When you get married, you marry the whole family, not just the person you choose.
My father used to tell my brother and me this all the time. He wanted us to realize that our future spouse was a package, not just a single person.
I knew that my in-laws would never be easy, but I never saw this far down the road.
Today is my father-in-law's 70th birthday.
In a normal family that would mean a party, a family gathering, a cake, laughter, funny stories and gifts.
None of that will happen.
In a splintered family, you forget birthdays until the last minute. When you do remember, you sit and agonize over which card to send since no message seems appropriate for the state of affairs.
Then you fret over what to write since even Happy Birthday seems like a lie.
These people are not happy. They are not capable of happiness.
Hallmark doesn't have a line of cards for "I know we haven't spoken months, but today is your birthday and even though I know you are miserable every day of your life, I wanted to acknowledge that today you should work extra hard not to be completely despondent."
Yeah, I believe I have discovered a hole in the market.
Misery cards instead of greeting cards.
Cards that you send out of a sense of obligation rather than a genuine feeling of affection or sentiment. That is what this situation calls out for.
Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps these exist somewhere, but I have not found them.
Oh man, just had a completely killer idea. I can name the line AWKWORD™, we can find the words when you can't.
I may have found my true calling.