All over Instagram and Facebook today, I saw shots of people with their siblings. Old photos, new photos, all the photos. It has stirred up some weirdness in me.
I have a younger brother. He's lucky to be alive, since I really wanted a puppy and they gave me a weird baby instead. The only reason why I allow him to live now is because he presented me with a nephew, who is the 3rd-cutest baby ever to live (behind myself and WeePiglet, natch). Our relationship is all right, and there is a photo of us that captures it perfectly, but I can't seem to find it in my online archives.
So the one I posted today is the single photo I have from my childhood of me and my older sister. She is six years older than I am, nearly to the day. But we are strangers. I think I've seen/spoken to her fewer than 20 times in my entire 39 years. We [obviously] weren't raised together, as we share a father but have different mothers.
It's weird. I spent my entire life knowing that I had a sister (and an older brother, but if he were to die in a fire I'd cheer - that's a story for another day), and that she lived literally 5 miles away from us the whole time. As a kid, I didn't understand the complexities of the adult relationships that kept my dad from seeing his other two kids, and I remember so clearly that feeling of being confused about it all. I didn't yet realize that my parents were just as flawed and fucked-up as the next people, and that they made shitty decisions every day that affected us kids. I truly believe they all were just doing the best they knew how, but we were sort of pushed to the side and kept apart.
Still, I was always aware of my sister. She went to a different school than I did (thank God), and was the Homecoming Queen and class Valedictorian and all that jazz. She was the blonde princess I could never be. And I feel cheated of that relationship. I could have had a sister to help me navigate my teen years. A sister from whom I could borrow/steal clothes. A sister to talk to. To lean on. To learn from.
But because there was so much strain between our dad and her mom, that never happened, wasn't encouraged, and was rarely spoken about. And we grew up. Apart.
I went to her wedding (but wasn't asked to be in it). She came to my reception (but, again - wasn't asked to be in the wedding). When she had her first baby, we saw a bit more of each other, but then I moved away and that fragile link was allowed to break. We just never got into the habit of talking and building a relationship.
The last time I saw or spoke to her was when my younger brother got married in 2007. We spent that evening talking and comparing notes about motherhood (WeePiglet was a baby then), but we haven't talked since. Maybe the odd Xmas card.
My birthday is Saturday. Hers is Tuesday. I am thinking about writing a long letter, inviting her to be part of my life, and asking her to try to be part of mine. But I'm afraid that too much time has passed, that we're too old to figure out how to be related to each other after all these years. Most of my friends don't even know that I even HAVE a sister. Sometimes even I forget this.
I see friends who bitch and moan and complain about their sisters, and I think "if you only knew how lucky you are..." I would give almost anything to have a relationship with my sister that was strong enough for us to fight about stupid crap.
I don't know how to do it. But I know I have to try.