I got a long series of texts from my sister today that I’m going to start by duplicating here:
“I am probably going to ramble a little, so I apologize in advance for my nonsensical texts that follow . . . I couldn’t sleep early this morning, so I started reading your blog. I have been a terrible reader and not kept up. I read from end to beginning and by the time I woke the kids up for school, I had experienced every emotion possible. I started daydreaming about all the ways I can make up some of the wrongs that have been done to you. In an overly dramatic, I can’t explain why, fashion, I feel the need to wrap my arms around you and tell you that you ate (sic.) one of the most beautiful ‘gurls’ I have ever met. Truly, inside and out. You are kind and honest and an amazing friend. I want to help you in any way you need. You said you felt like you had two different lives, one here and one in Minnesota. Of course, I want you here, and to be happy here, but if you find you have bigger or different dreams, I want to help you achieve those, too. Not ate one of the beautiful . . . you ARE one of the beautiful. Yikes . . . that changes everything . . . hehe. I want to slap [your ex husband], run your mother over with my van (because running her over in a mini-van is much more colorful than just a car), I feel the need to track down everyone who has ever hurt you and ask them what the hell is wrong with them. So I have spent the morning trying to come up with ways to show you that you absolutely deserve love, the kind of love that you question exists, and I promise to try and help you see that you deserve so much more!! I don’t mean to be all cheesy and sentimental, and I really hope this doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable. I feel like, until I met you, I haven’t really ever experienced friendship. That I have had ‘friends’ that were convenient or needed something. I am forever grateful that you have come into my life. I wasn’t going to get all emotional and sappy, but a little bit ago, my dad called and told me that the sweet friend that helped [my brother] at his worst, who got him into rehab and paid for some of it, recently died, of an overdose. It put, once again, what is important into perspective and I just felt the need to tell you that I love you . . . hehe . . . and I was so cheesy . . . that I couldn’t help but go here . . . ‘You are good enough. You are smart enough. And doggone it, people like you.’ Stuart Smalley. I had to end on a lighter note. :)”
That was 23 texts, if you were curious.
So I’d like to respond. You may be wondering why I’m responding on here, rather than texting back or calling her. I did text a response, but I couldn’t think of what to say. Truthfully, my response would be far more than 23 texts, and too emotional for a phone call. You’ve all been on this journey with me, and I feel like I need to respond publicly. I hope my sister is not offended (although if she is, she should tell me and I’ll take this down). I just need to get my long, convoluted response out there.
To my dear sister,
I did not know what family really meant until I met you. I love my biological brother dearly, but even at our closest, we have never had the relationship that you and I have. My mom and I have had a difficult relationship nearly my entire life. My dad wasn’t there, for the most part. I was close to my grandparents, very close, until I hit adulthood and they disowned me. The aunt that I am close to now wasn’t around when I was growing up. I didn’t meet her brother until a couple years ago and we barely exchanged 10 words. I have 2 sets of aunts and uncles on my mom’s side. I’ve never met one set, and have never been close to the other. My step dad and I are reasonably close now, but weren’t at all when I was growing up. I can’t emphasize that enough.
When I was 8 or 9, before my step dad adopted me, my parents were remodeling the house. I had to go with them to pick out carpet. I hated the pattern they picked. Hated. I know now that, because I’m colorblind, I probably saw it differently than they did. It made me nauseous and I didn’t want it in our house. They made it very clear that it was their house and I just lived there. My opinion did not count. (Now, I’m not saying 9-year-olds should have as much say in the decoration of the house as the adults, but maybe they deserve a little input.) On the car ride home, I was in a terrible mood. I cried in the back seat until my dad turned around and yelled at me. He was really harsh. I don’t remember the exact words, but it was way over the line. I yelled back that I hated him. (Also out of line, but I was 9, he was an adult.) He responded that he didn’t like me and would never like me.
We’re close now, but it took me many years to get beyond that.
I have never doubted that you love me. I know that you support me and care about me. I go to you with all of my problems and all of my good news. You are my sister.
I was telling my coworker a story on our lunch break yesterday. Actually, it’s a funny story and somewhat relevant, so tangent-
About 8 years ago I got a new phone. It was a new number and I wasn’t able to transfer any of my contacts. So, for a few months, I picked up every time it rang, since I couldn’t tell if an unknown number was a friend or a telemarketer. I answered the phone one afternoon and a very sweet voice said, “Hey! How are you?” I didn’t recognize it, but I thought I could figure it out. So we chatted casually for a few minutes, but I could not place the voice. So I said, “I’m really sorry, but who is this?” She said, “It’s your sister.” I paused, then said, “I don’t have a sister.” Yeah, I had a 5 minute conversation with her and neither of us realized we didn’t know each other.
So, I told that story to my coworker, and she laughed, but looked confused. “But, don’t you have a sister?”
Because I talk about you all the time and I refer to you as my sister. Any friends I’ve made in the past 5 years or so don’t know that we’re not biologically related, that we didn’t actually meet until we were adults. I will argue adamantly that we are sisters. And I will fight anyone who says your kids aren’t my niblings. (Gender neutral term for nieces and nephews. Seriously, it is my mission to get this word into our everyday vocabulary.) I haven’t been in a fight in a long time, but if anyone wanted to debate my relationship with your kids, I would punch them in the face. Your kids are my whole world.
I can’t wait to move in with you. I was conflicted for so long as to what to do with my life, but I feel confident now. I want a family. Unconventional as it may be, you are my family. I’m blown away by your support. No one has ever offered to help me the way you have. Plus, there are so many times when I just really need to hug one of your kids and it kills me that I can’t. It kills me that I’m missing them grow up.
I have had some bad things happen to me. If I were a different person with a different world view, I would say the world owes me. Or, at the very least, I’m karmicly due. I don’t believe that, I think things just happen. It’s easier to just live life like a dog with it’s head hanging out the car window, taking everything as it comes and just being happy to be along for the ride. But, if I did believe the world owed me something good, I’d also believe that you are that payment. Cheesy, I know, but you and your family are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I feel like I belong somewhere now.
I would like to believe that love exists and that I deserve it. If there is anyone I trust to help make me believe that, it’s you.
Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for supporting me. I hope I can be half as good a sister and friend to you as you are to me.
I love you and I’m so glad you’re in my life.