My parents have always encouraged spending time with family. We aren’t a huge family but bigger on my mother’s side who is one of five children and my sister and I have quite a few cousins. My dad’s side is smaller with no cousins. My mother has always had a thing for encouraging us to spend time with our cousins, frowning if I didn’t drop what I was doing to take part in their plans. A really sweet cousin who I haven’t seen in years recently caught up with me at my sister’s birthday party last year and my mother has made it her mission that we spend more time together. “Don’t lose contact” she keeps urging at a relative that lives a few kilometers away. As if the lady is about to depart for another planet at any given moment.
The thing is, most of us are almost the same age and should get on and spend time together having a few laughs. I’ve always made the effort. I friended them on Facebook first. I initiate contact most of the time and I look the other way at the nastiness one cousin seems adamant at displaying. I don’t know what I’ve done to piss this younger cuzzie off so badly but the list must be meters long if the way she treats me is anything to go by. She is one of those bullies who plays mind games – makes plans, cancels, re-makes and cancels because she can. She forces you into buying things to support her ‘charities’, then looks at disgust at your donation and refuses to say thank you. I didn’t know I’d have to empty my wallet at a friend’s braai to buy stickers so I don’t usually carry hundreds of Rands on me. Lesson learnt. Still not sure why she tried to force me to buy second hand nail polish from her but that must have been another of her causes. She went overseas a couple of years ago and has blatantly ignored me on Facebook ever since. I’m the naive idiot who still wishes her for her birthday, congratulates her on a new job, likes a few posts. She snubs me in the most obvious of ways and my mother looks the other way. Or says what a pity that there is this ‘atmosphere’ between us two. As if I deliberately put it there.
Her older brother and I have always gotten on well. He also moved overseas but we stay in contact on FB. Lately I see he ignores everything I post and neither brother or sister wish my husband for his birthday. They do go out of their way to wish every single human being they know though so it is hard to miss the snub.
I’ve been limiting my time on FB lately. I don’t feel it is the ‘friendly’ place it was when I joined. If I go on every few days, I check for birthdays so I don’t miss anyone’s (the irony), visit close friends pages and then log off. By limiting my time online I missed my elder cousin’s baby’s birthday.
It was an honest mistake. He is the same cousin who laughed at not knowing our late cousin’s children’s names. He never even attended her funeral. He is one of those people who think they are above giving any time or thought to family but he is livid I didn’t wish his daughter? So in true modern style retaliation he unfriended my husband and I on Facebook.
Like, wow – unfriended by your own family? Is that even allowed? I have the most loud and in-your-face colleague in the world who has 25 mood swings before lunchtime and we are friends on Facebook. But a cousin who I’ve grown up with and seen loads over the years unfriends me for not liking his kid’s birthday pics? Grow up!
And it hit me today that just because your parents are siblings doesn’t mean the offspring of your aunts and uncles have to be your friends. In real every day life or on Facebook.