We are family
This is me and my sisters a year ago -- one of many pictures in a series taken that day. Sharon and Karen (the twins) are on the left, Ann (the youngest) and me (eldest) on the right. I obscured and blurred and doctored up the photo a bit because I don't have permission from any of them to post it but I just have to.
Hold on... it might be one of those posts...
Sharon hates having her picture taken, especially in these smile-for-the-camera, obligatory, "let's get a picture" group shots at gatherings. There must be some terrible picture-taking mojo she holds on to, because the feeling of dread about the eventuality -- or even the possibility -- of a group photo like this can fill her with dread, put her on-guard, and skew her feelings about the whole gathering. We would have a more recent sister photo from the big get-together in June, but Sharon vanished at the mention of it. "We just did that on Mother's Day..."
There was grumping when we sat for the photo above. Apparently needing a big space bubble that day, Sharon didn't want Karen touching her. Remember one of last year's car commercials with the kids in the back seat and little brother pestering the hell of out of his sister by holding his finger 1/4" from her face, all the while taunting, "I'M NOT TOUCHING YOU, I'M NOT TOUCHING YOU..."? Well, Annie started to do that to me, and then to Karen -- trying to lighten things up a bit. It was working. It worked so well that Sharon started to play along, calling out, "I'M TOUCHING YOU," while grabbing a big handful of Karen's boob. This is the picture right after that -- where, I'd say, the mood was a tad lighter.
I post it now because we're not all getting along right now; we're not all as close as we've been in the past. We used to get together a number of times during the year -- just us -- just to hang with each other, enjoy each other's company, do things together. Lately, we've been getting together secondary to some bigger thing -- a birthday party or something. It's been quite a while since it was just us -- for a lot of reasons.
It was my dad's birthday on Wednesday. I called him and we talked and at the end of our conversation he apologized because we ended up talking about family again, specifically (mostly) about the sisters. He was seriously concerned that there was a rift that might not be mended. I really think that all those years of our getting together, really working on keeping a connection with each other, even talking about how we never wanted to end up not speaking to each other -- for years and years and takin' it to the grave, as was the case with our grandpa and one of his brothers, as we've seen amongst some of our other relations -- guaranteed that we never would be able to hold a grudge or be angry for too long. When I talked recently with one of the rifting parties, in one breath it was, "I'm not ready, she said hurtful things" and in the other, "I love her; don't worry, I won't be mad forever."
There's an ebb and flow to all of our relationships, of course; they're fluid. But we're sisters-as-an-entity as well as sisters individually, and there's a very deep and very strong bond -- one that just is, and one that we've nurtured. We can go from bitchy-don't-touch-me to boob-grabbing, feet-in-the-air, tears-streaming, side-splitting-laughter in a blink. We get jealous and angry and mad, we say hurtful things and do hurtful things, we have such different reactions to the same information, and yet we understand each other -- usually.
It's been an intense year for my family and, as the eldest, I feel it keenly -- not that no one else does, certainly, but I think I have a different perspective and even awareness of it all -- what things mean, the motivations, the perceptions and misconceptions, and also because it puts me in an advisory position (from all angles). Yeah, okay, so all that and then some on top of my regular life -- please, please, please, world, find some balance. I know that everyone will make up, that we'll have weekends together again -- I hope that it'll happen sooner rather than later.
I'm in a weird place with blogging. I've had this post brewing in "draft mode" all week -- a little bout with insomnia on a Saturday night/Sunday morning seems like a good time to polish it off and post it.