After the disastrous dinner Tuesday night that I discussed in my last blog, I received a text photo from my sister-in-law depicting my young nephews with their late night slurpees. In my storm of seething judgement, I chose to not respond to the message in fear I may say something I could not take back.
This morning my sister-in-law texting me to ask if I had received the photo to which I responded “I did :)”
I then received a much longer text explaining her disappointment in me for not acknowledging the photo while insinuating my lack of care for my nephews. I was stewing.
My knee jerk reaction would have been to text her back and tell her how frustrated I feel watching them parent and how I am having a difficult time overcoming my resentment and jealousy. I would have begged for some empathy and compassion. It would have been all about me. But I took a few hours to process before responding.
In debriefing with one of my most trusted pals, she challenged me to consider what my ultimate priority is. Voicing my opinion on parenting? Forcing empathy? Or protecting my relationship with my nephews? This was easy. As satisfying as it may have been to share my own opinions, the damage caused would have been irreparable. My priority, by far, is maintaining relationships with my precious nephews.
Will I ever be best friends with my in-laws? I am realistic that the answer is no. But they are the gatekeepers to my nephews and they deserve my respect and kindness.
I wrote back and validated her feelings, acknowledged that I had hurt her, and emphasized how important those kids are to me. She responded immediately telling me how much my apology meant.
Did I get everything I wanted out of this interaction? Of course not. But did I get the most important thing? Absolutely.