Today, my heart is breaking.
For the past few weeks, ever since we received what we believed to be a wedding invitation, CJ has been in a bit of a funk. One of his brothers is getting married to his long-time, live-in girlfriend. Initially, CJ was a little miffed his brother had not asked him to be in the wedding party. (And I was miffed about the no children rule. Where am I supposed to scrounge up a babysitter for three children while in another state? Everyone I knew would be at the wedding…)
Anyway, CJ finally began feeling better after a conversation with his parents a few weeks later. Turns out it wasn’t actually a wedding invitation, it was a reception invite. They were going to be getting married earlier in the week (today, to be exact) and then the party on Saturday. He was a little sad his brother and soon to be sister-in-law were choosing not to share their nuptials, but he took solace in the fact he wasn’t be excluded from anything.
Well, this turned out not to be true. He was being excluded. And in a truly hurtful way. Last night, while talking to his parents about timing specifics to give our sitter, he discovered something awful. Today, while his brother gets married – parents, grandparents, siblings, nieces, and nephews will all be in attendance. And CJ wasn’t even invited. I understand that maybe they were thinking of the fact it would be hard for him to come in the middle of the week, blah, blah, blah…but the simple fact of the matter is they did not invite him AT ALL. To even give some semblance of pretending they wished he could be there for the event.
He was heartbroken. He doesn’t even want to go anymore. I have convinced him it is the right thing to do (plus, I don’t want to cancel the babysitter I worked so hard to get), but he is still finding ways to rebel. He refuses to shave. He knows his family, especially his mother, is not overly fond of his beard. He wants it loud and proud in any wedding photos – “If I’m even in any.” He wants to drive separately from his family so he can leave at his earliest convenience and not be beholden to anyone.
I truly understand how he feels. When my one and only sister got married in 2008, I was not invited. She has given me many excuses since then, but that’s really all they are. Excuses. And unfortunately, I have been bitter about it ever since. When CJ and I got married in 2010, my mother really fought with me over the inclusion of my sister in the wedding party – my retort being, “She’s lucky she was even invited.” Well, she was in the wedding party, but my best friend was my maid of honor. Since she had introduced CJ and I, she deserved that spot anyway. Sometimes the bitterness even gets turned up a few notches when my plans with my sister get blown off so she can hang out with her best friend – who was invited to her wedding.
I don’t know how to make CJ feel better. I try not to cry in front of him because I know he is upset enough. I cry for me, remembering how I felt and still feel. I cry for CJ, knowing exactly how he will feel today and the days after today. I cry for the relationship with his brother that will always be tainted by this because I know for a fact that it will be. There’s no coming back from this. The willful exclusion of a family member from a major life event is altering.
Never would I wish this feeling onto anyone. Seeing CJ suffer with it wounds me almost more than when it happened to me.
I hope he is able to move past it. I hope he is able to approach his brother with more grace than I had with my sister. I hope he can forgive.