Here is the email I recieved from my sister:
I was waiting to respond to this until I was no longer angry. I was really hoping we could do something together without all the drama. I didn't want to respond when I was angry because I what I had to say would not have been nice. When you proposed the weekend of the 14th I said that would be fine if you didn't mind sharing the day with K. Sharing the day kind of implied some compromises. I told you a few people would be coming up from home for her party. I thought that implied that those would be the people invited to the shower so there wouldn't be any hurt feelings and I could still throw a decent party for my own daughter which is also very "important and special" to my family and was planned first. I couldn't invite people to the shower who are not coming to the birthday because it will be very obvious that we are setting up for a two year old birthday party. It would also be very difficult to set up for that party with lots of extra kids running around destroying the house before the birthday party. Maybe you haven't stopped to think about it, but it is already a huge undertaking to throw two parties in one day and actually try to make them both decent and special parties.
And usually the mom does have to compromise when it comes to the guest list because you are the honored guest and not the host. I had to invite people to both my family showers that I did not feel comfortable inviting because I really didn't know them. I also compromised on the guest list to my friend shower because of the number of people. But because you had to play the whole my family doesn't love me guilt card I feel like I have to invite these extra people and compromise my own ability to enjoy my daughter's birthday party.
So anyway, I was really hoping that having kids would give us more common ground and bring us closer. I am done with all the drama. I was honored that you asked my opinion on strollers and would be glad to help in anything else. If you want I can look over your registry and offer suggestions. I did that for a friend of mine and she was very appreciative of the insider advice.
And here was my response:
J, I am certainly through with the drama too. I did not know that sending you a guest list would create drama. I worked really hard to make sure my email sounded nice. I wanted to explain my opinions to you, but ultimately, I said it was your decision. You are the one who responded with an angry email (and yes, anger was in the first sentence so that definitely sets the tone), when all I asked for,politely, was a response.
I don't think our relationship problems are my problem or your problem, but instead they are our problem. We both have to own a piece of it. Whenever we talk, I feel like you are waiting for me to say the wrong thing so that you can scold me for it. Sometimes maybe you should step back and think, 'what if someone else said this to me? would I still be angry?" And maybe you should read my emails while smiling so you can put yourself in a good place while reading them, instead of reading them and getting angry.
Here's an example of how this may have been handled differently:
Remember that I said in my first email to you - Instead of flying up here for a baby shower, can you throw me a baby shower? I'm thinking of about 9 people I'd like to invite.You responded "Sure, if you don't mind sharing the day with K."
Now at this point you could have said, 'I'd like to invite the same people to both parties (though a few others to K's). I know you said you have about 9 people you'd like to invite, but I'm only thinking of inviting these people....'
Then I could have said 'Okay, I can deal with that.' Or I could have said "Actually, I'd like to invite a few more people. Maybe we can have the shower on Sunday or a different weekend."
I was unclear what 'share the day with K' meant. You thought it implied what I just said above, but it didn't. To me it meant there are restrictions on the time for the shower - you did mention it would be in the morning. And it also meant that I would get to attend K's birthday party, which I was excited about. All of these seemed fine with me, so I said 'yeah, that sounds like a great idea.' Do you see where the confusion came from? Maybe in the future it is better to specifically state something that to assume it is implied, so no one gets confused or upset.
Also, if it's a huge undertaking to throw two parties in the same day,then I wish you would have said so in the first place. Like 'that's Katie's birthday weekend, so I'd really prefer another weekend just because it would be hard on me.' And we could have picked something different. I don't want you to have a difficult time - I want it to be fun for you. I suggested that weekend but I didn't say it had to be that weekend. Also, I don't know what is involved in a two year old's birthday party (I think when I was a kid it was just a cake at the state park), but I'm certain that K and I are there to help with whatever. We won't just be sitting around while you work.
Now, like I said in my original email, this is ultimately your decision. I need to know that decision so that I know what to say when mom asks 'who's invited?' particularly since she is close to J and sees R daily. So now I know the decision. If given the choice, I may have chosen something different, but now that our plane tickets are booked and K's family shower is planned, we will go with this.
Please make sure to invite Aunt S, and send invites with notes to K and M so that no one else will be excluded from the guest list.
Hopefully this settles everything and makes you feel less angry and hurt.