Tuesday, July 19, 2011

You can't win 'em all.

Last Friday was my brother's birthday. He turned 42...nine years older than the queen herself. *curtsies* And like the rest of us, the Sunday following his birthday was declared the official day of family celebration and all splurging goodness at my parents' house; dinner, drinks, gifts, cake...the whole nine yards. My family's awesome like that.

So along comes the week before my brother's birthday, and I'm gently informed by my Mother that as it is indeed my brother's birthday and not mine...my brother has decided that he would like to invite my ex-husband to our family celebration of his birthday. Did you just do a double take? Yeah I expected that...but read on...it gets weirder. So my brother extends the invitation to my ex-husband, which was exceedingly convenient for my brother as they live in the same house, and the invitation was accepted...I cringed...but the world kept spinning and everyone went on with their day. Weirder, right? I know!

So Hubby and the girls and I arrived at my parents' house on Sunday bearing gifts and a card, looking forward to celebrating my brother's day with him and the rest of my family, and prepared to put on our best "this isn't awkward at all!" smiles for my brother's sake. Greetings were exchanged, a Mike's Hard Lemonade was placed in my hand, and we all proceeded into the living room to deliver verbal birthday wishes to my brother, as after all...it was his day. I knew, just from basic deduction that he wasn't anywhere else, that my ex-husband would be sitting in the living room when we entered, but you see...I still found myself slightly unprepared...to find my ex-husband's new girlfriend seated on my parents' couch beside him. I know...just when you though it couldn't get any weirder...there it is.

And I truly must say that I really actually like this girl quite a bit...she's been good for us all as she's kept him happy and occupied (and off of my back). From what I've heard, she's a teacher, and a kind, smart person. Big almost always puts in a request to her Dad that the girlfriend join them for the day on the mornings he picks her up, so I figure she can't be all bad because little miss fussy britches likes her (that's Big, FYI). On all accounts, she makes my little girl very happy and treats her nicely, which is really all I care about, so in general she goes down in my book as "acceptable". Excellent. But that doesn't detract from the fact that my ex-husband and his girlfriend are sitting on my parents' couch at a family function. Maybe it's just me...but I'm more of the opinion that it would just be better for all if they just took their party elsewhere and enjoyed each other's company over at her parents' house, mmmmkay? I mean, seriously.

But we made it work, the adaptable and accepting homosapiens that we are. She sat at his side silently and stayed in the living room almost the whole time, and I roamed the house loudly and drank more than I ever have at a family function to dull the awkwardness. But you know...same, same. Dinner was eaten, happy birthday was sung by the choir, cake was eaten, kids slip n' slided to their hearts greatest desire...and then Hubby drove us home so as to avoid that whole messy Mommy getting picked up for a DUI unpleasantness. The normal family stuff. What, you mean this doesn't happen to you?! Huh...

And so maybe I didn't pass the test this weekend. Maybe I did go ahead and give the girlfriend the impression that I'm more of a binge drinking lunatic than I am a responsible 33 year-old mother of 2...but in the end what do I care? Life is full of unexpected tests and roadblocks set up to give us pause on an otherwise fine and dandy summer Sunday afternoon. Sometimes you finish the marathon and come out the winner...sometimes they find you laying drunk in the gutter half way along the race path. You can't win 'em all.

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