I was going to delete this post because I did spend a pleasant couple of hours at my brother's house. He had cancelled his tennis match (he says) and the rest of the family was there after all - eventually. I decided to leave the post as it stands, to remind myself of how I can get so upset, and how it's always led to drinking. If I'd had a drink this afternoon after the 'phone call I'd have gone round in a bad mood. As it was, I'd accepted that this was all I was going to see of them over Christmas so I'd better make the most of it. I'm still disappointed though.
I don't know why I'm even surprised at my family - this happens almost every time I have any contact with them.
'My family' consists of my brother, his wife and their 2 children. They live about a mile away and I see them if I drop in on them - I'm never invited there for a meal or anything. My sister-in-law's mother is there every week from about 40 miles away to spend the day and have a meal with them.
Anyway, they are off to Thailand this Christmas - they leave on Thursday. I asked when I was going to see them so that I could give the girls their presents and my sister-in-law said Monday - today. Then I got an email to say that my brother and my eldest niece would be out so there would just be 2 of them. Not the whole family then. I've taken the day off today and called to say that I could come round earlier so that I could see all of them and it turns out that my younger niece is going out as well, and my sister-in-law is going into town! My elder niece is poorly so isn't going out after all, so, as my sister-in-law said, 'Come round anyway. Someone will be here to let you in.'
Well, merry Christmas, family. You go off to have a lovely time in Thailand. Don't even bother to set aside one evening for me. I've been good enough for years and years to babysit, I've been good enough to drop everything whenever my elder niece (now 16) has a boyfriend crisis, but I'm not good enough for you to spare one evening before Christmas. Thanks. Merry bloody Christmas to you.
If I'd had this kind of telephone conversation with my sister-in-law last Christmas I'd have hung up and promptly poured myself a rum and coke and made myself even more depressed, but I'm not going to do it today. All I'd be doing is adding a hangover to the disappointment.
It hurts me to say this, but I'll say it anyway. They are not worth it.