Anybody who grew up with siblings has, no doubt, experienced episodes of rivalry, anger, disagreement, schism, dysfunction at some point during life. I am the eldest of three, with a younger brother and sister. As children , we had pet rivalries and disagreements. As adults, however, it has occasionally felt as if we were raised in alternative universes or different planets with completely differing memories of childhood.
At various times we have experienced estrangement. It is rare that all three of us have gotten along swimmingly together. It is generally two against one…with the simpatico siblings varying for days, months or years.
The most challenging relationship has been that my younger sister and me. We are four years apart in age, both born at the end of the baby boom, but unable to see eye to eye on much of anything. I’ve been fortunate to experience life in technicolor since my teen years . I’ve studied and lived overseas, work in corporate America, consistently try new things, embrace all that life has to offer, and have been blessed with a renaissance that began with my second marriage in 2006.
My sister is a whip smart mother of two with a PhD and teaches at a university. She has suffered with an autoimmune disorder for 17 years. I admire her resilience and determination to live as normal a life she can despite her health challenges.
But, we’ve never seen eye to eye when it comes to family. Her theory of raising children: milk spoils. You cannot spoil children. This has been at the core of our schism at every turn. In fact, my father, brother and I never mention her children or husband when we have a rare conversation. It never goes well. But, after several glasses of a fine Cabernet a few weeks ago I was compelled to reach out about a proposed mini family reunion over Memorial Day weekend. None of us truly believed she would make the trip to Indiana to see our 90 year old father. When she suggested another time, I reminded her that when one is 90, every day is a remarkable gift. That did not resonate. So, in my wine fueled state, I texted what I thought. And, I’m okay with it.
Amber it was better to cut the head off the snake now rather than later. I am at peace.