The sky is a clear blue today. If I could fly in it there is no doubt I would land with patches of blue dressing my skin. This is the sky Irving Berlin wrote Blue Skies about. It inspires songs and poetry.
It is amazing that the external world can be as pretty as a picturebook while the internal world can be dark and churning as a storm at sea. It is equally amazing how people can appear to have let the sins and slights of the past go; they can even say they are forgotten; yet with the tiniest provocation they return, dropping out of that flawless blue sky like poisoned arrows.
It is my husband’s birthday tomorrow. A significant one. He will be 50.
I had wanted to have a birthday dinner for him with my family but they have been difficult to pin down. These people – who rarely go out on weekends suddenly have incredibly busy schedules. He is their son-in-law, brother-in-law, they have known him for over twenty years, but it seems his fiftieth birthday is unimportant to them. I know where it comes from – there are plenty of pot stirrers and troublemakers in my family just as there are in every family – but it saddens me. This year more than anything, I had wanted a fresh start. I had wanted to walk free of all the sniping and griping clustering at my feet.
A friend of mine afforded me the greatest compliment the other day. She said that I can see my flaws and try to correct them. That I will admit when I have made a mistake and do everything in my power to fix it and not do it again. It is important for me to constantly grow as a person, to move forward. It makes me happy that someone can see and acknowledge the path I am on.
Unfortunately, my family do not seem to be on the same path. They cannot forgive someone whose only crime was to tell them the truth about themselves.
Some people do not see themselves when they look in the mirror.
Some people would not see the clarity of the sky even if catapaulted towards it on a magic harness.
These are things that have to be accepted in others.
Raging against them is pointless.
It is sad, but the glory of the sky lessens the bite of it.
Today I am thankful that it is everywhere I look.
Ah, but he has you and you have him…and you both have the blue sky.
Insightful post. Your husband is blessed to have you there to celebrate his 50. Happy birthday to him and I hope he has a special day.
very insightful and sad, familes can be so weird. But you’ve got each other and the skies as you say
I find my in-laws, at times particularly difficult to navigate.
You should make it a day to celebrate en famile, do something extra special… 🙂
If they don’t want to come, that’s their loss … and probably your gain; going by what you’ve said in previous posts, you don’t want to ruin your husband’s ‘big Five-Oh’ with their bickering and sniping.
Truly, it is said you can choose your friends, but not your family.
If I lived in Sydney, I’d come like a shot, if invited. Give him my best, anyway.
Your husband has the best gift of all: you to share his life with.
Families can cause so much grief. My in-laws are in-laws from hell. It bothers me but I try not to dwell on it or give them power. Just a phone call here from my mother-in-law can make me so mad. But what purpose does it serve to feel those emotions about people who we don’t like or respect?
A long time ago a very wise person said to me: ” Families aren’t necessarily the people we are related to by blood. We don’t have to love them just because of that.Families are the people who love us and are here for us, when we need them most.”
For all the people who still have supportive caring families in their lives I say: CHERISH THEM and never take any of them for granted. When they are gone, they leave such a gap. 😦 I know…
Hugs to you Sel and Happy Birthday to your husband.
Is there a law in Australia that you must keep that family? They seem horrid and I would have dumped them long ago. Go and find a new mother, there are plenty of elderly women who would LOVE you as their daughter and your husband as their son-in-law. A new sister. A new father.Get a brother or two if you want. We are human and have the unalienable right of choice.
I’m sad to say this could have been a post of mine. Difficult (and yes, I can think of a much stronger word… or more) families are the pits. I recall several recent once-in-a-lifetime achievements I wish would be celebratory for my husband, including birthdays, but alas…my “only crime” is as you state.
Thank goodness for the praise from your friend. I, too, hold dear those words of praise from friends whom I respect, undeniably moreso since my birth family (beyond my husband and daughter) and I are not in touch. To be reminded of one’s goodness when others (like “family”) can only find fault or nit pick, is precious.
May your dear husband have a glorious birthday! You both are lucky to have each other. I hope you both can create other memories. It’s hard when what should be, isn’t, but it can be done.
Every family has the odd troublemaker, some more than others. You would expect that they would put aside their petty differences for such an event – after all, turning 50 is considered to be a milestone in a person’s life. If they don’t though, then as much as it hurts, I would say that you should not feel bad about it. If they held him in the same regard that you do, then they would be there. If not (without a decent reason), then it is their loss, and not yours. To me it is always about quality over quantity – it’s better to have less people, but have the people that are important to you. At the end of the day, you have him, and he is lucky to have you – and your son is lucky to have you both! Please wish your husband a very Happy 50th Birthday from your Blogger-esque friends (damn, I think that I just invented a word!), and no matter who shows up, remember that as long as you and your son are there, and your husband has a good time, nothing else matters. That’s what gamblers have been known to call “a sure thing”!
Yes, families are complicated. Very complicated. And what’s funny, or not so funny, is that family dynamics don’t seem to change even as the kids become adults and the parents get older. Interesting how we often keep our same standing in our families, even as we evolve in our own personal lives.
Interesting read. And beautifully written!
Good luck. And happy birthday to your husband.
The more I get to know you, the more I realise you are a born romantic. It’s a beautiful characteristic!
Funny thing is, he’s not particularly bothered by the family drama. I’m the one stressing over it because I have this silly thing about people acting properly. Think I’ll need to let that high-falutin’ idea go 😀
Hi CRAFTY GREEN:
I think the family dynamic can be the most difficult one of all to traverse. Sometimes it is just best to stay away from all the drama.
We’re doing that tonight. Nick and I are making a cake in the shape of the number 50 tonight. Could be interesting. We are good at the baking, not so good at the decorating!
You would definitely be invited. You’re right – I don’t want to ruin anything with petty bickering. Life is too short.
I know the difficulties you have faced with your mother-in-law have caused you so much grief and I am really sorry for it. I agree that families are not necessarily those bound to us by blood. Thank goodness for that!
That would be brilliant. I’d like Betty White as my Mum. She is a laugh a minute. Can you imagine if it were actually possible to do that? It might make the actual families behave themselves for once!
Praise from people I respect is the best praise of all because I hold their opinion in such high regard. We will make our own memories and celebrate tonight, full of lopsided chocolate cake and free of family griping!
You are absolutely right. You are so wise and insightful. Your family must be so proud of you. I will certainly pass on your good wishes. Thank you!
Hi ONE OF THE GUYS:
That is such an important point. Getting older doesn’t seem to make any difference for some people. And I also agree that the way we are initially regarded by our family doesn’t change even if we become a brain surgeon!
Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a great comment.
Families suck big time some times. Sounds like it will be a better dinner party without them. My better half turns 50 in June this year! We will forgo the rellies and just have a little party with friends I think. And none of those age cards (who invented them anyway).
Oh Selma. That saddens me too. I know how difficult your family can be. And well, that just stinks. I’m sorry to hear this.
On a lighter note, HAPPY 50th Birthday to your husband!
PS: “I will admit when I have made a mistake and do everything in my power to fix it and not do it again. It is important for me to constantly grow as a person, to move forward. It makes me happy that someone can see and acknowledge the path I am on.”
I think that is why the saying, you can choose your friends but not your family. It is all the more hurtful because we assume and hope/expect that family will always be there for us as we would want to be there for them. Happy Birthday to your hub, Selma – I hope he is enjoying his special day.
hello 🙂 It is nice to have found your weblog. Your writing is lovely and has such a beautiful gentle spirit to it.
happy birthday to your husband.
I liked reading this post very much. Not the sad parts (I wish you and your hubby could have a big celebration for his birthday) or the fact that your family seems to be a bunch of nasties. I liked the clarity of your voice and the honesty.
Many hugs to you from across the pond.
I hope he had a great birthday. He was with you, so I am nearly sure it was.
Those age cards crack me up. Some of them are so tacky. I have to admit though that I did buy him one- it was the epitome of good taste, mind you 😉 I’m classy like that!
Thank you for the lovely birthday wishes. And you are once again one of my inspirations for moving forward and changing as a person. Your ‘Doing Things Differently’ movement has made a huge impression on me.
He had fun. I get mad at my family sometimes but find I recover more quickly from it these days. People are the way they are, you know? It can be hard to effect a change. No point in sweating over it. Wow. I almost sound mature 😀
What a lovely comment. I strive for clarity so much, so the fact that you felt that makes me really happy. Thanks, hon.
Awww. You are a truly lovely person. I am so touched by your comment.
Ooh Sel – can I be your little sister then?
Happy birthday to your hubby!
It was my husband’s birthday on the 24th too except he was only 46….lucky bugger. I hope your hubby had a wonderful big Five O. I think he was probably better off without your family there Sel, which I’m sad to say but there you have it. I read things like this and it only serves to make me feel even more grateful for the family I have. I am so lucky and I know it.
Happy Birthday to your hubby! You are lucky to have each other. Sometimes family is difficult and I think we each experience phases in which the emotional collisions seem endless and unfixable, but then… Happy blue sky to you!
You are definitely in as my little sister. What fun we would have. I really would love that!
Are you telling me you have a toy boy? I am jealous. That is amazing they are born on the same day. Another Aries. Good Lord. I don’t need to tell you what they’re like 🙄
It’s true. He was better off without the family there. I’m not saddened by it as much as I used to be. I am just happy to do without the drama!
Oh, it is so good to hear from you. You make such a good point. Sometimes it seems like the conflict will never end but then VOILA – the skies are blue again. As long as I can count on that everything is good!
It is such an honour to be visited by you. You are a brilliant writer. Thank you for your kind wishes.
A very happy belated birthday to N. Hope he had a fantastic time and that his new cowboy shirts have arrived!
As for the family, it really is their loss.
He got the cowboy shirts all the way from the U. S. of A. They are really good quality. He is slick and sharp now. I am over the family. They can sit in the corner and sulk for as long as they like. Thanks for your lovely wishes!
First, a happy 50th to your husband. Fifty years on the planet is really something to celebrate!
I wish everyone could be like you in that you recognize your flaws and try to correct them. I am unsure why some people can’t recognize their flaws and why others choose not to try to correct them. It’s hard to maintain true, honest relationships when people are like that — and I find it especially hard when those people are family. It makes me happy that each of us is allowed to choose our friends so even if we can’t have the relationships we want with family members, we can have meaningful ones with others (some of whom act more like family than our biological families).
Hugs to you, Selma. 🙂
Thanks for the kind wishes. Not even attempting to change causes such difficulties in relationships. The way I look at it is what’s wrong with admitting you’ve screwed up? It doesn’t mean you’re a weak person, it just means you’re paying attention.
Lots of hugs to you too!