Sunday, November 23, 2014


Day 23 of the November photo challenge is siblings.  I'm not sure I'm the most qualified to write about this, but hey, I'll give it a shot.

I actually have 3 siblings: 1 sister & 2 brothers.  The reason I say I'm probably not the most qualified to write on this subject is because I didn't grow up with 2 of my siblings and I'm not very close to the one I did grow up with.

My sister and I only saw each other when we were at our Granny's house, which was a happy place for both of us.  We played on the hammock together, sewed old dish rags together, sock-skated across the wood floor together.  We ran together in the giant gerbil wheel at Lithia Park and ate push pops from the farmer's market or ice cream cones from the shop across the street from the park.  We watched Pee Wee's Big Adventure and The Little Mermaid probably hundreds of times.  We conspired together to trick a girl into believing our Granny's homemade ginger beer was actual beer and then laughed knowingly when she pretended to be drunk.  These are memories I hold close to my heart and hope my own daughters can have as much fun as my sister and I did.  For Shannon and I, it was living in separate homes that created distance between us.  For my girls, it's the 11 year age gap.  As adults, we've stayed in touch with one another.  We spent an awesome Christmas together with our Dad a few years ago, my first with Dad & my 2 siblings on his side.  We text and facebook and occasionally visit.  Of all my siblings, I'd say I'm in the closest contact with my sister.  The time together as kids has kept the bond strong, which I know would make my Granny proud.  I see other sisters who are best friends and talk constantly.  I'm envious of that connection and wish my sister and I had that, but that just wasn't in the cards for us.  Living apart and having only sporadic contact as kids didn't give us the opportunity to form that kind of relationship.  Which isn't to say I don't think what we have is special.  We may live separate lives in cities a couple hundred miles apart, but I love my big sister very much.

My oldest brother and I were very close growing up.  We had the same Mom, different Dads, but were raised in the same dysfunctional household.  I was the oldest child in the house, so I took over the maternal role and did my best to protect Mikey from anything I could.  Obviously, I was just a kid myself, but I did my best.  It was always us against them.  We would play outside and venture around town as much as possible just to stay away from our Mom and Step Dad.  We rode bikes down the courthouse steps, hid in our friend's basement and smoked cigarettes, made an emergency escape plan for every place we lived, and stuck together as much as possible out of fear, protection, and love.  That's not to say we didn't fight like cats and dogs, too.  We're only 2 years apart in age, so we had the typical sibling arguments and slap fights.  We yelled and screamed at each other, even vowing hatred or wishing for a kidnapping once in awhile.  But we were close until I moved out on my own.  I was 16, Mikey was 14.  I had enough of my Step Dad's abuse and my Mom's neglect and inaction.  My choice was to move out or allow the abuse to finally drive me to kill myself.  My brother felt abandoned.  He didn't understand that I was barely keeping myself afloat and had no way to take care of a teenage boy.  He's never forgiven me for leaving him behind.  I took my path and he took the exact opposite one.  We've never been close since.  We had even gone some time without speaking to each other until I found out he was going to be a father.  My nephew is the only thing that keeps me in contact with my brother now.

My baby brother and I had a moment when we were close.  I was 10 when he was born, so the age gap and not growing up in the same household was destined to keep us as virtual strangers.  However, there was a period of about 6 months when I lived with my Dad and Step Mom.  I babysat Billy a lot in that time and got to really know him.  He was only 3, so he was all about Barney, Sword in the Stone, The Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack, and Benny and Joon.  Smart beyond his years, it was easy to have little conversations with him.  He adored me, which made me feel amazing.  Unfortunately, his Mom is a beast so I didn't stay in her house for long b/c being treated shitty in a familiar environment was preferable to being treated shitty in a stranger's house.  After I moved back in with my Mom, Billy and I never really had much bonding time.  Before long, I was living 3000 miles away and completely estranged from my Dad, thus cutting all contact off with my baby brother.  When I moved back, we spent some time here and there through random visits.  A few years ago we went through a phase where we tried to form some common ground by texting and facebook.  Our huge age difference was one big obstacle b/c by that point I had a child and was married and he was still in high school.  There just wasn't much to talk about.  Nowadays, I think about him often, but have sort of settled into the idea that we'll never be close and that's okay.  I love him, there's no question about that.  I want him to be happy, healthy, and successful.  I want him to make good choices and reach his potential because he is smart and capable, probably more so than any other person I know.  The pieces are all there for him, he just needs to learn to put them together in his favor.

I've been blessed with 3 siblings and to experience life as the oldest child and the middle child.  In spite of all the circumstances surrounding us, I love my sister and brothers.  Being isolated from them hasn't always been easy.  I'm envious of siblings who call each other for no reason and meet up for family dinners, or spend holidays together.  That's one big reason why I'd really like to have a 3rd child in the next couple of years.  The 11 year difference between Trinity and Presley is going to get in the way of them being as close as I'd hoped they would be.  Trinity adores Presley and the feeling is definitely mutual, but it won't be long before Trin is off starting her own life and Presley won't be a big part of the day-to-day.  Trin grew up as an only child for the majority of her childhood and Presley will, too, if we don't have another kid someday.  I'm sure there are benefits to being an only child, but some of my most cherished memories include my siblings.  Even if we're all on separate paths now, I'm grateful every day that they're my family.

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