August · birthdays · sister · Uncategorized

A Month of Birthdays

August is the birthday month for my two sisters and both my parents, so I’m going to write about each one of them during the next 20 days.

She’s my older sibling, 4 years my senior, and I don’t know her.

The last time we talked was at our dad’s funeral 13 plus years ago, not that we had ever been close. Maybe it was the age difference that created a gulf between us, or perhaps we never ‘gee-hawed’, as the saying goes. Whatever the reason, we didn’t connect.

Mother often recited, “Just because you are sisters doesn’t mean you have to be best friends.” And we weren’t.

As a kid, I admired her quick humor, her cleverness, and I craved her approval. Was it my insistence she like me that caused her rejection? Often we distance ourselves from the demands made by another person, struggling to be free of entanglements that seem suffocating. One side clinging, the other resisting.

It’s an unexplained mystery.

Like sisters across the planet, we fought, we laughed, and we formed a unique relationship of distance.

I felt inferior to her, my self-esteem dependent on her acceptance. Measuring my weaknesses against her strengths the results were skewed and out of balance.

A shared history seen through a shattered mirror. Her vision recalled from one fractured piece, and mine from another. Coexisting as strangers in a house called family.

I could say I miss her presence. How do you miss something that was never there?

I can regret connections not made, opportunities lost.

Maybe in another lifetime.

Today’s her birthday, 80 years old.

Happy Birthday, Karen, a sister unknown.

 

 

 

 

9 thoughts on “A Month of Birthdays

    1. Peter, how lovely of you to say. We both have, no doubt, missed alot, but that space has been filled with other people and other adventures. All is right in the universe. I think you may be correct about separations between families in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Ah, well, you left out that her animosity most likely stemmed from your being an adorable, blond toddler when she had grown used to being the star of the show.

    From: that little voice Reply-To: that little voice Date: Thursday, August 9, 2018 at 9:11 AM To: Paula James Subject: [New post] A Month of Birthdays

    WordPress.com that little voice posted: “August is the birthday month for my two sisters and both my parents, so I’m going to write about each one of them during the next 20 days. She’s my older sibling, 4 years my senior, and I don’t know her. The last time we talked was at our dad’s fune”

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  2. Ah, the complexity of sibling relationships… I find a sense of comfort in the open vulnerability and acceptance I read in your words. What comes up for me is an understanding that even with the distancing, lack of connection between me and my siblings I hold them with care and often experience tenderness when I think of them. I’m wondering if this was present for you in writing the last lines of your piece, which as you might imagine resonated deeply for me.

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    1. There is a wistfulness in those last lines, wishing we could have connected, but didn’t. Yes, tenderness is present as I think of her, but also anger, humor, questioning, and hopefulness that she has peace and satisfaction with her life.

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