I miss you.
I've been Christmas shopping for your kids this week--or trying to--and it depresses the hell out of me that I'm really not their auntie.
I'm their blood relative. I'm your only sister. But I have a far, far closer relationship with my husband's niece and her kids than I ever will with your children.
Your wife has pushed you further and further away from our parents. They live just a few miles from you--yes, I know it's a drive from Brooklyn to the Bronx, but it's an easier trip for you and yours than it is for our dad at 89 and our mom at 78!
Your in-laws are a lot richer and a lot younger than our parents. But our parents were rich in love for us and I don't remember thinking of Daddy as old, even if he did have gray hair. We had so much FUN, the four of us!
Your father-in-law is a nice guy, but he never had to struggle for anything in his life, and it shows. I've never seen your mother-in-law w/o a glass of wine in her hand, and I know damn well that when they couldn't handle your wife, they just palmed her off on her grandparents. The same way she's palming her kids off on the maid....
Our parents live in an apartment in the Bronx where there's no room for your kids to run amok the way you let them do at home. Your wife doesn't discipline them at home and she doesn't want to have to look after them at our parents house, even though those visits would mean the world to Mom and Dad, and would be something your kids would remember in years to come. So you don't visit.
The Man and I live 250 plus miles away, but we are there every Thanksgiving and Christmas with the girls--did so even when they were little. We stay with them for 3-4 days. Our girls know and love their Grandma and Grandpa, just as they do their Tatay and did their Nanay. They are rich in that love, even if we don't have the money you do. It's a gift far more valuable than anything you buy your kids.
We do small things for them--the Man and I helped them set up their electric blanket at Thanksgiving. I help Dad with his computer. We've made small repairs and changed light bulbs and their gratitude is embarrassing. It's nothing. It's everyday things. It's things we'd do anytime if we lived nearby. And you do.
I know, you're busy with your high paying career and the kids are involved in 80 skadillion sports. But does the love our parents gave us as kids mean so little to you? Do I mean so little to you?
I miss you. I miss my silly, crazy brother who I fought with as a kid, but also played frisbee with, hunted frogs at the lake, laughed with at holidays.
Do you remember getting up in the dawn hours on Christmas one year and opening gifts before our folks got up? Do you remember leaving brownies for Santa and being thrilled by the notes he left?
Do you remember all of us watching the Yule Log on WPIX with just the tree lights on in the living room?
Do you remember when we were grownups, and you had your first car, and we proudly drove out to Jersey to buy Mom and Dad a new toaster oven?
Do you even remember being there when JR and Liam were babies, and we were still all together on holidays?
You're a stranger to me now. When we visited you at your house in the country last Christmas, I felt as if I was visiting someone I barely knew.
When your kids ran amok, and you didn't stop them, I cringed. When you went to the opposite extreme and yelled--YELLED in front of us--at your eldest for some minor infraction, I squirmed.
And your wife, knowing that we'd had breakfast at the hotel--the hotel we stayed in so we could come see you on your way home--didn't plan on lunch for us. We ate right after we left.
We're not stopping in this year. I'm leaving your kids' gifts with Mom and Dad, and hoping you'll visit them. And I'm sending you cookies this week. Sort of like the Halloween package I sent you in October--the one you never acknowledged. And I doubt if you'll acknowledge this one.
But I'll do it anyway. Because I love you.
And I miss you.
Especially at Christmas.
Your Big Sister