N has asked me to “unfriend” some of his family members on fac.ebook. He doesn’t have much of a social media presence, but I do, and at one point or another, his family members have friended me as a way of getting more news about him. I know that these friendships are more about N and Dot than they are about me, but I still don’t like having another person, even my best person, try to tell me who I should connect with online. For much of his family, facebo.ok is the only place where they see photographs of Dot, or get news about what she is doing. My mom and I talk every week, but N doesn’t talk to anyone in his family that often and this silly social media connection is the best connection they have.
So why the unfriending? Well, N’s dad invited all of his grandkids (except one, except ours) on a ski weekend in Colorado. I’m sure they had good reasons for not inviting us or talking to us about it. We live farther away than N’s brother and sister; we have turned down invitations to visit in the past; N’s relationship with his father is prickly; Dot had a busy January filled with dentistry and her first ever dance program; N’s never been that interested in skiing (I grew up in MT, so no excuse there); right now we don’t have the financial resources to fly out to CO and stay in a ski resort. So, I’m sure they have their reasons, but I wish they would have invited us anyway.
If they’d invited us anyway, the onus of not being there would be on us. Our decision and our call. And maybe they didn’t want the rejection of a no from us, which would be another understandable reason, I guess, but I wish they’d risked at least a phone call to feel us out. As it is, they’ve really hurt N’s feelings. Not mine so much, but I don’t have the long family history of divorce and step-parents and half-siblings and rejection and denial that he’s had to deal with. I’ve always known my family is right there for me if I need them, that they want me with them at family gatherings and that if I’m not invited it’s because they already know I can’t come because they’ve checked with me. N hasn’t grown up with that surety. For me this was a “your family is weird” moment, but for him it’s a “my family forgets/rejects me (and my child) again” moment.
And now I’m in this weird place where I can either just unfriend the family members (unlikely), or try to engage in further conversation about this. Neither of which I want to do. I could also lie about it, which I know is supposedly a terrible thing to do, and relationships should be based on honesty and [insert another commonplace about honesty here], but I can’t help but wonder if it might not save hurt feelings all around. It’s not just N’s decision, for one thing: it involves my connections and also Dot’s relationship with her grandparents, uncles and cousins. It’s pretty sad to have your best connection with your grandchild be through fa.cebook, but I don’t want to cut that connection without further thought and discussion.
I wish they would have given us a call.