|© Photographer: Grygoriev Vitalii | |
I sent her this message on Facebook two years ago:
I am coming to town this weekend with my girls. It would be great to see you if you are around. I can sense from your lack of response to my phone calls, texts and emails that you don't want to talk to me. If you're mad at me for some reason, I hope you could talk to me about it so we could get past it. I would also hope that the girls could know their aunt. I think about you often and I miss you. If I've done something that has hurt you, I'm truly sorry. I love you and I want you in my life.Once, I had a friend stop in to where she works to tell her I said hi and to call me back. My friend said she just smirked and said "hi". In that moment, I felt so angry and slighted I vowed never to pursue her again. I told myself that if she wanted to isolate herself and live a dysfunctional life with a loser boyfriend and a daughter that was headed dangerously toward delinquency, then fine. I was tired of caring, tired of trying to 'fix her', and very tired of worrying about her.
I tend to want my 'troubled' family members to be more like me. If only they would...fill in the blank...get an education, exercise, eat healthy, get some self-respect, hold a job, have a stable home, make better choices, stop smoking/drinking/gambling, have better hygiene, take care of their warrants, pay their bills, save money, grow up. At some point I came to a realization that these family members aren't worried or bothered by their lives, so why should I be? They were obviously content with who they were and I should just accept them for who they are with all their imperfections.
My mom told me once, "You've always been a snob." I took offense to that because I think I know what snobs look and act like and for Orange County standards, I'm very down-to-earth and Plain Jane. But to my family, they're not good enough for me. I'm embarrassed by them. I have to separate myself from them because I don't like their toxic waste in my life. From a young age, I have just never felt happy with chaos and dysfunction. I've worked hard to try to retrain myself to some semblance of normalcy and function.
My sister joined Facebook a year or so ago and friended me. I accepted but didn't communicate with her because I was still holding a grudge. I scoffed at her constant posts about games she was playing and no substance to her posts, not to mention some questionable photos. But then one day recently after watching my daughters playing together sweetly, I got to thinking about my little sister and let my mind dwell on how we were as small girls and our friendship. I wished I had been sweeter to her. I felt guilty for my judgement and treatment of her. I wondered how it might be different if I had been a better, more supportive older sister.
I cried a little and sent up a prayer to God for her and said over and over again, "I miss my little sister." I had no clue how to bridge the gap between us. It just felt like we would never know each other again and maybe never even see each other again. My children didn't even really know she existed.
Then when working on my Christmas cards this year I tried finding out her address again with no luck. So I sent her a quick message on Facebook that said:
"For the love of God, give me your damn address and phone number. It's getting ridiculous the way you shut me out. Tell me what I did to offend you. ?? I am sorry for anything I've done."She wrote back with the basics I requested and nothing more. I didn't send a Christmas card or call her. But she messaged me back again asking if she could come visit. Huh? Visit? It sort of scared me because I immediately thought that she lost her job or got kicked out of her latest home and wanted to live with me. But upon further investigation she let me know that she had vacation time accrued and her current boyfriend was driving down to visit his mom and she wanted to visit me simultaneously.
So fast forward a few weeks...SHE IS HERE! My sister arrived this week and we've been hanging out more than we have since we were kids! It is so surreal and awesome. It's just nice to have her around and see how she's evolved into a woman. She's not perfect, but hey - she has been helping me clean the house and that is HUGE for her. She used to be a slob. She is cleaning the details that I would never ever get to like the sliding glass door and its sliders, the garden window, the stove.
I have trouble understanding her idiosyncrasies and choices, but I'm just trying to enjoy the time we do have together. I have to stop myself from making her my little project, wanting to change her. (She needs a hair cut, glasses fixed, a little makeup, braces and teeth whitening or veneers, to stop smoking and get a little daily exercise.
I guess what's most important though is that she is happy, healthy and taking care of herself. I find myself asking her a lot of questions that she doesn't want to answer. I guess she's ashamed and embarrassed. Her last boyfriend apparently abused her; but she wouldn't say much more than that.
Now she has a new boyfriend. I met him and he seems nice. Old, but nice. But I guess all jackasses can be nice when you first meet them. My sister likes men to be like a dad to her and tell her what to do. Kind of weird to have family get-togethers with your little sister dating a guy that is the same age as your mom. I have nothing against dating senior citizens, but you should probably make sure they have a good retirement fund or other assets to offset the age and attractiveness gap. Okay, okay, there's that snob in me again...
I'm just so ecstatic that my little sister is actually here and in my life again - that is the bottom line. I have missed her. I am not perfect either and I'm struggling with my own issues and I'm happy she's here to talk to. I'm also so glad that my chickadees and the l'il chicken hawk have some quality time with their aunt. What a blessing from heaven above - a true miracle from my perspective. I've realized lately that God is the only one who can heal our family relationships; it's nothing I can do solely.