Monday, July 23, 2007

Another reason I love my KID sister!

I have 2 sisters - one older and one younger. We are all very different - almost like we had 3 different sets of parents. My younger sister (Kid sister) and I had childhoods that seemed far more traumatic than our older sister. I'm not quite sure why. Our older sister doesn't choose to discuss anything with us except her social life and her 3 children. In fact, on the rare occasions we're around her she rarely gets off her cell phone long enough to have any real conversations with us. She is the ultimate sorority sister socialite. I’m not sure she deems the kid and I worthy of her attentions.

Older sister did everything she was “supposed” to do. She was an honor student in high school, went to college, joined the best sorority, graduated, got married, had 3 children, has a good job, and lives in an upscale suburb.

I was an average student in high school (bored out of my mind), went to college, got heavily involved in sex, drugs and rock and roll, dropped out of college, worked, went back to college, got bachelors and 2 masters degrees, worked, became totally commitment phobic with major intimacy issues, got cancer, survived cancer, left my high paying corporate position, wandered somewhat aimlessly for a few years and finally became an exec assistant. I’m doing extremely well. Most of my family just hasn’t caught up with this fact yet.

Kid sister ran away from home at 15, returned for a few days at 16 and then disappeared until she was 18, got her GED, bachelors, PA, masters, married a really stellar guy, had one child and adopted a second with autism, became an expert on her children’s needs, became a published author, is working on her doctorate and teaching college. She’s extremely successful. However, as with me, most of our family just hasn’t caught up with this fact yet.

Kid sister and I don’t enjoy our family gatherings – in fact we try to avoid them like the plague. Even though she and I have both done very well and become quite successful in our lives in many areas, we are treated like the proverbial black sheep of the family. Everyone seems to relish rehashing our past trials and tribulations and beating us over the heads with them. At this point, she and I understand that this is their problem. However it doesn’t make for happy family interactions. Thus our avoidance of them unless absolutely forced i.e., weddings and funerals.

Bottom line; we have chosen to maintain a distance between us and them. Frankly, they bore and depress me because they refuse to see me as anything except a person who totally fucked up her life and threw away her opportunities. Kid wants her children exposed to normal people and not our incredibly dysfunctional family. They don’t know us and we probably don’t know them either. And that’s okay because we have each other and we also have wonderful lives and friends where we are – me 2,500 miles and kid 1,000 miles from the nearest relative.

She complains that I call her my Kid sister, but she is and always will be and I love her. Besides, she's bigger than me. When I try to express that on my blog, she sends me silly yet profound responses. To my blog about “One reason I love my Kid sister” she wrote:

Anonymous said...
Kid sister.... It is almost diagnostic of a family having had a traumatic event, that relationships get frozen in time, and people continue to think of others in the same terms as did when the craziness occurred. My family still regards me as a kid. I'm 50, I have graduate degrees, I teach at the college level, I have nice teenage children, I live a comfortable life, I am financially secure, and my own nuclear family relationships are rock-solid stable. But I am still a kid to the family of origin, even to the cool sister
(That's me - I hope)! 35 years of maturation passed without their notice. Nothing I did mattered; nobody was there to see any of the way cool stuff I have done. And when they were there, the drama was like a black hole, sucking us back into the past.

One reason I love my intelligent, creative, energetic, commitment-phobic sister is that she is a heck of a lot more committed than she admits. Her relationships mean a LOT to her. She is not a superficial person. And, she is smart enough to escape from drama and get a life of her own choosing!

-Anonymous Sister of Anti-Wife

Did I mention that I love my Kid sister?


mcewen said...

Family dynamics are so complicated. I'm only just beginning to understand the phrase 'dysfunctional family' with respect to my own childhood.

Thanks for the tip about Victoria Woods book [I love her] and it would seem to be coming out on my birthday! Is that a sign or what?

Merry Jelinek said...

I don't know a family that's not dysfunctional on some level... from my experience, the more perfect the family portrait, the more they're trying to hide.

I don't think that the goal is perfection, though, you get through it, come to terms with what you have to, and find the person you're supposed to be. Hopefully there are a few members of your family that you have and love forever, because they are a part of what makes you - whether that's something to overcome or charish...

The Anti-Wife said...

Maddy and Merry,
True, all families are dysfunctional in some ways. Damage done in childhood can take a long time to overcome and some of it never seems to totally fade away. We can either learn to deal with it or allow it to bring us to our knees. My kid sister and I chose to stand and fight in different ways. We both won, but the battle scars run deep.

Stephen Parrish said...

I'm also a middle child and my story is remarkably similar to yours (except for the sex, drugs, and rock and roll; my teen years were characterized by only the latter two).

My older brother still acts as though he's eight and I'm seven---as though he's a world ahead of developmentally. Even though he's now 50 and I'm 49.

I accept it. It's not going to change. But I also can't help noticing that I haven't seen him in six years and counting . . .

The Anti-Wife said...

Family dynamics are interesting aren't they? Our older sister acts the same way. I've learned to live with it. I moved to the PNW 21 years ago and she has never been here to see me. Makes you think, huh?

Oberon said...

.....hi anti-wife......cute name.