’d apologize for that, but I don’t know and you won’t tell me. What punishment you deal to me, I can handle, but you are the losers here because I have a daughter who looks just like those you loved the most. It’s in not knowing her that will be your punishment.

If you could see her puzzled look, you would see my father and grandfather. I swear every time she gets a thoughtful look, I feel like my father is watching me. She has the same wonky knees and long legs.

But her smile – oh, her smile is my mother’s and uncle’s. When she smiles, she lights up my heart and I am reminded of my mother laughing at some joke or my uncle Larry at some mischief.

This is what you are missing and for this I am sorry for you.

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