I mailed a birth announcement to all the relatives a few weeks after Baby was born. I received email acknowledgements from a few of Mom's relatives. I received a card and gifts from my father's one sister and her two children. These are the cousins that I was especially close to growing up. We spent every summer together. This is also that Aunt that graciously took us in for my Nana's funeral. We stayed at her house, despite my father's anger that his family would welcome us. She incurred the wrath of my father over that, despite the fact that she told Sister and I (and presumably my father) that she was not taking sides.
The Baby announcement I sent to my father's brother came back with a new address notation. I sent the card to the new address, wondering why I hadn't known they had moved. This uncle and his wife are not that much older than me. I've always been close to them. The summer I was "banished" to the north, I stayed with them quite frequently. When Sister and I visited the summer of 2002, we gathered at their house more than once and kept in touch via email for awhile. When Nana died, we met at their house to discuss the arrangements. However, Uncle got put in the middle by my father and I fear he has chosen Dad's side.
As is customary, I sent holiday picture cards with a letter to all the relatives. It's just a newsy letter about the events of the past year. I received return holiday cards from the one aunt and my two cousins. My aunt also emailed me a note of appreciation about how much she enjoyed my annual letter. She and her two children email every so often. My cousins have children now and we all exchange pictures.
I heard nothing from anyone else. No return card. No acknowledgement. No email. Nothing.
Two days ago I received some pictures via email from my aunt. Included were photos of the traditional Christmas Eve gathering. There were all my aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. I didn't even recognize some of the cousins because they had grown so much. Two have graduated high school now. One has finished college. One just had a baby - I didn't even know she was pregnant. My aunt and uncle moved over a year ago.
I found out all these details by contacting my cousin on facebook and asking him what was up. He filled me in on the highlights, including the fact that he and his wife are expecting twins. My aunt responded to my request for an update by saying, "you know [other aunt] - she's not good at keeping people informed." I think it was her way of not getting involved.
It is so sad seeing all those pictures. My father was not present and I have no idea about any involvement he has with that family. I know part of the situation is caused by the fact that my Nana has passed and she was the glue that held everyone together. However, a large part is that the family has chosen my father. It's sad to see how everyone has grown and not to be a part of it. I realize we are far away, but a simple two line email would be nice. Some acknowledgement of our efforts to reach out would be nice. An invitation to visit, even if they know it is too far for us to come, would be nice.
I've grown accustomed to the fact that my mother and father each chose their new spouse over me. But why did the extended family have to take sides too? I never did anything to them, yet I've been rejected....again.