Recently I have been asked NOT to clean my sister's kitchen. "Don't even do the dishes."
I have been told that I will never be asked to change my nephew's diaper. "To respect his privacy."
And my niece "has enough note paper. You don't need to buy her anything."
Other people in similar situations might be hurt by this seeming exclusion, perhaps feel unwanted. And in the past I might have sympathized with this self-pity. Don't they want my help? Am I not good enough? Why don't they want me to be a part of their lives?
But here are the facts:
My sisters are adults.
They have their own ways of doing things.
And they love me as much as I love them.
They know that if they asked me to, I would do the dishes and wash the windows, clean their bathrooms and prune their rose bushes. I would change poopy, stinky, ugly diapers; and I would spend my last free dollar on things for my spoiled young relatives.
They love me enough to say, "Sit down. You're a guest. I didn't ask you to dinner so you could cook it for me."
They love me enough to say I will NEVER have to do diaper duty.
(Judging by the whiff of him that baby boy can make a huge mess. I'm sure my feelings are so hurt that I will not be asked to deal with that! ... That's sarcasm, in case you missed it.)
Yes, they have their own ways of doing things and perhaps that time my sister said, a little too quickly, "No! That's okay. I can manage." Really meant If you help organize my files I will never be able to find anything ever again -- so hands off. But there's not one chance in a thousand that she ever meant she didn't love me and want me to be a part of her life.
Don't scrub her gungy bathtub. Don't change his bloated diapers. Don't worry -- I won't.
I think it's a pretty good deal, actually.