Yesterday night, after dinner, I had to break my mother’s heart. She asked me what I was bringing to Thanksgiving this year and I answered her question with a question.
“Is Gina coming?”
“Yes,” she answered.
“Then we’re not coming.”
She didn’t have to ask why. She goes to the same church my sister does. She’s seen my sister change from a loving person to a hate-filled bigot over the course of the past ten years. Mom’s witnessed it all, has even defended her on multiple occasions. She didn’t defend her yesterday, though. She didn’t call Gina and tell her she couldn’t come to Thanksgiving either. Because it’s perfectly all right for me and my family to feel unwanted. God forbid Gina feels unwelcome.
To give you a brief example of what my middle sister is like, I must take you back in time to September of this year, the most recent fuckery involving Gina, and the final time I spoke to my sister. We were all seated at a large table – we being: me, my wife Chelle, my two children Autumn (13 and gay, that’s gonna be important here in a minute) and Chris (6), my mother, my oldest sister Tammy, my middle sister Gina, and Gina’s husband, hillbilly extraordinaire, Thomas. Our waiter was a pleasant dude with a man-bun. For fifteen minutes straight, Gina commented on the man and his “faggy” haircut. Thomas joined in, and they shared a moment of redneck bliss as they mocked this guy who was simply doing his job. I said something to my sister and her response was to call me a “libtard”. I was “too sensitive” and needed to “grow a sense of humor.”
Needless to say, we left. I wasn’t about to get in a fight in a public restaurant, especially not in central Alabama, where the majority of diners in this restaurant were likely to be on my sister’s side of things. I consoled my daughter, who had came out as gay to us and her grandmother last year. That young woman is brave, lemme tell ya. She knew we’d support her, but telling my ultra-religious mother, man, that took guts. I’m a very proud father. After Gina’s “faggy” comments, Autumn told me she still loved Gina, and that, friends neighbors, broke my fucking heart, because my asshole sister doesn’t deserve my child’s love.
This isn’t the first time Gina and I have been on the outs over her saying some hateful shit. Her son once posted a racist meme of a black man with enlarged lips. The capture read, “The lost Ninja Turtle, N****tello.” I saw the picture on his Facebook and immediately called him. He responded by saying I needed to calm down. “Ain’t like I was talking about your wife.” I told him I didn’t appreciate it, no matter who he was talking about, and he hung up on me. That’s the last time I’ve spoken with him. I then called Gina to tell her I didn’t want the racist douchebag anywhere near the house, and she couldn’t understand why I was so upset. “It’s not like Chelle acts like a n*****.” Hard E-R there. No A. Not that it would have made much of a difference to me how she’d said that word, just her saying it was enough to piss me off, but she was so comfortable with the hard E-R version of the word that I was stunned speechless. I knew she was a close-minded religious nut. She’s been that way for almost a decade, but this racist side of her was new. At least new to me. She’s always been nothing but pleasant to Chelle, and my good friend Chris, who my son’s named after. I never would’ve imagined that she was so well acquainted with such a nasty fuckin word.
Needless to say, I was upset. She didn’t see the problem and refused to even talk about it. I resorted to saying my kids wouldn’t be coming over to play with her grandkids again because I didn’t want them around in case she decided to let words like that fly. She laughed me off and gave me a “whatever.”
Time passed, but time does not, as they say, heal all wounds. In my heart I’d lost a sibling, and I don’t think she realized how serious I was. I’m not one to blindly accept blood relations based simply on their familial ties to me. You must earn my respect and love. She lost both with the flippant use of the N-word. The point of no return was her bigoted diatribe about our waiter and his choice of hair style.
Fast forward to last night and my mother asking if I was bringing anything to dinner. I told her I was sorry, and I was sorry. I was sorry she had to watch a wedge be driven between her children. I can’t imagine finding out that Chris doesn’t want to have anything to do with Autumn, but if Autumn acted like Gina has, Autumn would be the unwelcome one, not Chris. Just the way it would have to go.
Mom came to dinner tonight and said nothing more on the subject. She hadn’t talked to my sister, and isn’t going to. She knows as well as I do that something terrible has changed in Gina’s heart and that we’re helpless to fix it. The one thing we might be able to do is to ostracize Gina to the point she starts questioning her actions, but Mom’s not about to do that. Her children are always welcome for the holidays. If I want to uninvite myself, that’s on me, but she’s not about to give ultimatums. My mother is seventy-two. Last thing she wants to do is alienate one of her children in her final years.
Yes, I’m defending my mother. It’s what son’s are supposed to do. Am I hurt? Yeah. Is my heart broken? Fuck yeah. But I get it. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but I’ll get it down in time.
Hatred is acidic. It stains and corrodes. It dissolves. I wish I knew what the alkali was in this analogy, because love sure as shit ain’t it. I’ve only ever loved Gina. Now she’s just not worth it. Fuck her.
Before I sign out, I want to extend many thanks to all my wonderful friends and followers on Twitter. You guys helped boost my spirits and give me words of advice and reinforced my certainty that what I did was right. I’m gonna miss Thanksgiving with the bag of nuts that are my extended family, but I have my own family to worry about, and no one is worth the sorrow of my loved ones. Not even blood.
If you’re visiting a less than welcoming space this holiday season, I wish you all the best. But, seriously, they don’t deserve you. Take care of each other.