For the most part, I think Chris’s family is pretty “normal” and friendly, the kind of family where people in general get along with some quirks and little tensions here and there. But I always sense that there’s a bit more rigidity and formality among relatives on his mom’s side. She has one of her two sisters who lives in Melbourne, and she and her husband came late (i.e. AFTER the party ended yesterday) for Kaia’s birthday party. They arrived just past 6pm. When she came in, I heard her telling Chris’s mom:
“Tony said that you told everyone the party was from 1-6pm and to come any time, but you told me to come between 3-6!” she exclaimed, sounding slightly exasperated and annoyed.
Chris’s mom: Well, CJ wanted it casual and just wanted to give a big window for people to come and go.
I don’t get that response, but either way….
Regardless, if someone tells you that a party is happening from 1-6 OR 3-6, and to come any time in between, doesn’t that mean that the END time is 6pm, so why the hell would you come at 6pm and get mad?
I hadn’t seen this aunt and uncle in three years. Granted, they are not my favorite people to see, but I’m always friendly when I do see them. As soon as they walked in, his aunt came to give me a hug, and I said, “It’s so nice to finally see you again after three years!”
Her response? “It’s so nice to finally see you as parents! What took you so long?”
If I weren’t polite and just wanted to be blunt, I would have said, “A lot of things… other priorities, career, fertility problems, IVF, but hey, who’s keeping track?” but instead I just brushed it off and ignored it. That sounded like a comment I’d get from one of my rude Chinese or Vietnamese relatives, but instead, it’s coming from Chris’s aunt, who thinks that all children owe their parents grandchildren as some sort of debt to be paid.
Her youngest son came a bit afterwards, and he not only has not had children, but isn’t married, which she clearly is not thrilled about. They have an older son who recently got married, but no kids yet. Chris’s aunt started ranting about her lack of grandchildren.
“All of my sisters have grandchildren now, and I don’t!” she complained. “Tom, when are you going to give us a grandchild?”
Tom looked around helplessly and then uttered his older brother’s name, implying, why isn’t the focus on him?
“Well, he’s not here now, so that’s why we’re focusing on YOU now!” his mom insisted.
The thing about comments like this is…. maybe it’s frustrating for Tom because he wishes he had a life partner and kids. Or maybe he doesn’t care. And regardless, why did he have to get the third degree from his mother in front of the rest of us to witness? It’s so rude. And when I was trying to conceive and getting stupid, senseless comments like this, these comments pissed me off, but a more sensitive version of myself would have been really hurt. People of their generation don’t seem to understand that people don’t just get married just like that. They don’t get pregnant right away just trying once or twice, or even a hundred times thanks to increasing levels of sub fertility across both men and women in all age groups. And for a lot of people, maybe they don’t care to get married or have kids. And we should respect our children for the people they actually are, not who we want them to be for ourselves.