Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Yes, I do plan to turn off our heat one of these days. Just as soon as spring decides to stick around...Winter Storm GABE is expected to leave behind 6-9 inches this evening. Bitter? Moi? Non, non, j'adore sale temps.

Common Household Mom asked why I scrubbed mold in my undies instead of wearing pants. Excellent question. I don't own any white pants and I have bleach stained enough clothes in this lifetime to wise up and only wear white (or, in this particular instance, a clear vinyl rain poncho from Disney World) when I use bleach. For the record, my undies were white. Why don't I own any white pants or shorts? I have 3 sons--I push my luck wearing a light shade of khaki--I need to repel the dirt and crud they drag in by wearing dark colors that don't show stains.

My sister. Yes, I have a sister. She's almost 4 years younger then me, consequently we've never been close. When I was finishing elementary school, she was just starting. When I left middle school, she was still in elementary. By the time I graduated high school, she had completed eighth grade. The dynamics of age gave us little in common to bond over.

Other dynamics worked against us as well. I was your typical golden firstborn child, great grades, slid into my niche easily, made friends and met people's expectations. L was not these things. A learning disability made good grades difficult, she struggled to find her niche and tended to make poor choices in friendships. She got pulled and replaced in various schools, public and parochial, she swallowed various doses of medications and spiraled down a path of self-destruction that eventually led to drug addiction and all the ugliness that follows. Much of her life has been unspeakably tragic, details I won't share, not because they can't be found in public record, but because she's cleaned herself up and stayed sober and rebuilt her life over the past 5 years, and I'm respecting that by leaving her past in the past.

I've been impatient with her over the years, dismissive of her choices, disgusted by her habits, disrespectful of her needs. Proud of what I perceived as my accomplishments (degrees, marriage, house, children, career, and so forth), I was unable to appreciate her struggles and met her with an attitude of superiority and disdain. I refused to attend her high school graduation and opted to work that day instead. Truant for much of her junior and senior years, L barely graduated. When invited to celebrate her "accomplishment" I sneered and responded accomplishment for what? Graduating high school? Anyone can do that--she only made it hard because she kept skipping classes. There's nothing I need to skip work to celebrate. (Lest you think Green Girl a total bitch, do understand that she didn't attend her own graduation or expect any celebration--she'd had that attitude about graduations all along.)

When one sister heads off to college and the other barely graduates, you can imagine there's little room for mutual regard. The differences in our lives are stark and deep.

I've always yearned for a close relationship with a sister. Books like Little Women and Dancing Shoes fed my fantasy. I envied friends who were tight with their siblings, despised their love for each other because that was something I never got to have. My experience with sisterhood has been tainted by many factors, including pride, addiction, favoritism and ignorance.

Really, the whole unvarnished story would make a great novel. And maybe one day it will.

I digress. L and I haven't lived in the same state in 20 years or so. Last weekend she moved to an apartment 8 miles away. She's starting a new job soon. I drove her to run a few errands yesterday and we had a coffee together. It was nice. Perhaps, over time and with proximity, we'll be the sisters of my fantasies, the kind who share everything--secrets, histories, clothes and favors. At the very least, we won't be strangers anymore.


  1. Oh, I do hope so for the both of you. There is something very special about a relationship with your sister.

  2. Well thanks for sharing your histoire de famille, Greenie...and good for you endeavoring to keep an open mind and a clean slate with your sis after all this time. & don't be fooled...those March sisters did not have it all made in the shade...they had to work at their relationships too! *haha! It just sounds better in print...
    * ; )

  3. Sigh...my sister was 4 years behind me in school, too and we never got along. I am just thankful for caller ID so I can avoid her drunk dialing diatribes against my politics (most of which she just supposes). She spends her day in front of the tv watching MSNBC, with only a short break for Days of our Lives. She broke her arm and has been off vodka for a couple of months according to my parents, but I'm afraid that the painkillers have probably just taken vodka's place. We'll see....I'm not optimistic. I'm glad you are seeing something new...in my case, it's just the same brattiness, only she's 45 instead of 15.

  4. This is a post which bares all, on several different levels. My husband has a relationship with a relative similar to the one you describe. It's not easy for anyone. I pray for you and your sister to get along (at least) and maybe better than that. I don't know what it's like because I don't have a sister.

    A work call interrupted me commenting on your previous post so I'll just put it here. I also love classical music and LIVE music is one of the great miracles of life. So glad to hear of a busy Mom making time for live music.

  5. This weather seriously bites....I'm so glad that flurries are the only thing expected here!!!!

    My sister and I are 4 years apart. Same deal here. But, as I look back..it had to be hard to follow a golden child (although, I worked my butt off while she got coddled a lot due to illnesses and what not). We're closer now. Even Little Women had their squabbles ;)

  6. Even within the same family, born of the same genetics, siblings can be so different from one another as my own family history has shown.

    I'll hope for the best in this renewed sisterhood between the two of you as well as much patience and understanding on your part.

    No one is perfect.


  7. You'll be largely starting from scratch in building a relationship. Good luck to both of you!

  8. Sounds like a good opportunity for both of you!
    I would've liked a sister. I got two brothers instead. We're 7 and 16 years apart, so not a ton in common but we get along fine.

  9. Sounds like a good opportunity for both of you!
    I would've liked a sister. I got two brothers instead. We're 7 and 16 years apart, so not a ton in common but we get along fine.

  10. Wow, my google reader suggested your blog to me, and this was the first post! I could have written this. My sister and I are five years apart, and I struggle daily to connect to her and not be her third parent. It's been better recently, but I'm very nervous about the future. Good luck to you two! Please keep us updated.

  11. Having siblings seem so complex to me. I have two sisters (I'm in the middle) and a younger brother. I'm 3.5 years younger than my older sister, and 7 years older than my brother. I'm not close to either of them, and my brother has traveled a difficult road. My younger sister and I are closer in age (2 years apart) and we've had periods of time where we've been close, and other periods where we drifted away.

    There have been times when acquaintances have implied that by having only one child, I'm depriving her of sibling relationships. But I think there are advantages and disadvantages both ways, and family is no predictor of friendship.

    Here's hoping that closing the physical distance between you and your sister will allow you to develop a nice adult friendship.

  12. I have two sisters. One is 11 years older and one is 3 years younger. Growing up I was closest to the older, now I'm closest to the younger. Siblings are easy to share with because they usually have so much in common.

  13. I hope you do get to have that closeness. My sister and I are three years apart and, even though we have our times when we're not as close, we always come back to each other. Right now, we're sharing the difficulties that go with having a terminally ill parent and not knowing if this current stay in the hospital is the time we've been dreading. We've been texting almost hourly to stay in touch and I think the constant contact is probably as much an emotional lifeline as it is staying on top of an ever-changing situation.

  14. Wow. How is that for an honest post? Sheesh! Be harder on yourself while your at it! I'm sure there is much to the story that you are not telling us, but your honesty about your feelings is amazing, though you are a bit harsh on yourself.

    My sister is 6 years older than me. I've always felt she hated me. Everyone swears she liked me when we were little. I don't remember that part. We shared a room growing up and she was the devil. My friends didn't want to sleep over because she was such a scary person. We know now that she struggles with bipolar disorders, so with medication she and I can get along. Still, we are not close. She has made bad decisions in life but I always felt badly for her. Part of me always thought it was all my fault for being born (now who is being hard on themselves?). Then I had to go and be successful and that made it even worse. I still don't think she likes me much.
    My friends always told me that they wanted a sister, I said, "you can have mine!" Ha! Mean.

    Anyway, I hear sisters can be great. But I've never seen any great sisters to prove it. Hmmm...

    Hope you and your sister can at least find some common ground.

    As for the snow...

    that's all I have to say about that.

  15. My sisters are 5 and 4 yrs older than me and we have never really had a close relationship. My eldest one had this motto my entire youth: I'm the big sister, I'm supposed to be mean.
    And she did great at it! She was really mean. I hated her my entire youth. Great job sis!! We went 10 months without speaking once - as adults!!! We are talking right now-but if she keeps talking smack about our president, it might be the start of another cold war.

    My other sister and I have barely spoken for the last decade because she is deep in her religion, so deep that she told me multiple times that I am going to hell (and not in a haha, kinda way). One time was because I read this book written by a muslim woman.

    I hope that things go well for you both - sometimes it works...sometimes it doesn't. Just enjoy it when it does!

  16. Oh, have you read Sister Salty Sister Sweet? Its a memior and it takes place in Wisconsin! Your story of your sister and you reminded me of that book.

    I have a sister 9 years younger and I feel like I hardly know her. However, I can honestly say I've never faught with her.

  17. I hope things go well for you and your sister. I don't have any sisters but I do have a best friend who is like a sister to me. We always say we're sisters from a different mister!

  18. It might not be the sister relationship of your dreams but it very well could be something sweet and lovely and important.

    I am the oldest of 3 girls. My youngest sister is 4 years younger than I, like yours. We were never close because of the age difference, because of our goals, and because we have very different personalities. In the last 5-ish years, though, our lives have curved closer together and now I am happy to genuinely call her my friend and not just my sister.

  19. I had three sisters and three brothers. I'm smack-dab in the middle; 3years between me and the youngest sibling of the "older" group and 3years between me and the oldest sibling of the "younger" group. I was never allowed to go with the younger ones because I was too old; never allowed to go with the older group because I was too young. It was a precarious position.

    My oldest sister (she was in the older group) passed away in 2001; we were pretty close as adults, having children the same ages. I was her maid of honor and she was my matron of honor. My two younger sisters are 6 years and 8 years younger than me and the older of the two is wicked to the core. She's been the instigator in many instances where she's not spoken to one or another of us - sometimes for years. She truly hates us. The youngest sister is also the youngest sibling; we've been friends for years. I think that even if we weren't siblings that we would still be friends.

    I am sure you are not telling the whole story. Sometimes stories are too painful to tell the entire details of. I know I have several that fall into that category; stories about siblings are just a drop in that bucket.

    Blessings to you and your family. I pray for peace and contentment in your relationship with your sister.

  20. I will scrub floors in my underwear-as long as I'm home alone. What's the point of getting the knees of your pants all dirty? My grandmother did the same thing.

    I hope you and your sister can patch your relationship and become close.

  21. I have an older brother and we are not close at all for similar reasons. I hope you find some of what you are looking for in your relationship with her. hugs to you.

  22. Doesn't matter what men wear when they clean -- it's always sexy to see a man clean a toilet. ;)

    Hope your snow didn't amount to much. We're in the 90's today. Ick. At least yours will end SOON. Ours is here until November. Good luck!!

  23. I'm the oldest of 7. there are 4 brothers and 14 years between my only sister and I. and one more brother tacked on the end.
    I always wanted a sister all the years I was growing up. Brothers can be such a pain. by the time I was leaving home she wasn't even in school yet. so there has really not been very much closeness between us, but we do talk now and then and get together at family events. maybe someday we will live closer and can spend more time together. Best of luck with your sister.
    I have often cleaned the shower in my underwear, as long as farmguy was in the field and all the kids were gone. saves on clothes. didn't want to get that stuff on my clothes.

  24. I'm 4 years younger than my sister and we're not close either. We used to be, but we've drifted apart. I hope you can get to know yours better and build up a relationship with her now.

  25. My only sister died at 49 before we had a chance to become adult friends. She moved her missionary family to Moscow in the early 90’s and those 'every four years visits' just didn’t allow time for developing commonalities. Now she is gone....

  26. Beautiful, raw, honest post.

    I'll pray for you two to find your sister footing.

  27. I could never use bleach with clothes on. Hell, I can barely OWN a bottle of bleach without ruining something.
    Sisters are complicated, I suppose. I wish you luck.


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