Pages

Bowing Out

An email arrives from my father's girlfriend, asking if I'd like to chip in on Memorial Day flowers for my father's grave.  The email has also been sent to my two sisters.  "Sure", I write back, "that sounds nice; let me know how much money to send." 

It isn't long before a second email arrives from her... "Your younger sister says she has it already covered, and doesn't feel there's a need for more than one arrangement." 

"Ok," I respond, "whatever works for her is fine with me."

A day later an email arrives from my older sister, cc'ing her response to dad's girlfriend that she'd like to chip in, and asking what my thought are on it.  I write her back, telling her it seems that little sister has the situation under control and I think it's best to leave it that way (a subtle way of saying that I am bowing out of the issue.)

Today a follow-up email comes from dad's girlfriend.  It says she went to the cemetery yesterday and a Memorial Day arrangement is already in place, presumably the one placed there by my younger sister.  Ok then, that covers it.

Any of you who've been reading hear for some time, will remember an earlier incident, not too many  months after my father's passing three years ago, in which who would be doing cemetery decorations when and paid for how became an issue of contest.  Then a year or so ago there was a similar showdown over the purchase of a tree for cemetery landscaping project.  We all chipped in on that, but my older and younger sister sparred of which kind of tree was to be selected from the list.  I bowed out on that one too, saying that I'd be happy with whichever tree was chosen.

Similar scenarios between me and my two sisters have played out for all of our lives (and we are now all over the age of fifty).  Everything has to be  a contest of wills, someone must be right and someone wrong, someone has to win and someone has to loose - compromise is out of the question. 

In years past I was often drawn into such frays, being the middle-child I  became the center-point in the tug of war; to win me over to your side was to have the advantage.  In recent years, I've learned the folly of allowing myself to take sides and be sucked into the game.  Whatever they decide is fine with me. I may have an opinion or a preference, but I'm not about to state it if it means that one will feel victorious over the other and yet another contest of wills, and volley of nasty email exchanges will commence.

I've learned that, in the big picture of life, who buys the flowers, or which tree is planted on the hill is incredibly unimportant. I am happy that it gets done; how they work it out is up to them to decide. Most often it's easiest to let my little sister have her way, she is the most emotional of us three, and the most likely to ramp up the level of drama.  My older sister can also be quite stubborn and set on having it her way, and is prone to unpredictable outbursts.  Almost always the issues at contest are as petty as who buys the flowers for dad's grave this year or who didn't handle something  right twenty years ago!

I close the last email, then shake my head sadly.  I'm sure mom and dad are doing the same in Heaven.  Some things never change.  Is it any wonder that it is so hard to bring peace to the world, when three sisters can't find a way to collaborate on flowers?  Sometimes I'm ashamed to admit I'm related... and they wonder why I keep my emotional distance and have chosen for all these years to live so far away from home. They can be in charge of flowers, I will honor my father with memories of my own.

10 comments:

  1. Sounds like you're taking the right approach. I've seen too many families torn apart by pettiness and stubbornness over simple things like that. The sparring is usually fueled by something deeper than the simple topic which is being fought over, but no one wants to address the real cause of angst.
    I'm sure it hurts your heart to see your family do this to each other, and there's not a darn thing you can do about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are exactly right, this is just another skirmish in a contest of wills that has been going on for decades, a silly power struggle. I want no part of the drama.

      Delete
  2. Sometimes all you can do is bow out. I am a middle child, but it was the opposite for me. I bowed out. I hate drama and will not partake, as you know. You are doing the right thing for yourself, but also out of respect. I am sure Dad wouldn't approve of the arguing, and knows how you feel about him. Hug.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are absolutely right, McGuffy Ann, the absurdity of arguing over a cemetery memorial arrangement for a loved one is not lost on me. Some things never change. I'm sure Dad is deeply disappointed that this pettiness continues on. I have no energy or desire to play their game.

      Delete
  3. Bowing out is exactly what you need to do. It's just not that important to play the game they love to play. That's on them. You don't need the stress and you are taking the right approach. I'm sorry that you have to be part of the drama though.

    Have a terrific day honey and do something nice for you today. Big hugs. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely right Sandee, in the big picture of life, who gets to buy the flowers is hardly a top ten issue! Somebody just do it, and apparently "somebody" did, so the point is mute, and I'm so glad that ends it (of course it doesn't end the grumbling, but I refuse to listen and they know that).

      Delete
  4. You would think that at their age your sisters would grow out of that petty crap and concede to the likes of kindness and respect.

    I think bowing out is the responsible decision. Clearly more mature than bickering over a flower arrangement for a loved one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right Dan, it is absurd for that they continue to behave as if they are in grade school fighting over whose turn it is to do the dishes! I never cease to be amazed at the things they can turn into conflicts, neither one is ever willing to back down... and yet both would tell you I am the contrary one, because I refuse to play in the game at all. I did for years and got tired of being torn up over family drama all the time. No I keep a healthy distance and I'm much happier for doing so. And would it really be a horrendous crime if two people placed flowers on the grave? Where is that forbidden? But no, neither one can accept that possibility either!

      Delete
  5. I'm with you I moved away from all of them, they live in Tenn. I live in Calif. Have a good week

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same here, Lucky Lady! I moved a thousand miles away, and though I miss them sometimes, it has turned out to be the wiser choice by far!

      Delete

Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)