I have (had) six siblings. After the death of my oldest sister in 2001, that leaves five siblings. Most of them have lived in or around the Kansas City area during this whole time (Kris lived in CA and WA for several years, then western KS, and then in Wichita for a while) and they each have children. If they had a birthday party for their children, and my kids were invited - we went. If one of them had Thanksgiving dinner, and we were invited - we went unless we were absolutely unavailable (out of town or sick). If there was any kind of family celebration (be it Christmas, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day or Labor Day cookout) - and we were invited - we went. Christmas morning at my house was a flurry of activity - hurry up and open presents so we could get on the road to KC, no matter the weather or our financial situation. If I wanted my kids to have a birthday party with their cousins, we packed up the stuff and drove to KC to do it. It's roughly 3-4 hours one way (depending on the speed limit and how many stops you make), plus toll charges (currently over $15 round-trip), plus at least one tank of gas for the round trip. It's the same amount of time and money for me to drive it as it would be for those coming from KC to drive it. Do they think that I LIKE the distance? Or the money it costs?
Want to know how many weddings we’ve driven to KC and/or Topeka for? One got married in New Jersey so that was a "no" (but Amy went). One got married in Vegas so that was a "no" (that was a 2nd wedding that no one was invited to; we didn't make it to the first one but I don't remember why). One got married in Topeka, which I attended. One got married in KC, which I attended. None of the others are married.
- Oldest brother (lives in KC) - never to my house but came to Amy's first wedding in 2003
- Deceased sister - twice (her youngest son and his family came to Amy's wedding reception in August 2010 because Amy had been to their NJ wedding; they live in KC)
- Next brother (Topeka) - more times (maybe 5) but he also stayed with us for a while one winter while he was working a job in Wichita and came to Amy's first wedding (but his wife did not)
- Younger brother (Bonner Springs) - this one is harder but I'm thinking twice - once for my 50th birthday and once for Amy's wedding in 2003
- Next younger sister (lives in KC; the one who now doesn't speak to me) - once when we lived in Wichita, Amy's 2003 wedding, my 50th birthday, and one other time to see our new house (but my BIL's sister lived less than a mile away and they actually came to town to see her)
- Youngest sister (Kris - lives in KC) - more times than I can count. Kris is the one that I could always count on to come no matter what the celebration was. She's come for Christmas dinner (after our kids were grown), Thanksgiving dinner, Amy's graduation for her BS and her MBA degrees, and any other reason you could think of in between. She's usually who I stay with when I go to KC and she always stays at my house when she comes here.
My Bonner Springs brother was within 30 minutes of my house (this summer) TWICE and didn’t even call. If he didn’t want to drive an hour (round-trip) out of his way, he could have called and asked us if “we” were interested in driving to Wichita to meet somewhere for lunch or dinner (or whatever meal time would have been close). It would have been a 30+ minute trip for us one-way, but we would have been glad to do it.
The absolute truth of it is that neither of us want people to feel like they’re obligated or put on the spot. We’d like for people to come because they WANT to. Because they care about family.
Oh, wait… that’s just KC family. Out-of-towners don’t count.
And yeah, I'm bitter about it. 27 years worth of bitter.