Yesterday was kind of hard. It was a not so fun Easter. First, the washing machine broke down on Friday night.
Did I mention that I HATE it when appliances break down? This is mostly because Bing flat out refuses to buy anything new when something breaks. She attempts to fix it. And she is not as handy as she thinks. This usually involves inviting our fix it man neighbor to come help her and while he is a nice guy, you can see it on his face that he tires of being the one we call ALL THE TIME. So...she calls a friend or some brother in law of a co-worker who once watched someone do something and thinks he can do it.
The results are less than stellar. When our dishwasher broke down two years ago, she called her uncle who was actually a good choice. He used to flip houses and is pretty good at fixing things. Trouble is...he is in his late seventies now. So..he came and told her that it was unfixable and that she needed to buy a new dishwasher. I was starting to like the guy. He offered to put in a new dishwasher if we got it home. So...thinking that we would save money by not having to pay to have it installed...we did just that. And he ended up somehow breaking the alarm system on our home. Don't ask me how, I don't know.
Then, the shower was leaking that one time and Bing went into the basement and into the crawlspace and tried to fix it from there. Sad ending.
So..whenever something breaks, I am concerned.
So...it was tense around the house this weekend, but the good news is that I think she may have fixed it...under the tutelage of our fix it guy neighbor.
But, it played havoc on her back. And then I woke up Saturday with a rheumatoid arthritis flare up in my left elbow, shoulder and wrist. By Sunday, it wasn't pretty and her back was still killing her.
But, she had an Easter gig, so bit the bullet. I went to the gig, made it half way through and decided to just give in and go home. I called my sister, Patrice, on the phone to tell her that we wouldn't be coming for Easter dinner.
She was clipped and snippy, but oh well.
Patrice hates it when something happens to upset her well laid plans.
So, we laid around for Easter. Later in the afternoon, I roused myself to take some flowers out to the graves of the people who owned our home before we did. I feel obligated to do this a few times a year, they were the ones who planted our gorgeous flowers in the first place.
I texted Patrice when I got back home. Still snippy. Sigh.
I put the phone down and told Bing that Patrice was still mad about us skipping Easter dinner. Bing was less than interested. She was actually thrilled when I texted her at her gig and told her that we'd be skipping it.
But, then, because Bing is Bing, she came and sat next to me on the sofa. Took my hand.
"You can't feel guilty about this," she said. I nodded.
"Honey, we are both out of sorts physically."
I said I knew that.
Finally, she put her shrink hat on.
"You know what Patrice's problem is?" she asked. I shrugged.
"She is a spoiled brat posing as an angel."
I looked up, interested.
"She LOVES being the family matriarch and HATES being bested. You and your other sisters talk about it. You know how Patrice gets all mad if one of you sisters doesn't tell her news first. You, Jessie and Celia joke about it all the time. ("God, pretend like you're surprised when Patrice tells you this. She'll get all snippy if she isn't told first....") Well, isn't that kind of babyish? And if you ask her why she's acting all cold and snippy, she'll deny it to her death that she's mad that she wasn't the first one to know something."
I nodded slowly. She is correct. No denying that. Patrice likes to be FIRST in the loop.
"And after your mom died, Celia (who never really left me to begin with) called RIGHT AWAY and you two were meeting for cake and coffee, etc. And then a few months later, Jessie called you, apologized for acting like a timid jackass by going along with the rule about disowning you as a family. And then...what? At least a year later, Patrice saw that Jessie and Celia were taking you in and she didn't want to be left out, so all of a sudden, there she was. We lived in the same city with her for years and she didn't bother looking you up and then...snap...all of a sudden, she is not only calling you, but wanting to go with you to your doctor's visits to learn more about your RA. Do you really think she would have contacted you again if Celia and especially, Jessie, hadn't?"
I thought about that. Don't know. And it is one of those things that I will never know. I forgave my sisters a long time ago for those silent years because carrying that kind of pain inside of me was not healthy. Best to just try and forgive. And, God...I missed them all so much.
Bing went on. "And then a few years ago, at some family gathering, everyone was going on and on about how they love all the cards you send for birthdays, etc. because they are so beautiful, so sly, so perfect...and what happens next? PATRICE starts making homemade cards for everyone."
I hold my hand up. Counter. "She said that it was because she hated spending money on cards," I said.
Bing rolled her eyes. "Maria, she is richer than GOD. She has that huge inheritance from your mother that she never offered to give you one thin dime of."
"I don't want her money!" I shrieked. I was feeling defensive. And I always feel as if I have to stand up for my family. I was raised that way. Someone goes against a sister, they go against you.
Bing smiled, hugged me. "Ok...uncle. I'll shut up."
I cuddled close. "I guess...I just feel so guilty. She worked hard to make that dinner and then we didn't show up."
Bing had reached her patience limit. "MARIA! We were ILL. And we weren't the only ones invited. At least 10 other people were coming. Minus two was nothing! For godsakes...and you are making yourself feel guilty. No one else can make you feel guilty. That is something you do to yourself."
I kissed her chin.
"When did you get so wise, missy? Maybe you should have gone into psychiatry instead of teaching music."
"Naw," she said. "I wanted to get rich and shit so I became a teacher..."
She went off to do her own thing then but she left me with lots of food for thought. My sisters don't read my blog anymore...so no worries about hurting her feelings. But...I'm curious. What do you think? And tell me about the dynamics of your relationship with your siblings. Is it possible to love them with all of your heart and want to smack them too?
What do YOU think?