**All names & states in the following post have been changed for privacy reasons and all situations are pure coincidence.
So, as the anniversary of my older brothers death approaches this coming week, it makes me think a lot about family.
What does family really mean to you….to me…..to the girl down the street?
I come from a “broken family.” My parents divorced when I was only 6 months old. The true reasons, to me, are yet fully known. Both parents remarried other people, and have been happily married for over 35 years respectively. I have an older sister from the original marriage, along with my brother (the one that passed away 9 yrs ago this Monday), and a half sister from the subsequent marriage.
Growing up, my older sister, Janet, and my brother, Fred, lived with our father and Step-mother, Harold & Maude in Maine. I grew up in Texas with my half sister, Sybil and my mother and step-father, Shannon & Frank.
I dont remember if I was happy having a younger sister or not, I was only 6. All I knew was that things certainly did change after Sybil came into the picture, and not just the normal way that things change with a new baby. Being a parent, myself now, I totally get that you can honestly love each of your children the same…BUT, in different ways!!! If only that was the case at Shannon and Franks house.
Growing up, Janet, Fred, and I would switch houses over the summer, sometimes overlapping at one of the parents houses. For the most part those time were pretty good, if I remember correctly. It was probably because we weren’t together to much. Don;t get me wrong, we had our times when things went horribly wrong, as only they can with siblings….like when Fred dumped mashed potatoes over my head because I told on him and he got in trouble because Shannon and Frank were out to dinner with our aunt and uncle and our cousin and Janet were supposed to be babysitting us. There were more times but I can’t think of them right now.
The majority of the issues happened between Sybil and I, only. I don’t remember exactly when Janet and Fred went to go live Harold & Maude, but things sure changed at home in Texas when Sybil arrived on the scene. It was sort of like, and I can obviously only speak for myself, but I always felt pushed aside.
What’s funny though, is if you as Shannon & Frank, they would probably tell you they treated us “exactly the same.” If you ask Sybil, she will probably tell you that I was jealous of her. BUT, if you ask anyone outside of the family, they will tell you that they saw the same thing I saw…..that Sybil was treated “differently than I was.” Most of the time, if something happened, I got blamed for it, even if there was hard evidential proof that Sybil did it.
When I was a teen, moms didn’t really talk to their daughters about sex, menstrual cycles, shaving or things like that. So when I learned how to shave my legs at my friends house, at the age of 14, and Sybil was there hanging out with my friends sister, she saw what we were doing, and thought it only appropriate to tell on me. My mother immediately drove the couple blocks over to my friends house, made us both get in the car to come home, felt my leg and smacked me. I’m still not sure why!! I was 14!!! How long was I supposed to have hairy legs for???? What did I do that was so wrong? It’s not like I was drinking or smoking.
I don’t remember Sybil ever having to do dishes……EVER!!!!
My graduation….Harold, Maude, and my paternal grandparents came down for the celebration that I worked so hard for. (I went to night school and summer school…needless to say I sucked in school, not proud of it, but there you go) My dad, step-mom and g’parents had made plans to do touristy things with me. My mother said that since she had to work, I would have to take Sybil with us or I couldn’t even go. REALLY???? My family comes from Maine for my graduation, and wants to do stuff with me, and I cant even go unless I take her with us. She isn’t even related to any of them. Yep, she went!!!
Some might think this sounds like jealousy, but it all comes down to wanting to JUST be treated equally!!! That has NEVER happened in the 33 years that Sybil has been alive. It took me a very long time to come to realization that it will never happen, and the sooner I accept that and move on, the better.
Fast forward 21 years to present day…….I have 4 beautiful kids that I obsessively am always making sure everything is fair, whether it’s their chores, the amount we spend on their birthday parties, or at christmas time….you name it, I try to make sure its fair. They don’t see it now, but hopefully one day they will see that I really did make it as fair as possible, and that one wasn’t favored over the other.
it has brought such animosity to our family that I haven’t spoken to my sisters in 3 years. Not for lack of trying mind you. We did have our growing pains over the years, and for awhile there, we all got a long really well. Then 3 years ago, Sybil and I got into a huge fight, and Janet got pulled into it because she had nowhere else to go but to Sybil’s and had to side with her. So now the only ones that have contact are Sybil and Janet, the 2 that didn’t grow up together. Go figure. I have tried reaching out, in multiple ways, multiple times to mend fences, but Sybil won’t have any part of it. Since Janet lives with her, I’m banned from talking with her too!! (all my phone numbers have been blocked)
Shannon has tried a couple of times to get us all to fix things, but Sybil doesn’t want any part of it, since Sybil still thinks she rules all, I am making sure it’s known that I’m off the paddy wagon!!! No more for me!!! A girl can only try so many times before she gets the message LOUD & CLEAR!!!!
Some families aren’t all they are cracked up to be!!! Not all families are by blood, some you can choose. I think I will stick with the ones that I choose!!! (ok, along with the blood ones that have never pushed me aside!!)