"Which of my all important nothings should I tell you first?" ~ Jane Austen, in a letter to her sister

Friday, March 25, 2011

Revised: They tell me I have sisters

NOTE: I'm imperfect, fallible and have bad judgment sometimes. Occasionally when I'm really tired - like I was last night when I posted this blog - I'm all those things at once. So I revised it. It's my blog, my prerogative. 

I was raised pretty much as an only child. Though, technically, by marriage and divorces, and more marriages and divorces, I have 4 sisters. Plus 4 living brothers and 1 brother who died before his family merged with my family so I never knew him.

That's a lot of freakin' siblings.

But this post isn't about the brothers. It's about the sisters. 

There are 4, technically. In reality, there are none. 

I mean, none like other people have sisters - that you are close to, talk to, have family get-togethers with, etc. I have no sister I can pick up the phone and call. I have no sister I can have margaritas and a bitch-fest with when I'm so out of my head frustrated with my husband, or my kids, or my work, or our parents.

Let me explain - these are the sisters in order of their role in my life history:

Sis #1 - 14 years older than me, my adopted father's daughter from his first marriage. Our families combined when I was just a baby so I was raised with her until she moved out when I was 7 or 8 to get married. Last year, over a stupid misunderstanding, she chose to cut off ties with me. She's been going through something, the last few years and, it seems, alienating herself from many people. We were close once upon a time though; I'm sad about it. This chapter is unsettled and I don't know what comes next. Oh, the drama. 
Me &  #1, like a million years ago. Or 11ish. We had a family bond.

Sis #2 - 5 years older than me, my dad's 3rd (& current) wife's daughter. My dad hooked up with her mom when I was in my mid-teens. She lives in Australia and I haven't spent a lot of time with her, but I like her a lot! I would have loved to have had a sister like her when I was younger. My dad dotes on her too. I just wish she was closer. Luckily she FB'd me last night that all 4 of them are coming to visit in June! Yay! I hope we have an opportunity to spend some good time together.
This is #2, and her very Australian husband and kids.

Sis #3 - My ONLY blood-sibling - my half-sister from my biological father. He and my mom divorced when she was pregnant with me. I never met him and he died in '98. In one of those crazy twists of fate, my cousin started dating a guy who turned out to be sister #3's half-brother. They put two and two together and introduced us in '07. We really couldn't have been raised more differently. Night and day, I think. 
Me & #3. We look alike, don't we? Terrible pic, but it's the only one I have.

Sis #4 - My stepdad's daughter. I love my stepdad, but I don't know his daughter well. I don't see her much. 'Nuff said. (I don't have a pic).

So that's them. My sisters. I've been thinking about them and the concept of sisters lately.

Maybe it's because I really wish I had had a "normal" sister/sister relationship. You know, to borrow clothes with and fight with and talk about boys with and go to school with. I feel gypped.

Maybe I just wish I had sister #1 back - before she got all weird and nutso. 

OR . . . maybe I just need to recognize that "normal" is subjective. I can't go back in time and change things.

This is my family. We are an American family. (Name that movie?) I may not get my sister back, but I have others that I can cultivate new relationships with. It won't be the same. Maybe that's okay.

That's a lot of maybes.

Tell me I'm not alone in the family weirdness/combined family thing. I'm begging you.


  1. Oh Stef... Here goes. My mother, bless her bipolar heart, has been married eight times. Or nine. I lost count at 7. I've had two step sisters and two step brothers and as a result of marriage #5 (I think) one half-sister. Oh wait and my dad has been married 3 times. One of those produced one step brother who I have no contact with because they got divorced and it was UGLY. SO 3 step brothers. The rest of my mom's marriages resulted in a bunch of thrown glasses and broken china but no kids. Thank god. Oh and one of the husbands was the same age as my ex. Sooo that was weird. My one real Sister is 14 years my junior and because my mom left her dad when she was 4 (and left her with me, as it were.. I was 18) she is more like my child than sister. I love her like my kid but try to have a sister relationship with her because she's 22 and doesn't need mothering now. When I was getting divorced I wanted to call her so bad BUT because my ex was like her dad (see how this is developing) she took his side. And we didn't speak for almost 6 months. We are still in the repairing stages. No margaritas or bitch sessions.

    My aunt and uncles, all three sets (moms side) didn't have kids until they were almost 40. Consequently I didn't even have COUSINS as a kid. And now I have cousins the same age as my kids. OH and my grandma was married twice (first time at 15) and husband #2 is the man I call my grandpa but is not my moms dad. My moms dad died in 1998. And then my mom said she had heard from my great-grandmother that her dad was actually a different man altogether. Supposedly portugese. That explains the arm hair. Oy.

    Aunt #1's first husband was Mr. Stoddard the teacher from HH. They aren't married anymore though. Which is weird cause he is the guy I knew as uncle as a kid and I see him in town but I can't call him Uncle Tom. Oh and he is best friends with my mom's #5 husband. Aunt later married a different guy and had two kids. Oh and they don't know she was married before. And their dad is friends with Tom. SO the weirdness compounds.

    All that is irrelevant though because when I got divorced they all stopped speaking to me anyway.

    My dad's family is normal. Mostly. Whatever that is.

    That's the tip of the iceberg but I'll stop now. Because I'm even getting overwhelmed.

  2. J - thank you. Nothing is ever black and white, is it?

    Interesting about your sis. I wouldn't have picked up on that in your previous posts. And they stopped speaking to you? Ugh. I hate that kind of crap. I'm not a bible-quoter (or bible-reader for that matter), but this one is relevant - something about "let he who is without fault cast the first stone."

    Thanks for sharing. (hugs)

  3. Yeah here's what's funny about the whole "you're a bad person and we can't talk to you anymore" thing. None of them. NOT A ONE came to my first wedding. Oh WHY you ask? Because I was "settling" and they didn't like him. I was selling myself short and dooming myself to a life of middle class. They hated him to the point of trying to PAY him not to marry me. $10,000. (I can't make this shit up). When I went to them and said "That's it. I'm done." They said "but you don't LOOK miserable." Oh right, therefore I should stay married. Because I'm a good actress. Sorry. Forgot. My one uncle, the worst offender (my favorite uncle too), actually de-friended me on fb. Who even DOES THAT to their family? Here's the best part... he's in recovery for a drug addiction he kept hidden for like 5 years. And no one SAID A SINGLE word when he went into AA/NA.

    I'm telling you. These people. Unbelievable.

    Anyway. Here is the primary reason I wish I was an anonymous blogger. Because then I could say all that and not hurt anyone's feelings. Not that I should care. But I do. That whole pesky golden rule nonsense.

  4. I have, so far, managed to do this blog without sharing it with family. I want to be real as much as possible but I'm am so (too) worried about hurting people so I don't share. But then I freak out and revise because I worry that they will eventually see it. Can't win on this one.

    My sister de-friended me on FB too. That's how she "cut ties" with me. Because she's so worried that our dad likes me more she's hyper-sensitive and when I listed myself as his daughter on FB she thought I was saying that I was his only daughter (because she doesn't understand FB). So she posted to her FB STATUS that our dad "has three children, not one, like 'someone' would have you believe." So I told her that was bitchy and why didn't she just talk to me about it directly and, by the way, our dad would consider sis #2 one of his kids so that would be FOUR - not three. She responded by de-friending me.

    By the way - the fact that your ex DIDN'T take the $10k is to his credit.

  5. Well OK good to know I'm not alone in the whole De-friending thing. Stoopid. Family. Ugh. It would be so much nicer to just pick the people you got to be related to. Like yeah... would you be my sister? That would work out.

    The whole anonymous blogger thing would have it's perks. I read one totally anonymous blog (though she does give details about her life her blog is mostly about her marriage and sex). I have a blogger friend who has publicly (on another blog) said that she wanted to talk about her abortion but couldn't because her blog is not anonymous and most of her family doesn't know about it. I said some stuff about wishing I could honestly say how much my mom f'ed me up and she invited me to guest blog. Interesting prospect. If the blog is read you'd still be putting it 'out there' for comment and support but not for your family to read...

  6. You bet. Sisters in spirit.

    I can think of tons of stuff for an anonymous blog. Oh boy.

  7. I have a sister, full blood relative, same parents, lived together till each of us graduated high school. And I still don't have the kind of "normal" sister relationship that you long for. And I never will. We are too different and we just don't connect. I hope to provide a better connection for my boys. Normal definitely has many different shades.