Some random thoughts, and hopefully a little bit of encouragement mixed in there.
I didn't do it with the intention of getting paid back. I did it b/c I loved the kids and wanted to do stuff with them and for them.
My suggestion is that you try to recast this as having nothing to do w/ your sister, and instead zero your focus to those kids. Reach out to them on their own. Friend them on Facebook, and like all their posts. And sometimes share stuff with them. Just ďbe around.Ē Send them an email now and then, out of the blue.
Thatís where your investment was, and thatís where the payoff can be.
But I just kind of always assumed that when I had kids, my kids would matter as much to her as hers did to me, and would be evidenced by her involvement with them. Who wouldn't think that? I think it's a reasonable assumption. And THAT is what hurts now.
I actually didnít assume that. I was aware that by the time my kids finally came along, and were little and cute, my sibsí kids would be pretty time-consuming. Theyíd be 7, 8, 10 or 11, and thatís when parents are really busy w/ the demands that their childrenís lives put on them.
But, I also knew that when my kids came along, Iíd fade out.
I had the advantage, perhaps (and I think it was an advantage for me) that we were very far apart. And I knew that my sibs had far less money than I did, plus they had families. And so I knew they simply couldnít put in the time, because they couldnít travel to me.
It helped me a lot, I think, because I had a realistic assumption of what things would be like. But it did make me sad, even in advance, because I knew what was coming.
Interestingly, Iím not upset at what that means about whatís between me and my sibs. I think thatís part of your pain here, that you see it as a referendum on the relationship
between you and your sister.
For me, Iím sad for my kids, that they donít get to have fun and interesting aunts & uncles. I was a fun and interesting aunt; my sibs would be fun & interesting au-ncles, if they were closer or if the timing had worked differently.
Thatís a difference between us, I think; I have a feeling Iím fortunate, bcs I think this sadness is easier to live with than your pain. So again, sympathies!
The thread through your whole last post, to me, has been this:
And when it's your own sister that you feel used by, that's not a good feeling.
And of course the ďI matter and you donítĒ feeling, w/ you sensing that she thinks you should defer to her, etc.
That stinks, and Iím sorry you have that dynamic w/ your sister.
I often think that it's very important not to have false hopes about our relationships
with family & friends. Accuracy is important--people often get upset with the phrase, "That's just the way she is." But I think that when this phrase comes up, it's usually because someone is pressing for unrealistic and inaccurate responses from someone else. The someone else is not going to change; constantly expecting a different response really only increases the pain.
Of course, that's easier said than done! I had to do it w/ my brother, who doesn't love me as much as I love him, and who doesn't meet my expectations (The biggie: He came from IA to NYC and *sat around in the hotel and later in the airport for hours killing time* rather than make any effort to get ahold of me to get together. Ouch!)
It took a long time. But it is so much better now that my assumption is that he can't be bothered, doesn't really like me much, and is only talking to me because he has to. Then when he's actually pleasant, it's a nice surprise! and in the middle times, I don't even think of him.
I wish you the mental adjustment to letting go of this expectation, and to finding your own peace with this.
(But it does stink, and I'm sure it really hurts. Hugs!)