Yesterday, my sister graduated. It was such a cool feeling to see her walk across the stage and know that I’m blessed enough to have such a cool sister/family! It was really amazing. At the end, all the graduates are running around trying to find their families and it’s always super confusing (I think that part is secretly the final test the high school administers). While we were standing their we ran into my sister’s godmother who came from out of town and one of my old friends from high school. We also ran into a very unexpected visitor who will get their very own post today!
I’d rather not air out all the dirty laundry – partially because it’s not really my laundry – but I will say that over the years there have been some…moments, with my aunt. I don’t think it’s really surprising or shameful – even the first family had problems – but it has been difficult at times. So when my aunt showed up at my sister’s graduation, everyone was surprised, my dad was really happy, but I was a little confused as to how I should respond. Do I act as though nothing has happened and laugh and smile like in years past? Or do I act standoffish and remain cautious (I was pretty sure this wasn’t the answer but that didn’t stop me from feeling the urge to react that way)?
Allow me to explain: I can’t actually go into the details of what led to this years-long silence from my aunt because I don’t actually know the details. I’ve gotten bits and pieces about the drama from my mom but my dad doesn’t talk about it too much. Either way, I don’t really care since it seems like it doesn’t really involve me and I do think she probably felt justified in her actions. I’m fully aware of the fact that the side of the story I get is always one-sided (although not purposely) so I’m not at all saying that she overreacted or misinterpreted some things. People have feelings and they react differently to some stuff. ‘Nuff said. The part that’s hard for me to deal with is that with her silence towards my dad there was also a silence towards me and my siblings.
I guess the last sentence is pretty obvious. It’s also a little selfish-sounding. I don’t think I can dispute that because I can’t help but admit that my feelings do come from a kind of selfish place. When I was younger, my aunt was my favorite aunt. I thought she was so awesome. We would hang out together, play basketball together (I used to play basketball a lot, with a lot of people) and just chill. She was the best. She was really funny but also really chill and part of me couldn’t help but think we were pretty similar. She and my dad were also really close so it was great because we would go to her house a lot and hang out with our cousins and they would come to our house too. But then, a few years ago, things started changing. We saw each other less frequently and we stopped hanging out. My siblings and I tried to keep in contact with our cousins but even that got too difficult. We stopped getting Christmas cards and birthday cards and contact basically ended. In fact, before yesterday, it had been 4 years since I had seen my aunt.
It’s probably been 10 years since I’ve really talked to my aunt. In that time, a lot has changed. I basically stopped playing basketball, I grew a few inches (but not many), and I graduated from high school. And the last part is what hurt the most. One of my favorite people in the world wasn’t there to see me graduate so seeing her at my sister’s graduation was a reminder of that. And part of me felt like the little 11 year-old girl again. That same part of me wanted to react like an 11 year-old girl. I wanted to be happy to see her but I couldn’t help but feel betrayed by everything that happened.
I know that whatever separated my aunt from my family probably had very little to do with me, in fact my dad was most affected by it. And seeing him light up when she came really made me smile. I know he was hurt the most by whatever transpired, but he forgave the fastest. Meanwhile, I’m sitting here, heartbroken, because she never called. I know right now I need to forgive but I guess I’ve never felt truly hurt before because it’s never been this difficult.
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”