July 24, 2016

Family over all

Today I was in Northern Denmark for my dad's cousin Connie's 70th birthday.
The party was held at an inn and a really pretty one at that. From the outside it looked nothing special but the room was like a ball room and three waiters standing in line greeted us the moment we stepped inside. The 50 guests were seated around biiiig round tables with white table cloths, colourful flower arrangements, tall candelabras, and a fancy table setting with three plates including a silver platter so shiny that you could see your own reflection in it, two forks, two knives, and three glasses.
There was a musician, a man around his 60's, playing guitar and singing while a mixer accompanied him in the background. He played all those songs that the elder generation liked and made sure we'd toast at least once evert 15-20th minute.
Some of her friends held a speech and others had made a song. Connie's half sister's grandchild even had her friends from the local drum majorettes come and play a couple of songs, bringing both Connie, my grandpa, and my dad to tears.
There was a free bar and a buffet table from where we grabbed our starters, main course, and dessert.
To me that was the perfect setting for a nice 70th birthday party.
Between starters and the main course, Connie stood up and walked around to all the tables, presenting each and every single person, talking about where from she knew them and the things she admired them for. Connie's husband died 5,5 years ago yet people like his best friend and partner back when he started his own company both attended the party and had brought their wives. It was clear that she was a much loved person and if we didn't already know that, her friends made it clear in the speech.
It's only been some 4 years since we got in contact with that branch of the family and a LOT has happened to them during those years. Let me tell you this: Connie is one of the most selfless and humble people I have ever met. She's that kind of old lady who will make way too much food because she wants to make sure that you won't be hungry. And then she'll bring out the dessert. She will wake up in the middle of the night to pick up her grandchildren and drive them home from wherever they are when their parents are too busy, which we will get back to later. Yesterday when the party ended we drove back to Connie's house to stay for the night and although she wanted to change into less warm and formal clothes, it took her half an hour because she kept asking us if we were thirsty or wanted better chairs or if we were hungry etc. etc.
Now this woman. This great woman deserves nothing but the best, right?
But she does get that. She get's a lot **** from her family and I just cannot stand it. Here's a shortened down version of what happened about 4 yeats ago:
Connie's husband (and a partner) started their own packing company and Connie's daughter and the latter's husband took over at some point. However, the daughter's husband has his own company so I guess she was mostly in charge of this one. Connie's brother, Preben, was also working in that company. Connie's daughter then goes and fires her own uncle and hires some other man. She starts doing a lot to her looks like gets braces, starts working out and losing weight, and has a surgery to remove fat and/or skin. She also hires some other man instead of her uncle. Now she and this man go out for dinner sometimes after working late. Connie's starts to suspect that something is up and confronts her daughter - who gets mad and tells her that she's wrong. Connie goes to the daughter's husband but he doesn't believe her and gets mad at her too. He eventually finds out and it comes to a divorce. Both are still mad at Connie and refuse to move out of the house that they share with their three kids. They live like this for a while and at some point they are both bringing their new partners into their home, creating chaos for the kids. 4 years later the daughter has moved out but both parents are mad at each other and are partly blaming Connie.
Back to the story!
Yesterday, on Connie's actual birthday, her very own daughter didn't show up. Neither did the ex-husband although both were invited. The daughter came to the party, let her kids off, and drove back home without as much as just one word to her mom. She didn't even walk inside to see her.
Right, I don't know what exactly Connie has said to them but no matter how I see it, this is the fault of the daughter and ex-husband.
The daughter was married but had an affair and once the truth was out, the two fought in front of their kids, brought home each of their own new partners, and refused to leave the house - like little kids. Their behavior is childish and selfish and it's so very very clear that all three kids have taken so much damage from this. The girl so much that she STARTED CUTTING HERSELF!! SHE WAS 13 WHEN THIS MADNESS BEGAN. And where were the parents in all this? Idk probably out with their new other halves. It disgusts me+
The boys fight and mostly sit inside now while all three of them don't visit Connie as much as they used to because they have heard their parents speak bad about her all the time.
Nonetheless the kids were there for the party yesterday.
Not long before the party ends, the musician asks Connie and her grandkids to go to the middle of the room because he's going to play a song that's called something along the lines of 'Kære lille mormor' (dear little grandma). The youngest of the two boys get up while his cousins instantly goes to Connie and grabs her hand. Now you have the three of them dancing away while everyone's watching - the now 16-year-old girl too.
This is a big moment for Connie but two of her four grandkids are not there with her. My aunt and uncle cut contact with my own grandparents as well so I knew very well how Connie felt at that moment and went over to the girl. I asked why she wasn't dancing. Told her that the divorce had been hard on Connie, that this was her big day and that I thought (*cough* knew *cough*) that it was important moment for Connie and that it would mean a lot to her if she got up and joined them dancing. The girl said: "Yea, but it was kind of her own fault. She could've just not pried in so much."
In the end she got up and joined in on the last 20 seconds of the song. The last boy stayed back.
HOW CAN THIS NOT BE CONNIE'S DAUGHTER'S FAULT?! How can she put those words in the mouth of a simple 16-year-old girl who is so easily manipulated?!
I'm not friends with any of this girl's parents on Facebook but I wish they'd somehow stumble upon my blog some day and read this. I hope they'll finally open their eyes to their family around them and realize how much chaos they have caused. How many people they have hurt.
My feelings of disappointment and disgust are not as strong as yesterday afternoon when I first began writing this post and I don't clearly remember the analogy I cane up with anymore.
But my points were to treasure your family while you have them.
Especially your grandparents. It's limited how many friends they have around and for some, grandchildren truly are the best elements in their lives.
Just because you don't get along with someone, even family members, doesn't mean that your kids can. And don't put the blame on others when you were the problem from the begining. Act like a grown-up.
I haven't always been the nicest to my mom or dad but I believe I've grown more patient and understanding over the years.
It's okay to want to focus on yourself sometimes but remember that you're not the center of the universe. Family is what you can always turn to if everything else fails. So treasure what you have.

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