My brother and his picture post card perfect family were planning to visit us tomorrow and watch the boys' soccer games. (Hi. I'm Minger's brother. You may recognize me from volunteering at the Methodist church, the frequent flyer lounge at DIA, or driving my giant truck around. I keep my McMansion immaculately clean, vote Republican and tuck my sweaters into my jeans held up by a braided belt.)
It's not that I don't enjoy them, and it's not like they aren't nice. But my house which is clean enough for friends or in-laws is certainly not clean enough to have them inside it. And I had things to do today like catch up on my measly copy writing job, till the garden, take a bike ride, cook dinner, etc, and I did not want to run around like a blue-ass fly cleaning (Saturdays are for cleaning and schedule changes are more than I can really tolerate and if I don't get to my to-do list today, it will never happen).
Speaking of bugs, I found a few dead bugs in the corner of my brother's basement on Thanksgiving, and they were still there in March. I love these bugs!!! I actually spend a few moments of family get-togethers talking to these bugs, "Hello, little dead bugs, seemingly permanent testament to one square foot of imperfection in four thousand square feet of over-heated cleanliness, I really love you.Thanks for being here."
Luckily, for me, they canceled. It's not so lucky for the boys though. They love their cousins almost as much as I love those dead bugs. Boy Two woke up, put on his soccer jersey, and asked when they would be here. He was ready for a full twenty four hours of anticipation, and he actually cried when I said they weren't coming.
There's no easy way to explain to these kids who love my extended family that I will never be clean enough, strict enough or normal enough to please the extended family, and because I really like to be liked (which is definitely my problem more than anyone else's), I struggle to hang around them and their perceived constant disappoint in me.