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2 minutes ago, lavender's green said:

I wonder if there's a difference in family culture. I come from a very large, loud, obnoxious family who all go to all the things. But once you graduate high school, that's it, you're an adult. Birthday gifts stop, Christmas gifts stop (it sounds weird to type this out, but the family is so huge that even giving each kid a trinket gets expensive, and by 18 it's assumed that you can get by without your Christmas trinket from Aunt Bertha). College graduation goes pretty much unacknowledged, other than maybe chatting about your future plans at the next get-together. My DH's family is pretty much the same way. None of our friends made a big deal about college graduation either. It was strictly a parents-and-siblings affair, if even that. Because a lot of young people are suddenly too busy adulting to stop and have a party. Clearly it's not the norm in your circle, and that's fine, but I've never even heard of an aunt being invited to a college graduation.

I agree with others about possible social anxiety. Bringing five kids to an in-law party without the husband sounds like a nightmare

Agree with both of these.  College graduations and parties in our family, even for us first-gen grads, are just not done.  DH didn’t even walk in his ceremony.  Neither of us had parties, and I don’t think I’ve ever been invited to a college grad party.  There’s no way I’d realize it was a huge deal, unless the graduate commissioned and is leaving for active duty or is quickly moving thousands of miles away for a job.  And then it would be more of a Bon Voyage type gathering.  I guess I mentally put graduation from college on par with getting a new job, just a congrats and good luck and a card if it’s a sibling.

I also have a section of my family that is loud and excitable, but not at all toxic or bad people.  Just extremely boisterous.  I would never send DH with the kids, without me, and I often leave him at home because it’s way too much for him.  It’s getting better, but there were a couple years where he had to take anxiety meds in order to go and not have a panic attack just from normal table conversation.  Meds that really would have made him oversleep.

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She has five kids, it was an event with loud and obnoxious people that she likely isn’t comfortable around, and had to go alone. I wouldn’t have gone either.  And in order to not hurt your feelin

If she normally hides in a corner when she comes to your family events is it possible there is at least some social anxiety or such at play? I'm trying to imagine my sister, who struggles with social

Try not to be upset about the people who missed but be joyous about those who were there to share the day. Expecting 100% family attendance just isn’t any more realistic than expecting your SIL to fal

Did your sil realize how important it was to your niece or did you only explain that to your brother.  I wouldn't be upset with someone who you didn't directly invite and share the importance of the event with.  Another thought,  do people in your family guilt other people into doing things?  That is the only reason I can see that a person would intentionally say they will be somewhere and then not show up, on a regular basis.  Because they know that if they decline the invite they will be hounded by someone and guilt tripped into going. 

Maybe she doesn't want her husband making plans for her.  I sure know I'd be pissed if my dh told me I was going to any type of party instead of letting me know we were invited and when it was, especially if he isn't going to be there.

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10 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

 

I'm not sure I'd be mad at SIL if you never even talked to her and invited her. I would be ticked if my spouse RSVPd me to something without discussing it with me. It could be social anxiety, family culture, or maybe she has other issues going on - maybe she had a migraine or bad cramps or some other private issue. It could even be that she feels slighted because you didn't really talk to her about it. 

9 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

I stressed to him last week how important this was to DD22.  He reassured me that she would come.   He was then the one who texted me that his wife told him that she "overslept."  Told me she went to sleep at midnight and didnt' wake up to 4:30.   I think he was trying to....save face...by claiming she slept for 16 hrs.  

 

9 hours ago, Junie said:

It sounds like your SIL did not directly tell you that she was going to come; your brother said that she would.

It also sounds like you SIL's FOO might be very different from yours.

I don't think any of my aunts or uncles acknowledged my college graduation.  I might have gotten a card from one of my aunts.  It sounds like your SIL's family might be more like mine -- we're not super close.  I did expect my aunts and uncles to show up at my wedding (which they did), but a graduation not so much.

 

9 hours ago, LucyStoner said:

It sounds like he promised something- his wife's presence- that wasn't in his power to deliver.  

I get that this sucks for your DD but it sounds like expecting this SIL to come wasn't exactly realistic based on everything you know about her.  

 

1 hour ago, LuvToRead said:

Did you ever speak to your SIL before the party?  Unless your  SIL actually told you she was coming, then there is no reason to be upset with her.  Sorry, but your brother can't decide which family events his wife will attend with or without him.  I would be upset with my DH if he committed to one of his  family gatherings!  I would also tell DH he needs to be the one inform his sister I wouldn't be attending after all.  DH's family is loud, huge, and talk about stuff I don't care about...at all.    There are other issues, as well, but I will leave it at that.

 

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Add me to the list of people who would be upset if someone promised on my behalf that I would drag 5 kids to a party.

Especially a party full of people who apparently don't like me very much.

Also - with 5 kids alone, I can think of about 100 things that may have gone wrong making this too hard to justify the effort.  Some of which I would not necessarily share.

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From my pov, you've got a couple of things on you, HSL.

1. It drives me batsh*t when dh's family goes through him instead of talking to me directly.  DH and I were living in different states at one point.  His sister, after getting a firm 'no' from me when she floated the idea, went to dh to invite MIL to the house that I was living in, not him, at a very inconvenient time (and I don't say that lightly - I welcome people most any time), and then I had to be the bad guy, again, and decline.  Talk to your SIL.  If your brother can't come, it's on you to have a direct invitation issued to her.  You have to communicate.  Going through spouses when you're all supposed to be family is not cool.

2. Same as above.  You have to communicate.  You have to tell SIL your feelings.  DH's family has a horrible habit of discussing everyone behind everyone else's back and then wondering why people are on edge or don't want to be there.  You can't let this fester.  Not inviting her to other things?  That's passive aggressive without explanation.

I'm not excusing your SIL's behavior.  She was in the wrong, much so.  The above are things you can have control over, though. 

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This whole thread makes me want to go hide in a corner.

DH’s extended family still feels slighted because ten years ago we opted for a small, private, immediate family only wedding in my parents living room.  That’s not how they do things.  Nothing is small or private. Everything is loud and excited and way too much peopling.  

I really feel for your SIL.  We don’t do college graduations either. I didn’t even attend my ceremony.  It likely would not occur to me that a college graduation party would be a super important event.

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The more I read through this thread, the more I realize what a tightrope your brother must be walking. Your family is extremely close and wrapped up in each other's lives and is very loud and boisterous. You expect that people will join in at least at some level to meet you halfway, as you said. His wife is obviously not comfortable with any of it and does not feel a part of your family and so doesn't rise to meet your expectations of what "family does". She may have some social anxiety to boot.He's trying to keep all parties happy and manage the situation. Yikes.

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I hope the event was enjoyable one!  Happy graduation to your daughter!

Married a few decades here... The communication dynamic of speaking through other people (your brother) will always cause problems.  BTDT.  I still have a smoked turkey vs stuffed turkey fiasco lingering in the background of relationships with in-laws... all because my in-laws wouldn't pick up the phone and call ME, the person responsible for the bird.  Matters were made worse when my husband felt cornered and attempted to explain why I preferred a smoke turkey--heathen that I am.  I now bite the bullet and call them just because it makes life easier in the end.

So, I'll gently say this, and hope you know I understand this event was important to you... There's an unfortunate irony in expecting direct communication from your socially indisposed SIL when you never spoke with her directly. I know... not a fun little factoid.  I've had to face it myself, and it's a hard pill to swallow... but knowing it can make things easier in the future.  Big hugs and happy graduation!

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Here is how that could have played out:

Brother-- I told my family you would come over for the graduation party on Sunday even though I can't be there.

SIL-- Nope.  I don't like being around your loud family without you there.  You shouldn't have committed me without asking first. I am not going

Brother-- makes lame excuse day of

 

I personally do not do anything with my inlaws if my DH is unavailable.

 

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20 minutes ago, SKL said:

I also agree that it is OK that your brother made her excuses for her given that you had communicated to / through your brother up to that point.

I agree with this. If my DH had told someone I was going to show up with (5!) children by myself, you can bet he'd be making my regrets. It may be your brother didn't know HOW to say "DW doesn't want to come, and I (stupidly) said she was excited to come, so she's not coming" prior to the meeting, so he continued to try to get her to go and then when she didn't, he said, "Uh she overslept..."

OP, I get that you're hurt because this is the thing to do in your FOO. I hope you can find it in your heart to work with your SIL in the future. There could be any number of reasons she didn't come that she (and your brother) do not feel free to share with you, only one of which is she is a B***.

Edit: And Shellydon said it better than me while I was typing.

 

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12 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

Well, she's not going to be "dis-invited."  I only mean that I am done dealing with her directly on these sorts of things.  And I am done tolerating her showing up and hiding in a corner.  And done with lame excuses.  We plan to host Thanksgiving.  I will discuss all plans with my brother, if his wife wants to come, that's on them, don't care.   Show up or hide on your own little selfish island, my kids will only notice if their cousins aren't there (and will be sad if their cousins aren't but I am not going to foster something that develops from selfishness.)  

 

I get this carp all the time.  I'll be wearing a bodycam if I ever attend again, just so dh can hear the passive-agressive and nasty remarks his 'family' makes to me out of his hearing.

A mother of five is not hiding, she is needing a space for her mothering duties.  A good hostess will provide that.

And secondly, why does it bother you that she is taking a break? Not everyone appreciates a wall of noise for hours, especially when no one will converse with them but their children.

Or do you possibly mean she isn't doing your cleanup in the kitchen while you enjoy coffee with your blood relatives?  Spouses aren't servant help.

I can understand why a mom of five didn't come to a grad party...very tough to make that safe for little guys and she wouldn't get to do much but supervise the dc. Maybe next time you could hire a teen to supervise/entertain the little ones.

I did host a grad party for my dc.  Unfortunately those relatives who couldn't celebrate decide to come so they could have free drinks and a meal.  It was such a downer that we won't be doing same for other dc. 

You have so many unknowns because you aren't communicating with the wife that you'll never know what happened.  Your choice if you want to fix that or if you want to hold grudges.

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26 minutes ago, HeighHo said:

 

I get this carp all the time.  I'll be wearing a bodycam if I ever attend again, just so dh can hear the passive-agressive and nasty remarks his 'family' makes to me out of his hearing.

 

OMG YES!!!! The times I longed for a body cam!!! I broke up dh and his ex-girlfriend (they were “on a break” when I met dh... everyone had assumed they would reunite again, like they always had done in the past & everyone loved her & assumed they’d get engaged when they got back together...). The ex was best/very good friends with several of his cousins. 

Holy cow, were they rude to me in the beginning!!! I’ve tried to forget about all that now, since I’ve grown to like them, but those early years were awful with the constant cold shoulders when dh wasn’t in the room. 

Worst was when a cousin got married. Two of our kids were in the wedding, and I had a 2.5 mo nursing newborn. The girls had to get ready in the room with all the women and the baby couldn’t be far from me - so it was me, 2.5 months post-partum, wrangling 3 kids 4 and under trying to get them ready while everyone else sat around drinking wine coolers and getting their hair and makeup done. By wedding time I was a sweaty, bedraggled, milk-covered mess. In walks the still-unmarried ex - looking like a million bucks and all the women in the room squeal and made an enormous fuss over her (she moved out of state after dh & I got together) while I sat there alone like the ugly stepsister. 

Oh god. This thread is bringing back so many awful memories. lolololol!! I need a corner to go hide in! lololol

FWIW, dh’s closest female relatives have apologized to me for those days. Another brother married an introvert and she was more pissy about it than I ever was - and apparently that’s the language they needed to hear in order to understand. lol She’s left th family since, but her appearance made it better for me - the more polite introvert. ?

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Sorry you feel disappointed and angry. Emotions always seem to be high during certain points in our lives. You are obviously very proud of your dd, and rightly so. Keep in mind that the private party you held has nothing to do with the accomplishment she's made. Nothing. It's nice and all, but she's already done the work, felt the relief and happiness, and will have the papers forever. The people who helped her through the journey have already done their bit.

I come from a culture where we don't really do private grad parties - the convocation ceremony is the event, long and boring as it is. Usually only immediate family or close friends attend. I've never had a private party for myself (and I have 3 university degrees), I've never been invited to one in all of my own and dh's extended family (Americans living in Canada). 

Perhaps you can explain the actual purpose of the private graduation party. Is it a chance for you and your dd to thank friends and family for their support over the years she was in college. Or is it an opportunity for people to come and say to your dd how great she is that she accomplished her goal? It seems like more the latter. If this is the case, then I'm not a huge supporter of attending this kind of celebration of inviting people to come so you can brag a little. It's just not part of my culture. I think people can decide on their own how they would like to tell your dd about the great accomplishment she has achieved. 

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12 hours ago, AurieD said:

If she normally hides in a corner when she comes to your family events is it possible there is at least some social anxiety or such at play? I'm trying to imagine my sister, who struggles with social anxiety among other things, turning up to an in law event without her partner. She just couldn't do it, it would probably make her physically ill. If this is the case then it's not really her desire not to be around your family superseding your daughter's accomplishment, it is a mental health issue.

 

 

This occurred to me too or with the sleeping part - some pretty serious depression.

It is *totally* possible she is just insanely selfish - total possibility.

But I remember my mom (and my very loving, outgoing grandfather) for a long time (even to now) thinking that people who fail to engage in conversation with them are "stuck-up."  My dad's family is chock full of extreme extroverts.  But, over time and experience, I've come to realize shyness, introvertedness, and social anxiety is a very real thing.  These people are loving, caring, invested individuals, who find conversations with strangers, small talk, groups, etc. to be utterly overwhelming.  :(

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12 hours ago, LucyStoner said:

It sounds like he promised something- his wife's presence- that wasn't in his power to deliver.  

I get that this sucks for your DD but it sounds like expecting this SIL to come wasn't exactly realistic based on everything you know about her.  

 

Obviously I do't know the exact circumstances but I am reading this the same way. She may resent him making that decision for her and in a passive-aggressive way she asserted her right to decide for herself. This could be more about their communication and relationship as well.

Either way, I understand you feel it was an important event and everyone should have been there. Perhaps you can just revel in your dd's success and not let other people's issue spoil the joy.

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7 hours ago, StellaM said:

I am socially anxious and I dislike my inlaws. If dh had made a promise on my behalf that I'd spend time on my own with the inlaws, I'd be hopping mad....with him. I wouldn't take it out on the new grad. 

I might call in for a short time with the kids, or at the very least, drop off a card and a small gift. 

I would for sure text to let the inlaws know we wouldn't be able to stay at the party. 

At an absolute minimum, I'd have dh call and offer to have new grad over on another day for a present with her cousins. 

So...idk..I don't think your SIL was very kind, even if she doesn't like her inlaws and has social anxiety, but I guess it's done now. 

I hope your dd isn't too upset. Graduation is exciting. Well done to her!

Maybe she had the best intentions to go but found herself paralyzed when it was time to get ready or time to leave the house. Maybe she didn’t mean to be rude and doesn’t like talking about her anxiety, so oversleeping was her excuse. Aubrey she will still send a card or gift. 

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I just sent my niece a graduation card (with check) a week after her graduation. It never occurred to me that our presence was expected at the graduation or that the card was late. I wonder if my sil is mad at me. 

This thread is giving me social anxiety.

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My brother has 3 kids, not 5.  When I said all 5, I meant all 5 members of their family, sorry for the confusion.  The kids are 12, 13 and 18.  

Discussions of events go through my brother because his wife won't answer her phone.  She does work odd hours sometimes so it's understandable that she is often unable to answer her phone.  She often doesn't even answer texts for days.  At least, not texts from us.  He did not make a decision for her, or promise something she was unaware of or anything like that.  That's not how my brother operates.  

College graduations, in general, aren't usually treated as quite so big a deal in our family.  When DH graduated, we went to dinner with my parents and his.  When my youngest sister graduated the first time, she had a small get together with friends and when she got her doctorate, my parents flew down to Bama but that was really it.  This particular graduation however was a bigger deal to my kid specifically because the medical issues she had made this REALLY hard.  She ended up having to withdraw from a whole semester and it was really up in the air if she was going to be able to finish.  She did only because she worked and pushed really really really hard.  And even though she will never say it to them, DD22 was hurt that there wasn't even so much as a Congrats!  from her uncle or his family.  THAT is why I am p!$$@d.

The truth is, this is a very strong pattern with SIL.  She hurts the extended family, she hurts her own kids, she hurts my brother. There are too many incidents to list and my mom has walked out of a room crying more than once due to things SIL has done or said.  I have always been the one to say "this is just how she is, if we want any kind of relationship with Brother or his kids, we need to work with this, etc etc"  I am often told I am too nice in how much I tolerate from other people.  This is really just the straw that broke this camel's back.

And, I am done letting it eat at me.  Stewing on it for 2 days is enough for me.  My younger kids birthday parties are coming up and my kids cousins are all invited, as normal. SIL can choose to bring them or choose to exclude them, that's up to her.  We are hosting Thanksgiving, everyone's invited, she can choose to celebrate Thanksgiving with the whole family or not.  My brother is hosting Christmas, like every year, and we will go and bring our dish, and the kids will all play together as normal.  Politeness will reign.  

 

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2 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

.....   from her uncle or his family .  

 

 

You can't have it both ways.  Either SIL is part of the extended family and welcome, or she's not.  When you say things like 'brother and his family', its not the same as 'our extended family'. SIL knows that, and she is respecting the line your family drew.  Try substituting 'uncle, aunt, niece, nephew' instead of 'uncle and his family' if you want to be more personal and inclusive.

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With the cousins being that old, it's possible they had their own plans too.

Basically I don't understand why SIL / cousins were not allowed to accept / decline the invitation like normal people.  I don't tell my family that they have to show up because xyz is important to me or my kid.  I don't threaten or guilt people into coming to my house.  Declining an invitation is not an insult.

If DD wants to see her cousins before she leaves, I think she should go over to their house at a mutually convenient time and see them.  She is the adult.  As a young adult, I didn't instruct my in-laws to bring my nieces over, I went over there to see them.

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5 minutes ago, SKL said:

With the cousins being that old, it's possible they had their own plans too.

Basically I don't understand why SIL / cousins were not allowed to accept / decline the invitation like normal people.  I don't tell my family that they have to show up because xyz is important to me or my kid.  I don't threaten or guilt people into coming to my house.  Declining an invitation is not an insult.

If DD wants to see her cousins before she leaves, I think she should go over to their house at a mutually convenient time and see them.  She is the adult.  As a young adult, I didn't instruct my in-laws to bring my nieces over, I went over there to see them.

Certainly allowed to accept or decline.  What happened is she accepted and then didn’t show anyway...OR offer any other recognition.  

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2 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Certainly allowed to accept or decline.  What happened is she accepted and then didn’t show anyway...OR offer any other recognition.  

I thought you said she attended the graduation?

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4 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

No, she did not.  My DH’s sister did.  I can see how that’s confusing when both are considered SIL.  Sorry for the confusion.  DH’s sister came to both the ceremony and the party.  

Oh, OK, then I agree that your SIL (brother's wife) or rather that family (brother and SIL) owe your DD at least a card.  Maybe it is on the way.

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13 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Certainly allowed to accept or decline.  What happened is she accepted and then didn’t show anyway...OR offer any other recognition.  

That's not how it reads above though.  It sounds like you told your brother his wife & kids need to come and he said they'd come.  Two problems there, one, it sounded like you didn't want to take "no" for an answer, and two, the person committed did not do the committing.

I have a person who comes and tells me "you can't have plans for that date, that's __'s party and I told him you would be there."  "Really?  Then you tell him you were mistaken."

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I texted my brother and said that it was important to DD, so someone would be there, right?   He said yes.  Then, nothing.  

 

If he had had said something like “sorry we can’t make it, I have to work and N had a late night the other night, but we will have a card in the mail on Monday”. Ok, fine.  I might have been a bit frustrated but that falls under the “$#!+ happens” catagory.  

And I understand that it looks like my brother may have committed his wife without consulting her, but I know that did not happen. He would never say she will do X without discussing X with her first.  I know lots of others do that and know it looks like that, but that’s not my brother.  If it’s not going to happen he will say it’s not going to happen. If he doesn’t know if it will happen, he says he doesn’t know.  If he hadn’t already discussed with her, his response to me would have been something like “I haven’t talked to N yet, I will get back to you.”  

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18 hours ago, Catwoman said:

 

I agree. And honestly, who is going to believe that the mother of 5 kids is going to get away with sleeping until 4:30 in the afternoon? 

With possible mental health issues? I absolutely believe it.

Person maybe struggles with anxiety and/or depression.

Person is stressed by the thought of taking all the kids on her own to her loud and boisterous in-laws event.

Person can't get herself out of bed, or gets up then lies down for a nap and sleeps longer than planned.

100% believable.

 

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1 hour ago, StellaM said:

I will say though, if someone's social anxiety is so bad they are paralysed, and using sleep for many hours as an avoidant behaviour,  they need some assistance. It's quite amenable to treatment

 In my experience, it never really goes away completely, but you can get to a point of effective functioning. 

Another thought - does the 18 yr old cousin drive ? Could invitations go directly to that cousin ? Maybe s/he could bring the kids to things ? Idk. 

People are different. 

I have an aunt who has come to almost no family gatherings (her own FOO) in decades. Major massive anxiety.

She is quite a nice person.

OP also mentioned that SIL works odd hours, which may explain sleeping off hours.

I dunno. My Dh can sleep 20 hours out of 24 on a weekend. He was sleeping on the couch last week at his brother's birthday party, which he only made it to at all because I got him up from his after church nap and had all the kids in the car ready to go and drove us there.

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8 minutes ago, maize said:

With possible mental health issues? I absolutely believe it.

Person maybe struggles with anxiety and/or depression.

Person is stressed by the thought of taking all the kids on her own to her loud and boisterous in-laws event.

Person can't get herself out of bed, or gets up then lies down for a nap and sleeps longer than planned.

100% believable.

 

 

I don’t find it believable because it’s hard to imagine that none of those 5 kids needed their mom for anything at all for 16 hours straight. ?

 

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1 minute ago, Catwoman said:

 

I don’t find it believable because it’s hard to imagine that none of those 5 kids needed their mom for anything at all for 16 hours straight. ?

 

Apparently it's three kids and they're not little.

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I don't know these people at all, but I'm not inclined to believe the sleep story. I think it would take something like severe depression or substance abuse to knock out a mom for that long, even if the kids are teens. I think it's more likely she took a normal nap and overslept, if there's anything to the sleep story and it's not just an entirely made-up excuse.

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19 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

Call me a B, but I honestly dont' have sympathy if SIL's desire to not be around family superseded acknowledgment of my DD's accomplishment.  IMO, either she cares enough about family to overcome that, or she doesn't.  And that fact that she doesn't hurts my kid.  So mamma bear is p!$$@d.  

Similar issues in my family, so I tend to agree. Cousin relationships are *important*. If your anxiety is lessening your ability to be a good parent, find a way to deal. Drop them off, come back later, phone saying you are ill (you are) and have someone else pick them up, if possible. Something. Off to read other replies to see if I should rethink this, lol.

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30 minutes ago, Tibbie Dunbar said:

I don't know these people at all, but I'm not inclined to believe the sleep story. I think it would take something like severe depression or substance abuse to knock out a mom for that long, even if the kids are teens. I think it's more likely she took a normal nap and overslept, if there's anything to the sleep story and it's not just an entirely made-up excuse.

I believe the sleep story is a made up excuses.  

 

Eta:posted before I meant to. 

I think it’s too convenient that she “woke up half an hour before the end of the shindig  and it takes half an hour for her to get there.  

 

Oh, and....there house is on our way out. We could have picked kids up if needed (and we have in the past.)

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15 minutes ago, KathyBC said:

Similar issues in my family, so I tend to agree. Cousin relationships are *important*. If your anxiety is lessening your ability to be a good parent, find a way to deal. Drop them off, come back later, phone saying you are ill (you are) and have someone else pick them up, if possible. Something. Off to read other replies to see if I should rethink this, lol.

Since the cousins are all teens, and one of them is 18, I would be surprised that they could not have found a way to go if they wanted to.  Perhaps the mother was dealing with an issue with a teen, had her hands full at the moment, and does not want to share some issue with the rest of the family.  Also, since the SIL works strange hours, perhaps she is on an odd sleep schedule.  

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

I texted my brother and said that it was important to DD, so someone would be there, right?   He said yes.  Then, nothing.  

 

If he had had said something like “sorry we can’t make it, I have to work and N had a late night the other night, but we will have a card in the mail on Monday”. Ok, fine.  I might have been a bit frustrated but that falls under the “$#!+ happens” catagory.  

And I understand that it looks like my brother may have committed his wife without consulting her, but I know that did not happen. He would never say she will do X without discussing X with her first.  I know lots of others do that and know it looks like that, but that’s not my brother.  If it’s not going to happen he will say it’s not going to happen. If he doesn’t know if it will happen, he says he doesn’t know.  If he hadn’t already discussed with her, his response to me would have been something like “I haven’t talked to N yet, I will get back to you.”  

Why is that someone your SIL?  Is that what was said?  Because someone could mean anyone from this household.

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21 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

 

My brother had to work.  THat's fine, no one begrudges a family member having to work.  Hell if DH had to travel to Mexico for work, this wouldn't have bothered DD22.   

What bothers her (and me) is that my brother's wife didn't show.  And there was no other acknowledgement of her accomplishment.  No gift.  No card.  No call. 

I texted my brother, knowing he had no card, and also knowing he cared, last week saying that this was really REALLY important to DD.  (no she's not a first gen college student, in fact, she's a 4th....but it was HARD for her.  She paid with scholarships.  She had a GPA to maintain.  She had medical issues and almost withdrew....this was a BIG deal.)  I explained that she just wanted people she cared about, like her nieces and nephews, to show up to celebrate.   He steadfastly acknowledged that SIL would be there with the kids..

I know families handle things differently, but the bolded would be very odd in my FOO.  I can't imagine knowing a week before one of my kids' graduations that one of my siblings did not have a card for my daughter.  Cards were important in DH's FOO, but in my family they were more often viewed as a waste of money; since cards are important in DHs family, DH has been the one in charge of getting cards for his family.  I still can't see how someone in his family would know BEFORE an event that he had no card and text him.

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I don't know about the OP's SIL, but I feel as though my dh pressures me to attend IL events without him. I know I should go and I don't have a good reason, but I hate going. I hate the long drive, I hate being "on" the entire time. I hate having to make a dish to pass, I hate giving up one of my precious days off, etc. My IL are lovely, pleasant people, but going to IL events drains me and I feel it all throughout the next week. 

I could easily sleep past 4;00. I take naps on the weekend to catch up from late weekday nights. I assume other people may do the same thing. 

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38 minutes ago, maize said:

Apparently it's three kids and they're not little.

 

Thanks for clarifying the number of kids. I’m trying to figure out where I got the idea that there were five kids, and I see that I misread the OP when she talked about “all 5 of them” and I thought she meant 5 kids.

I’m not sure why people are assuming that the woman has a psychological reason for not attending the party, but even if she does, there’s really no excuse for not sending a quick text to say that something came up unexpectedly and she and her kids wouldn’t be able to make it to the party. If she was uncomfortable sending the text, she should have had her dh do it. 

And although I feel sorry for happysmileylady’s dd because she was disappointed that her cousins weren’t at her party, I also feel badly for the SIL because it seems as though happysmileylady’s brother may have promised that she and the kids would attend the party without consulting her first, which put her in a very awkward position. 

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

I texted my brother and said that it was important to DD, so someone would be there, right?   He said yes.  Then, nothing.  

 

If he had had said something like “sorry we can’t make it, I have to work and N had a late night the other night, but we will have a card in the mail on Monday”. Ok, fine.  I might have been a bit frustrated but that falls under the “$#!+ happens” catagory.  

And I understand that it looks like my brother may have committed his wife without consulting her, but I know that did not happen. He would never say she will do X without discussing X with her first.  I know lots of others do that and know it looks like that, but that’s not my brother.  If it’s not going to happen he will say it’s not going to happen. If he doesn’t know if it will happen, he says he doesn’t know.  If he hadn’t already discussed with her, his response to me would have been something like “I haven’t talked to N yet, I will get back to you.”  

 

I hadn't read this post when I responded to maize (above.)

If she told your brother that she would bring the kids and then didn’t show up, I don’t feel sorry for her at all. If she agreed to attend and then changed her mind at the last minute, it was very rude of her to not at least text you. I was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt, in case your brother said she would attend before he discussed it with her.

We can all make assumptions about her personality and her mental state, but you know her and have a history with her, while we don’t, so I’m taking your word on this . ?

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I've been known to oversleep at odd times.  One day this past spring I was up all night and then being audited on-site all day.  I came home exhausted and thought I'd lie down for a few to relax my back.  Well I fell asleep and didn't even hear when my kids' part-time driver came to the door looking for my car key.  I was so embarrassed, but she was cool about it.  She figured I was just exhausted as she knew I worked long and crazy hours sometimes.

Anyone on the tackle thread knows I sometimes sleep more in the daytime than at night, for various reasons.  I don't think it makes me a bad person.  ?

One time in law school I slept 24 hours straight.  Luckily that was the day after my last final.  ? I even left the door open (dorm room) and didn't hear a thing.

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The ages of the kids kind of changes my view a bit.

At those ages, they would have gone if they wanted to come.  Even if it was waking Mom up or otherwise convincing her to take them, if the 18 year old doesn’t drive.

I think it’s likely that your SIL is overwhelmed by your family, and her kids either sense the resentment and/or are overwhelmed themselves.  The cousins may not have a strong a family bond as you’d like, and that’s okay, too.  

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I'm struggling with the disconnect between OP's vehement assertion about what a nice, functional family she has and her apparent need for her SIL to adopt and fit in with her family's culture, personalities, and expectations.

Needing other people to become something they are not doesn't sound exceptionally functional to me.

I also am not sure why all this ire is directed at the SIL when the brother didn't bother to get a card or anything, and it sounds like SIL wasn't even contacted personally about the party only her husband was.

My FOO does not make a big deal out of graduations and such. Even graduations after overcoming major difficulties. I've never been to a niece or nephew's graduation party. I've never even sent a card. I never received any graduation cards from anyone myself nor did I have a party.

I love my nieces and nephews. I feel loved by my aunts and uncles, though mostly from a distance.

I'm sorry that OP's child feels hurt. Maybe at an appropriate time help her understand that her happiness does not need to depend on the actions or inactions of peripheral others in her life.

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The issue isn't "fit in and do what we say."

 

 

We DO want you do to X for family.  But, if you cannot do X....FOR ANY REASON...and say so, that's fine.  But, if you say you will do X. then do X, because you said you would.  Do not avoid doing X and lie about it because of Y.  Don't care if it's work or illness, or exhasution (shoot, we missed a different nephew's birthday party cause we simply couldn't do the drive again).   If you cannot, then you cannot.  Do not say you will do X.....and then NOT do it.  

 

My brother has been married for 14 years.  All branches of my family have tried, HARD to extend olive branches.  Small get together, big get together, other incidents, etc. Words out of SIL's mouth are, "I kinda see myself as an island"   Well if she wants to be an island, she can.  

 

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2 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

The issue isn't "fit in and do what we say."

 

 

We DO want you do to X for family.  But, if you cannot do X....FOR ANY REASON...and say so, that's fine.  But, if you say you will do X. then do X, because you said you would.  Do not avoid doing X and lie about it because of Y.  Don't care if it's work or illness, or exhasution (shoot, we missed a different nephew's birthday party cause we simply couldn't do the drive again).   If you cannot, then you cannot.  Do not say you will do X.....and then NOT do it.  

 

My brother has been married for 14 years.  All branches of my family have tried, HARD to extend olive branches.  Small get together, big get together, other incidents, etc. Words out of SIL's mouth are, "I kinda see myself as an island"   Well if she wants to be an island, she can.  

 

Some people won't integrate; maybe by choice, maybe not.

It sounds like yes you need to stop having expectations of her that don't match her behavior.

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My bil is an extreme introvert and while he has never lied about going to an event, he just simply doesn't go. I know my niece and nephew well because I make a point to drive 15 hrs to see the and my sister drives to visit us with the kids. Bil never comes, he simply can not handle our loud and over the top family. And that is ok. He is still part of our family and we love him. We just have a different type of relationship.

It isn't your sil's responsibility to participate in your families events, that is on your brother. If he is unavailable, he needs to make arrangements for the kids to go that don't include her going.

 

 

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42 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

The issue isn't "fit in and do what we say."

 

 

We DO want you do to X for family.  But, if you cannot do X....FOR ANY REASON...and say so, that's fine.  But, if you say you will do X. then do X, because you said you would.  Do not avoid doing X and lie about it because of Y.  Don't care if it's work or illness, or exhasution (shoot, we missed a different nephew's birthday party cause we simply couldn't do the drive again).   If you cannot, then you cannot.  Do not say you will do X.....and then NOT do it.  

 

My brother has been married for 14 years.  All branches of my family have tried, HARD to extend olive branches.  Small get together, big get together, other incidents, etc. Words out of SIL's mouth are, "I kinda see myself as an island"   Well if she wants to be an island, she can.  

 

 

Except your sister-in-law never said she would come. Your brother said that she would come. Your sister-in-law didn't lie about oversleeping, your brother lied about the oversleeping (if it was in fact untrue).

And if you aren't willing to text her directly or pick up the phone to call and invite her, then how can you be angry that she didn't call or text you directly? 

Your anger is misdirected.

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It sounds like you were pressuring your brother pretty hard. My guess is that he felt it was easier to say, "Yeah, yeah, someone will be there" rather than tell you the truth.

I would let it go and stop trying to force the relationship.

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