We went to SS23's wedding reception!
So DH, our DS12 and I attended SS23's costume party/wedding reception. (Other than our DS18, who's away at college, NO ONE else in DH's family was invited, including DH's mom and step-dad.) My and DH's DS12 decided to dress up as Batman, so my DH decided to be "Alfred the Butler," so he could basically wear a suit. lol. They convinced me to match them by dressing up as a female Robin, so I wore a dress, tights, bodysuit and tall boots. It was a simple costume, not attention-getting in any way, and I think was tasteful yet cute. When we walked in, BM was sitting at a table just inside the door with her parents, her DD (SSs' 1/2 sister) and the DD's boyfriend. (Curiously, BM's DH was NOT present.) Oldest SS25 and his girls, SGD5, SGD6 were standing at BM's table.(SS25's DW had to work.) BM did not speak to us or acknowledge our presence and immediately got up and went to the bathroom, where I learned SS23's DW was getting ready. We said hello to SS25 and the SGDs, who hugged us and were pleasant. BM's dad shook my DH's hand, first time he's acknowledged him in 20 years, so that was a decent start. The groom, SS23, came over and talked with us a few minutes.
After that, DH, DS12 and I found ourselves standing alone and went and sat at a table across the room, where we spent the next 2 hours, just the 3 of us. During the rest of the entire evening, SS25 (the one we've taken to the beach with his family all expense paid to the tune of $15K the past 3 summers) stuck like glue to BM's table (never mind he hadn't seen DH since the beach trip in July and he sees BM and her family every weekend,) The SGDs took turns sitting on BM's lap. Never once did they come over to our table. It was painfully obvious we were strangers and outliers there. Curiously, the others at our table (there was no assigned seating) turned out to be SS23's new wife's grandparents and aunts, who were extremely friendly towards us when they learned who we were, as was SS23's DW's mom, who hosted the reception. We plastered smiles on our faces for the night and even politely clapped for BM and SS23's "mother-son" dance. At one point, SS25 was dancing with SGDs 5 and 6, and I urged DH to go dance with them. He hesitated but went, and it was very sweet watching him twirl SGD5 around, so that was the high point of the night, and he was glad he did. After that, BM took both SGDs out on the dance floor and began line dancing. As they began their second song and we realized that was going to be going on for a while, we decided to leave, since we'd stayed over 2 hours and had a 2 hour drive home. We went over and said our good-byes to SS23 then SS25 and walked out. The chilly air outside felt better than the reception we had there. lol. However, we were relieved we made it through the snake pit!
The best thing about the evening, as I have processed the events in my mind over the past week, is that it was a GREAT reminder of how little we mean to SSs and SGDs. It reminded me that I am NOT SSs' mother (not even close!), I am NOT SGDs' grandmother, and, while they're all happy to let me (and DH) spend tons of money on them, they don't really care about us. That was exactly what I needed to remind me why I decided to disengage and no longer spend my hard-earned money and precious time on them any more than I absolutely have to (or for any reason other than choosing to do something to make DH happy.) Although it was sad to experience it and confront the reality I already knew, it has been liberating. And I'm going to keep this in mind every time a consideration of giving $ to them or going out of my way for them comes up. BTW, we gave SS23 and his new wife $1K as a wedding gift. Totally my DH's decision, and he wrote the check, which was fine. DH's goal was to make sure SS23 could never say he didn't attend, so we accomplished that.