- 2 years ago
- Wedding: August 2015
If I could have one wish, it would be a normal drama-free family. My Mum was married when she went away for work and had an affair. I was the result. Her marriage broke up and her and my dad tried to establish a relationship, but it only lasted until about a month after I was born. Dad then moved overseas and my childhood was filled with hate between the two of them, custody battles, my mum forbidding me to associate with my dad and calling me a traitor and a Judas if I answered a phone call from him on my birthday and I didn’t see my dad for 9 years. I myself was estranged from my mum for a couple of years when I moved out of home at 16 due to abuse. Anytime something came up where everyone was surrounded by family (birthdays, high scool graduation, engagement etc) I usually had no parents there, or my mum.
This was something I was stressing about thinking of my upcoming wedding, especially since FI has such a large, strong, tight knit family. Imagine my shock and relief when my mum says to me out of the blue “I understand if you ask your father to walk you down the aisle. It will be a very special time for you and I understand that he will have to be a part of it”
Then I get this email from my dad. Below is an excerpt.
“Don’t get the wrong idea but I must admit, I feel very uneasy about attending the wedding if *my mums name* is there. I’m not at all suggesting she should not be – she has to be there and it’s not an option that she is not – but I remember the boycott of your 21<sup>st</sup> and that was just with Grandma there. I don’t want any friction to spoil the day. Weddings should be all about love and the better side of human nature. You’ll have to talk me through how this will be managed.
It’s still a long way off so I’m thinking we will get a chance to discuss at length and face-to-face sometime later in the year. Don’t worry, however it’s worked out it will be a special time.“
The 21st my dad is referring to is that he very generously gave me a large cash amount to host a proper 21st birthday as he could not attend. I invited all my local family which includes my mum and several others of her family members, and my Great Uncle and second cousin from my dad’s side. I also invited my Grandma (dad’s mum) who has always had my best interests at heart while these two have warred. She lives interstate and dropped everything to be there. When my mum found out that grandma was invited (my mum doesn’t have any legitimate reason to hate her), her and all her side of the family (9 people) did not come. They didn’t even tell me they weren’t attending so I wasted catering costs on 9 people. I had approx 20 members of FI’s family there and 3 family members of my own, two who are only distant relatives (though we are close) I was so embarrassed that I had to explain to FI’s family why my own hadn’t attended.
I spoke to my grandma about the email, and she said that when dad visited the country last month (drove from the top of Australia to the bottom and didn’t have time to pop into my state and see me mind you) he had raised his concerns and had asked my Grandma if it was perhaps better if he and my step-mum and siblings (who I adore- especially mum stepmum) didn’t attend. Grandma of course said hell no, you have to go and he said he wasn’t sure what he’d do but if he didn’t attend he’d give me a large gift to make up for it, in addition to paying for most of the wedding. My dad is extremely wealthy so this isn’t a sacrifice for him. He is sending my brother to a $30,000 a year school next year and my wedding will only come to $18,500, for which I don’t know how much he is contributing yet (but that’s another story, tells everyone but me he will pay for the whole thing before even knowing a budget, tells me he will “pay his contribution” but then when I tried to press him for a sum or percentage so I can plan accordingly, he fobs it off.)
I sent him back an email explaining what my mother had said, and that I hope they could all attend and be civil to each other or just not speak, for my sake. That was a week ago and he hasn’t replied.
I just feel so sad. Is it too much to ask to expect my relatives to make this sacrifice for me? FI’s family have their troubles but they always believe in blood is thicker than water and work it out. They have welcomed me into their fold and I love being a part of their family, but it really reminds me of how crappy my own family is. My dad is justifiably nervous about my mum… the last time they came into contact was 12 years ago where my mum burst into grandmas house with my passport, ripped it into shreds in front of him while he was in bed and screamed at him he’d never see me again, then lit a fire on my grandmas porch. She has a couple of screws a bit loose but is trying really hard to behave, though in reality I have no idea how she’ll behave at the time. She goes from normal to crazy and violent in 1 second.
I just wish there was a way I could work it out.