I have become used to friends and family members who go through periods of not speaking to us.
Usually, it is because we miss a lot of holidays and milestone events, although I must admit that my big mouth and lack of a seven second speech delay do their own good bit of damage. But most often, it is because we just cannot get "back home" when we need to.
Like weddings. This August, we're missing a big one.
I have two siblings, and I wasn't able to go to either wedding. That's just the way the cookie crumbled in regards to dates, my various and seemingly perpetual states of pregnancy, and money. Money is a big one. Our family is just two kids short of a hockey team, and digging up the funds for everyone to have a plane ticket isn't always in the cards. Actually, it usually isn't in the cards. I don't think I even own cards that might have such a scenario in the deck.
I've even considered undertaking a study of Astral Projection so that at least a flickering and ethereal soul version of myself could be present at milestone events, but on the Great List of People Who Have No Psychic Ability Whatsoever, I'm number one. With a big star next to my name.
The wedding planning scenario usually works out like this:
Engaged Person: So, you're coming to our wedding, right? It's in six months. You have to promise you'll be there.
Me: Well, I'll really try, but I won't know for sure if we are moving/giving birth/have ticket money/are being deployed until a little closer to the date.
Engaged Person: Well, I'm telling you now, so just make sure you mark the date on your calender. You really have to be there.
Me: I'll try.
Engaged Person: That means you'll be there, right?
Me: //squirming uncomfortably away and trying to change the subject Have you tried that new Coke that has vitamins in it?
Meanwhile, I'm thinking: Look, we were just stationed "home". Couldn't you have gotten married THEN? Which absolutely isn't fair, because we can't really choose when to fall in love and when to trust someone enough to marry them. But I can't help the thought from popping up.
If I had my way, we would attend every single wedding/First Communion/Bar or Bat Mitzvah/graduation/and promotion party we were invited to. We really want to be there. And the obvious frustration that our friends and family have with us for our seeming flakiness makes me feel like a total heel. A stuck-in-combat-boots-for-six-months-in-the-desert heel.
And they usually say they understand, but then they don't call me back for about a year. Which has the advantage of making my Christmas gifting a little easier, but the disadvantage of depressing my available interpersonal communications.
This August my husband's best friend since Middle School is getting married, and once again we will not be able to be there. Not only that, but hubby won't be able to go stag, either, as he has a work issue that absolutely cannot be rescheduled. There is no "just scheduling vacation" in the military. We noised about hints that we would not be able to make it. We tried to warn people that we thought there was a better chance of winning the lottery than us making the wedding. We even came flat out and said, "It's not possible."
I felt like I had just killed someone's cuddly little kitten when I had to send our regrets.
One would think I would be used to that feeling by now, after so many years.