07 March 2007

We are(n't) family

A girl is getting married this weekend. I have a passing acquaintance with this person, and have been invited to attend the wedding. I've sent a (very) nice gift, but have better things to spend my time on, so am not planning to sit through a nuptial Mass.

In point of fact, this girl is the spouse's niece, which would make her my niece by marriage. In point of fact, the spouse loathes the girl's mother, who is wife to his brother. He doesn't much care for his brother either. I have, as I mentioned, a passing acquaintance with the girl, and little to say about her despite 18 years of marriage to her uncle. She is pleasant enough and presentable, one of the rather dimmer bulbs in God's chandelier, but I assuredly wish her well.

Isn't that enough?

Apparently not. Furious emails have begun to fly.

There is definitely history here. The girl's mother really is quite unpleasant to be around, and we give her wide berth when we need to be in the same space. In 20 years, I've managed not to yank her chain too hard, and only for the sake of my in-laws. (The spouse frequently laughs that one reason he married me is that he witnessed me verbally dismembering a jerk from USC before we started dating. I know he wishes I would do it to this woman, but uh, shoot fish in a barrel much?) My youngest quails when she mentions the woman's "big fake smile." Not much love lost between the two camps.

And you know, I can live with that. I can live with disliking this person, but putting a pleasant face on when it's required. I'm not a back-stabber, so I keep my opinions about her largely to myself in any company but the spouse's. But I don't go out of my way to spend any time with her.

Is any of this the girl's fault? Of course not. But the more pressing question is does it matter to her whether or not I attend her wedding. Truthfully? Of course not. She got a (very) nice gift from us and she knows we wish her well.

For her, I know it's enough.