Monday, June 26, 2006


My sister, brother in law and nephews were in town today and we had dinner together along with a friend of theirs. Near the end of the dinner I related to my sister that our cousin who is lending me money for the business had annoyed me by implying that I didn't know what I was doing. It was unsolicited advice. Her opinion was that I was ungrateful and that it was all in my head. This is not the case. I am grateful but I should not have to prove myself to someone I know. I also don't think she understands what it took for me to ask for that money. She does not have my fierce pride. I haven't asked anyone for money since I was 19 years old and I don't like it. I can ask for advice and for someone's expertise but I do not take kindly to unsolicited advice or to having to ask for help. I have worked hard to be good at what I do. I have to know, must know, that I have done it on my own. My independence is as important as the air that I breathe.

I realized something else as we talked. Her sons seemed to think that we were squabbling. I would not have said so. We disagreed but that was it. However, in the house where we grew up such things were not so visible. At least not when I was there. It was a WASPY place. In my friend Rebecca's family our discussion would have been merely business as usual but for my nephews it was a squabble. I know my sister cannot stand when my father argues and I try not to do it around her but I would not have backed down about this. I don't' think you should agree just to keep the peace. There must be a middle ground. I know I do not reveal my feelings easily and I see where it comes from. I have struggled to become more open and I found it funny that I was the loud one at the dinner. I realized that I have in fact i have always been the loud one, the one with the opinions. They see me as argumentative and as someone who needs to be right. I do like being right but it is more important to be true to what I believe. I love my family and I enjoy them but I have always felt slightly apart, as if I couldn't quite make them see me. Perhaps it is my own doing, my reticence and independence. But only in part. Somehow I grew up different, more proud, more opinionated, more the Alpha type than any of them. More my father's daughter perhaps. He did not get along with his own siblings, has not spoken to them in a long time.

What can we do? Families are a difficult thing at best. I am more fortunate than most that I can enjoy a short time together and not dread the holidays. Look for your blessings. They are there. Even in the family.


rebecca said...

M may think he can give unsolicited advice because of the loan. i don't agree with this, but i can see where it comes from.

and if your nephews want to see an interfamily squabble, they should come visit one of my family's Thanksgiving dinners. Although, even I tend to avoid them now

the waspy vs the mediterranean. gotta love it.

Epiphany Alone said...

Uh yeah. Really, I could understand your sister's objection if they couldn't understand what you were disagreeing about and it might scare them...but your nephews are old enough to get it, I think.

Rebecca can offer impassioned family conversation. Good or bad, both Italian and Puerto Rican families are loud. I can offer drunken Irish arguing. Now, THAT is alarming ;)