Tuesday, August 31, 2004

But what does it mean?

A lot of backstory is going to be necessary here, and I'm going to make it as brief as possible.

When she was about 14, my younger sister went to live with my aunt (our mom's sister) and uncle, Laura and Greg. K had been unhappy living at home, was not responding well to homeschooling, and just generally needed a change. My mother reluctantly agreed, wanting K to be happy. Laura and Greg have a bit of money and act as though they have a great deal more. They also are the sorts who feel that their way is the only way, and expect people to adhere accordingly.

For several years their lifestyle was ideal for K - she finished high school with honors and attended the community college, where Greg is President, for one year. In the time that had passed, Laura and Greg adopted two sons and K took care of them in almost an au pair capacity. She changed her last name to theirs and took a more conventional spelling of her first name. She had wanted to apply to Wells college, but been talked into doing CC first.

One day she decided (she was 19) that she could make her own decisions and wanted to leave. She did not know how to approach Laura and Greg, and called my mother. At this point I am not entirely clear on what happened other than K left and moved in with mom, and Laura and Greg were furious. They felt undermined by ungrateful relations and have not forgiven K or our mother. Most of the family has taken Laura's side without consulting anyone else to find out what happened, and only my grandparents are speaking to my mom. I have taken mom and K's "side," inasmuch as I refuse to stop talking to them because my ADULT sister decided she'd rather live with her mother through college than her aunt, but I also am aware that I don't know the entire story.

I haven't heard from my aunt or any of my uncles (her and mom's brothers) in the 4 years since this happened, but since we hadn't been in touch prior to that it was not the end of the world. In fact, the worst part of all of it for me was seeing my sister's heartbreak at being cut off from contacting our cousins, who she considered brothers.

I was torn on who to invite to the wedding. I decided that since there is no bad blood between me and any of these relatives, and because it is only proper if you invite one aunt or uncle to invite all aunts and uncles, to send Laura and Greg an invitation. I confess, part of me hoped that they would not be able to resist showing off (they really do think they're better than everyone else) and possibly bring Ryan and Spencer. It was a long shot at best but it would have been really nice for K.

I received reply cards from Laura and Greg and from my uncle Brenton (the youngest and I believe also not speaking to mom), both regrets. Then yesterday I got an envelope from Uncle Brenton. It looked like a letter.

Let's just say it wasn't.

It was a photocopy of Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" - alone in the envelope.

I haven't the faintest idea what he means by it. Will and I discussed it and came up with several unlikely possibilities. It could be an admonishment of some sort for standing by my ONLY SISTER (not to mention mother) instead of siding with the rest of the family. It could be an apology for cutting me off in favor of the rest of the family - but then wouldn't I be the road less traveled by? And what am I in trouble for, anyway? I WAS IN CHICAGO.

Oy. I am so baffled. Please help.