This morning I received an email from my mum:
[…] This morning we are driving to […] to N. and his family, where we are invited for little P.’s baptism. It will be a family reunion – maybe you have heard. […] We assumed that the journey would be too time-consuming/expensive for you – considering that you only have a few days off.
I was really annoyed and a little bit hurt by what she wrote.
First off, no, I hadn’t heard. They hadn’t told me so who would I have heard it from? It is frustrating but when it comes to these family gatherings, my brother and I never get invited directly, only via our parents, so unless they tell me (us), I won’t know about them.
My brother still lives in Munich so he is generally more involved in family meetings/events, always has been. I have essentially not lived in Munich for more than 3-4 months at a time since I started uni, so the situation is not all new to me. Because I have not lived in Munich for a while, I have missed out on quite a few visits from our relatives. I haven’t seen most of them in a few years now.
It stings a little because I didn’t actually know that my cousin and his wife were expecting another child until after P. was born and my parents forwarded me an email from N.’s dad (my uncle) announcing the birth. This was about 1.5 years ago while I was still living in Germany, so you can’t blame it all on my living abroad.
Back to my mum’s email. , Back then, it was P.’s birth, and now it’s his baptism no one told me about.
My family isn’t super close, we all live quite far apart (although you can’t blame it all on the distance either), and you know, my mum is right, I/we probably wouldn’t have come, but nevertheless, it would have been nice if I had at least been invited and if the decision had been left to me.
I don’t think my parents are trying to exclude me, they have always been terribly practical and unemotional about family affairs, especially being that we are all not that close anyway. But in the end they do make me feel excluded. Yes, I live abroad, but really, these days that doesn’t mean much, and the UK isn’t really that far from Germany. With enough advance notice, combining a visit with a family event is definitely possible and it would have been in this case too (we were even both off work). It’s not like I live in Australia, and flights back home are ridiculously expensive.
I have a friend back home, and she and her boyfriend have made a point of inviting me to their birthday parties despite my living here. They know I won’t be able to come and I know I won’t be able to come, but it is so nice that they invite me anyway. It really means a lot to me to see that they think of me and that just because I live in another country doesn’t mean I am a part of their lives anymore.
I haven’t written back to my mum yet, but I am planning to tell her that I wish they would have told me about this sooner and not just made an assumption as to whether or not I would come. That even though I live in Edinburgh doesn’t mean I am out of the world, and that it did hurt me a little that they made this decision for me without even asking. It’s not about whether or not they made the right decision for me, it’s about how it makes me feel that I essentially didn’t even get invited. I am 30 years old, shouldn’t they just leave these decisions to me? I really hope my parents will be understanding and hopefully include me a little more in the future, because I don’t see myself moving back to Germany any time soon and I would hate to grow apart from them (even more).
If you also live far away from your family, have you ever made a similar experience?