Reunions and Other Dramas

December 17, 2006 at 8:40 pm 17 comments

When Pap and I were first married, the clan was in one of those stagnant periods.  Pap is the oldest son of the oldest son, the original William had passed away.  There were about six little kids, a smattering of teenagers and a crop of young adults.  We fit in two rooms comfortably.  Yesterday, there were 43 numbers in the gift exchange (one for each person aged 13 or up) and when we made all the kids go downstairs it looked like a prison camp.  Every young woman that wasn’t holding a baby, was expecting a baby.  There is ONE little boy in the 12 and under group .  The 13-30’s are a huge group.  There are FOUR boys, but only two who’ll carry on the name.  When I say we’re matriarchial, I’m not kidding.  This overabundance of woman presents its own  unique set of problems for the men in our family.  We fully expect them to be manly, Scot descendants…while staying in touch with their feminine side.  So we can understand them, and know how to get our way.  Its been working for several generations, wouldn’t you know its campbell-kids.jpgMY SON that decides to throw a monkey wrench into our carefully crafted family dynamic.  That’s him smiling in the middle of my gaggle of daughters.  This was taken in 1994, they were 7,9,11, 13 and 14.  That used to be how happy he always was.  Bill was the kind of kid you could count on to brighten your day.  Then he grew up, and went away to college… and developed HIS OWN OPINION.  You can’t imagine the shame of having one of the only family namesakes running around thinking for himself.  Especially when those thoughts are contrary to mine, or worse, his sisters.  So this holiday will be remembered as “the year Bill boycotted Christmas”. 

The drama began with Tiffany, as most drama’s in our family do.  Bill resents the fact that she’s messed up her life multiple times and the family keeps helping her when she vows to change.  He announced he wasn’t buying this latest attempt, if she expected him to talk to her, she had to prove she was a productive citizen first. 

 His sisters answered this announcement by calling him a jerk. 

He alleges he’s entitled to his opinion and since everyone thinks he’s such a jerk he won’t be coming home for Christmas. 

This is what I don’t get – men feel free to weigh in here  (Pap has been well trained in the family dynamic and is firmly noncommital)-  I will agree that the boy is entitled to his own opinion, but why doesn’t he understand that the girls do too?    Worse, his decision to boycott Christmas is making him miserable, and if he thought his absence was going to devastate his sisters…he doens’t know them very well. 

I asked him what he needed his sisters to do for him to feel better.  He said he wanted them to apologize….in more words than that, but that was the gist of it.  If they don’t, he doesn’t want to spend the day with a bunch of people that think he’s a jerk. 

If nothing else, I’ve learned the meaning of a “mexican stand off”. 


Entry filed under: Holidays, life with kids.

Birthdays and Other Nonsense Happy Birthday…to ME!

17 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Velvet Sacks  |  December 17, 2006 at 9:23 pm

    I’m no shrink, but my guess would be that Bill has felt outnumbered by his sisters for years and has decided he’s old enough (and safe enough) to declare his manly independence of the group. Rites of passage are often painful. Be gentle with him.

  • 2. NMOTB  |  December 17, 2006 at 11:17 pm

    I am just stopping by to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas!

  • 3. Gela the city dweller  |  December 18, 2006 at 12:54 am

    Oh Lord! The good ole family drama! sigh. I kinda think Velvet Sacks hit the nail on the head.

    Fortunately or unfortunately, I don’t have that kinda drama being an only child. But I love family gathering, even if there’s a little quarreling involved, as it inevitably does.

  • 4. Stacy  |  December 18, 2006 at 1:09 am

    Again, my husband’s family reflects yours. Tim was the middle child of seven and one of only two boys. It was definitely a boys against the girls world growing up and still is as the sisters still make all the decisions and just expect everyone else to follow them. Tim gets his hackles up half the time before he even knows the situation just because of the old thought patterns. It sounds like Bill feels a lot like that.

    By the way, out of 12 grandkids, my son is the only one to carry on the family name…and one of only 3 boys.

  • 5. Mr. Fabulous  |  December 18, 2006 at 2:32 am

    I wish I could repay your frequent wisdom with some of my own. This is one of those times when being a goofball isn’t a good thing.

    For what it’s worth, I really hope he has a change of heart.

  • 6. Hammer  |  December 18, 2006 at 3:07 am

    I’m a lot like bill. Not saying he’s right or wrong but I’ve got a strong sense of fairness and
    don’t forgive easily if ever.

    I’m estranged from much of the family this year because they want me to ignore the psychotic. manic flaggelations of my sister and law and pretend it’s not happening.

    I just can’t forgive right now especially when I know the behavior continues.

    Maybe Bill needs an apology, he doesn’t sound like a jerk, just someone who is afraid of being hurt again and is having difficulty trusting.

  • 7. Quilldancer  |  December 18, 2006 at 4:30 am

    Is it always the girls against Bill? He actually started the drama with his ultimatium, but I imagine he was hping for a different outcome. I completely see his POV. Why go somewhere you are not respected?

  • 8. bobciz  |  December 18, 2006 at 7:44 am

    It’s a guy thing. LIke most men Bill needs to know that his opinion carries a bit more weight than any females in the vicinity. It’s part of the take charge, macho, mentality that we–that is, guys-go through at one time or another before we realize that women actually rule the universe. Your daughters, being of the female persuasion, should know how to handle such a manly crisis-let him think he’s right and that his opinion is the most important of all the siblings. Of course, they will just be humoring him while they go on with their despotic rule of the world. By the time he realizes he’s been had, it will be too late for him to recover and he will accept his lot in life as another emasculated male floundering around looking for his cojones. (Do I sound somewhat bitter? I have two older sisters, had a authoritative mother, am married to a take charge woman, have a brilliant overachieving daughter, and haven’t recovered my own cojones yet.) Give it up, Bill, you ain’t got a prayer.

  • 9. katcampbell  |  December 18, 2006 at 8:32 am

    Wow, what an amazingly thoughful group of insights! Thank you all…

    Velvet – Its true the boy has always been outnumbered and overwhelmed with sisters, a certain amount of “passage” I’m prepared for, but not when its hurting people who did nothing to hurt him (parents and nieces). But I will be gentle in my nagging for the next week.

    Stacy – Bill is a lot like that!

    Mr. Fab – Thanks! He may come around, but I doubt its this year. Stubbon is a Campbell thing.

    Hammer – That’s something he said to me “I’m not willing to be hurt again.” The girls will never apologize, Bill’s rejection of them is complete and total. They don’t understand it. They’ve been bickering amongst themselves for years, and then they put it away and forget it as quickly.

    Quilly – No, it isn’t always the girls against Bill. With five kids the “alliance” dynamic is always changing, and he was never odd man out. Sometimes in the two, sometimes in the three. This is the first time he’s been both unforgiving and on the outs with everyone.

    Bob – LOL! Thank you for the levity! My son could learn alot from a man of your experience!

  • 10. guyana-gyal  |  December 18, 2006 at 5:13 pm

    I feel for Bill, he obviously loves his sisters dearly, otherwise he would not feel such pain at them calling him a ‘jerk’. I wonder if he feels outnumbered and not heard. Maybe his ‘stance’ is one where he’s trying to say, will you all just listen to me for once?

    I can’t imagine calling my siblings names…and I hope they never call me names when I have an opinion that’s different from theirs.

    I have 2 brothers, one sister.

  • 11. delmonti  |  December 18, 2006 at 7:36 pm

    As men, we’ve had 2 million years of being at the top, it’ll take a little while longer to know our place and “being a jerk” is part of the process.

    He should understand that being a bloke and a jerk go hand in hand. Women sometimes just dont get it, we (men) are not the ones you find in “Comsmo” or in an afternoon weepie on Hallmark….. they are there just to boost icecream sales.

  • 12. Catch  |  December 18, 2006 at 10:10 pm

    Oh Kat….I hear you loud and clear. I have the same thing here with my middle son and daughter ( who is the youngest) He expects her to act like she is his age…hes 31, shes 23. He gets so mad at her….I wish they’d all take a chill pill and we could just relax and enjoy our holiday! Dont they realize we love them warts and all?

  • 13. katcampbell  |  December 19, 2006 at 1:38 am

    GG- Name calling was never permitted in my house,this bad habit was something they picked up after they became adults. Personally, I think they have all forgotten how to communicate and I may have to play the MOM card.

    Delmonti – Hey, I resemble that statement! I don’t think men are jerks…not they sometimes “act” like or “talk” like jerks, but overall I find them quite a nice bunch of humans.

    Catch – How can two happy mothers like us produce such quibbling young ‘uns? I’ve often said my kids must have been switched in the nursery…people would believe it if they didn’t all look just like me or just like Pap.

  • 14. Nessa  |  December 19, 2006 at 6:28 am

    Can’t his sisters apologize for “calling” him a jerk? They can still think he’s a jerk in their minds. I hope everything works out so your Christmas is not ruined.

  • 15. katcampbell  |  December 19, 2006 at 11:46 am

    Nessa – His sisters will not apologize, and quite frankly he is acting like a jerk and he knows he is, but has gone too far to come back without “losing face”. Part of me wants to let him suffer the consquences, but the mother in me will get in the car very early on Christmas morning and go get him. Then he can say he was kidnapped.

  • 16. Shelli  |  December 22, 2006 at 4:27 am

    That’s really tough. Doesn’t he realize that he is punishing you and his father, too? That isn’t fair because you didn’t do anything to be punished for. I’m sorry Kat. Hugs.

  • 17. Gawpo  |  December 27, 2006 at 7:53 am

    Kat, did Bill come home for Christmas?


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