…do some people feel the need to be better than everyone else, even if only in their own eyes?
Today I went out to Waterford to help out with Grandpa’s yard sale. Aunt Jean had told me last night that it would just be me and Aunt Margaret helping, so I truly felt an obligation to be there. I suspect she may have thought that if I knew my cousin Tracy was there, I wouldn’t go. She would have been right.
I don’t like Tracy. She grates on me. She’s a throwback to a different era, when women stayed at home, in the kitchen, and were domestic. Not that there’s anything wrong with being domestic, but she takes the cake (after she’s baked and decorated it of course). Over the course of the morning she didn’t miss a single chance to point out how wonderful her life/her kids/her church/her everything is, and how obviously better than everyone else she/they all are. Someone told me – don’t remember who – that Tracy’s nose was seriously put out of joint when I showed up because she lost her "status" as the oldest grandchild. How stupid is that?
So Tracy cans and preserves everything imaginable. She has a cellar loaded with stuff she’s put down. That’s nice.
So Tracy knits, crochets, sews, embroiders, and does nearly every other craft imaginable. That’s nice.
So Tracy is a gourmet cook. That’s nice.
So Tracy has four perfect children. That’s nice.
But why does she feel the need to constantly hold up all these things like they make her some kind of goddess?
Her son and daughter are both in Cubs. Peter is a second year cub, just like Sean, and Hannah is a first year. Tracy was boasting that Peter has earned 20 badges already, and Aunt Margaret asked me if Sean was in cubs. I said yes, he was a second year cub, and had been chosen as a sixer this year – which is unusual for a second year cub. And Tracy chimed in to tell me that Peter is also a sixer, AND Hannah is a second. Sigh. Just can’t let my son be better, can she? No, wait, it’s not about being better – it’s about pride in and pleasure in the accomplishments of others. I can be impressed that Peter is a sixer, and genuinely pleased for him without feeling the need to hold Sean up for comparison (unless of course I’m with Tracy and feel I have to). She can’t.
Then later Grandpa was joking about paying us for our work, and I made the joke that I should’ve brought Brianna and she could have earned volunteer hours for school. Guess what? Tracy’s daughter Rachelle is finished her hours. Well, yeah, I should hope so, she’s a lot older than B. So I pointed out that B is only in grade nine, and to be finished hers by the end of grade nine is a fair accomplishment. To which Tracy responded, "Yes, I suppose it is.". The implication being clear that it wasn’t nearly as good as what HER kid had done.
Oh, and get this…we were talking about Grandpa’s birthday celebration a few years back, and I had mentioned the scrapbook I had done with all the pictures. She sort of sighed and told me she doesn’t see the point in scrapbooking, it takes so much time, and she’s just so busy….SAY WHAT? You have the time to preserve stuff that’s going to be eaten, but you don’t have time to preserve your family’s memories? Whatever!
Now I suppose some armchair psychologist out there is going to tell me that Tracy feels threatened by me, and that explains why she needs to be "better" than me, if only in her own mind, but frankly, I don’t care what her motivation is. All I know is that I don’t like her, I don’t like being around her, and I find her holier-than-thou, better-than-thou attitude to be extremely off-putting. Thank goodness she lives (on a farm, where she raises perfect animals, perfect crops and preserves all those perfect crops – oh, and her kids win ribbons at the fair and 4H competitions) several hours away, and seldom comes to visit (because she’s too busy doing all those perfect things) and when she does come to visit, I am certainly last on her list of people to see!