Saturday came and went, and so did Sunday, but I liked Sunday much better. Not that Saturday was bad, it was quite good in fact, but Sunday was much better because it included a small gathering of my family to help celebreate my birthday.
My friend, the Tea Lady (who is as good as family) arrived early and I was so grateful. She helped me with the last of the preparations and I was all 100% ready by the time the first guests arrived. The Starchild was an awesome help and did absolutely everything that I needed done in terms of setting up and blowing up balloons and fetching the last few things from the shops that needed to be fresh that morning for lunch.
My father and his wife were the next to arrive. I had just gone upstairs to get dressed for the party when I heard their car pull into the drive. The next thing that happened was one of the candle holders on top of the TV in my room fell to the floor. Weird? A little. Even more weird was two minutes later a picture board in my ensuite fell off the wall. Needless to say I thought that was a pretty bad omen.
My father doesn't like to travel much these days and his wife is still trying to enforce the fact that he has a new family and they take precedent over his old family (a story everyone but her is over all these 20 or so years later) so I was exceptionally surprised when he told me he was planning on coming.
Of course, there were the usual games. He determined he would need three days in order to secure a successful outcome. Step 1 was to delete my email inviting them here. Step 2 was to suck up to his wife in order to be completely in her good books. Step 3 was to surreptitiously contact me to request I send the invitation again but as if I was sending for the first time. Step 4 was to act pleasantly surprised on the receipt of my invitation. Step 5 was to express a desire to attend (yes, this is a whole step in itself). Step 6 was to suggest alternate options and means for him or for them both (including the dog) to attend so that she could decide what they would be doing. Step 7 was to stay out of shit between then and the party. Step 8 was to get here. Everything with my father has an eight point plan. And you can see why I was worried about the things spontaneously falling when they arrived.
But they had a really good time and my step-mum really seemed to enjoy herself. From the eight point plan you would think that she was a terribly, horrible person and she has been from time to time but I'm sure some of conditions are exaggerated in my father's mind and my step-mum can be very lovely and very nice to have around. Sometimes.
Next to arrive were my in-laws, shortly followed by my sister-in-law and her partner and then my older sister and her family. All up, there were 20 of us and it was really lovely. I did not invite my older brother and while it hurts my heart not to even want to invite him, I really do think it is for the best. My mother couldn't come because my step-dad is sick with a heart complaint. He had an exploratory procedure done on Tuesday but they didn't find anything so that means more pain and more tests so I'm praying for his good health to return soon and for great wisdom for his medical team. It was so weird not having mum here, which is another reason that I was really grateful when the Tea Lady arrived early as she helped fill that gap.
My step-daughter and her husband were both working so they weren't able to come and my step son is in Nowra and had a commitment he couldn't get out of so he couldn't come either.
My younger sister and brother didn't come. They both acknowledged the invitation but didn't confirm so I gathered when they didn't turn up that they weren't coming. Overall, I consider all of my family to be very lame when it comes to actually being a family and I think that having lost patience with that fact and expressing it late last year did encourage some more of my family to make the effort. I can understand that they couldn't make it but it still really pisses me off that they couldn't even let me know and they didn't ring or anything on my actual birthday either, which was on Tuesday. I ask The Starchild what he thinks about me telling them that and he says that it's not worth the upset and it won't change anything. I ask the Tea Lady the same question and she says, "You tell 'em, sister!".
Otherwise the day was excellent. The food was good - I love catering (read: over-catering) and everyone indulged me in my request for a round the table expressions of gratitude when we sat down to eat. Everyone ended up staying much longer than planned and I was even more grateful when The Starchild pointed out to me that, with the exception of my in-laws, everyone had driven a minimum of 200kms to be there.
This is a much longer post than I intended. There are lots of other things going on in my head (aren't there always) but I'm still sorting through them and I don't think I'm quite ready to flesh them out in blog land. The time will come soon though, I'm sure.