I have not been here on EHell much as I have taken on a new business venture and it is occupying a frightening amount of time and sanity, but I had to come post after the drama of this past weekend.
As usual, my DH and I spent the Thanksgiving holiday with my side of the family. One of my cousins has a tradition of going to a Christmas tree farm to pick out their tree on the Saturday - the farm they like has a Santa for photos, a petting zoo, pony rides, wagon rides, concessions, etc. It's a really fun outing. On Saturday morning, we all awoke for breakfast (We stayed at one of the family homes) and the cousin was making the plans for their day. She asked if DH and I, as well as another pair of cousins staying at the house, would like to join them. We agreed, and we had a lovely day with the two couples and three of my cousin's children.
At several points in the day, I posted status updates and photos to my Facebook page via my smart phone - I had never done mobile updates before and I was having a great time doing it. Unfortunately, in retrospect, I probably shouldn't have made those updates.
Last night I signed into Facebook (first time since the weekend) to find an Inbox message from another cousin's wife ("Christine") who had been at the Thanksgiving dinner and then went home that night. It was sent to me, my husband, the two other cousins who went along to the farm (the wives only; the husbands aren't on Facebook) plus the eldest daughter of the "hosting" cousin, aged 16 - who did not even go to the farm! (She has a retail job and had to work all weekend.)
"I think it's really crappy that all of you decided to go the XYZ Christmas Tree Farm for the day and didn't even think of inviting us. We tried phoning several of you and nobody was answering. I suppose it was too much effort to think about calling us back. You guys practically had to drive by our neighborhood to get to the place and it didn't even cross your minds that we might like to go along. I am sick and tired of the lack of consideration that we get from you people. Just because we don't stay at [Cousin's] house doesn't mean we want to be left out of fun plans. You treat us like outsiders and then you talk about us behind our backs. I still haven't received a call back from anyone saying, 'Hey, sorry, maybe next year.' This is supposed to be a family, but it has turned into a clique, and you can't deny it. Christine"
I will admit that it's true; it didn't occur to me personally to ask this family along. I am not particularly close with this cousin, and I have never become well-acquainted with Christine. Christine's husband is the older brother of the "host" cousin who organized the outing, so I feel like it should have been up to the hostess whether to invite her brother and his family along. (Re: the phones - coverage is pretty bad out there, and nobody's phone rang all day; my phone was working but Christine doesn't have my number.)
I have left the message unanswered, mainly because I am as yet unable to reply civilly. (Right now I am so put off by the fact that she dumped this email onto a high-school girl that I cannot even see straight, much less apologize with any sincerity.) Now Christine's Facebook status reads: "I guess they all think I will just go away if they ignore me long enough." Of course, many uninvolved people have commented with messages of concern or nosiness.
How best to respond to her whining message? I would like to get across to her that we are no longer in junior high school and there is not a "cool kids table" at family dinners, among other things, but I know I shouldn't snark at her. Every draft I have started has dissolved into angry words. Or, perhaps I shouldn't say anything beyond "Talk to your sister-in-law." I need some help here because I'm still pretty upset for my cousin's daughter, who I'm sure is confused and hurt.