April 25, 2019

another stage of the derailment of sisterhood

Just joining?  Well, you can flip back and read the last post . . . or accept that I am prattling on about how I have always been the odd sister out.  Three sisters is a crowd where I come from . . .

Then:   When Reg was born Ann stopped talking to me for a year (literally, no exaggeration), because she already had a son named Reg.  Of course you realize that this is a blog name, but Reg's real name was always my favorite boy name.  Ann had named her 2nd son 'Reg' right after I got married.  I had THREE boys and used THREE other names before I finally said, 'If this is another boy I am using my all time favorite boy name.'  Thus:  Reggie.

Ann's Reg is 9 years older than my Reg and they have different last names and I called Reg by his 1st and middle names when we were at family functions because I love his middle name, but Coach would NEVER let me name a son Seamus.  Ann was miserable - she finally divorced her awful/abusive husband.  We had all been wishing she would do it for years, but divorcing didn't measure up to her standards, so she suffered - FOR YEARS.  Her husband was a narcissist who reveled in making her miserable.

Marie continued to be Ann's confidant.  Info was shared with me on a need-to-know basis.  I tried to learn about what was happening, to stay abreast, to be supportive when possible, for awhile.

Once, her ex-husband's sister Jane called me thinking that because of the year of no-talking, that she had undoubtedly heard about thru Ann's kids, that I would side with the abusive ex-husband who was her brother.  Lad was sitting at the table doing homework.  I took the phone into the garage and ripped this dumb bitch a new one.  I returned to the kitchen and cleared my throat.  Judging by the look on Lad's face, the garage door hadn't shielded him from anything.  He didn't yet know that I knew those words and how to use them.  Ann and I may not have been close, but she was my sister.

Then I just allowed distance.

The divorce happened about 11 years ago and my entire family still walks on eggshells around Ann.  Ann is a victim.  Poor Ann.  They don't challenge her to grow.  I agree that she was a victim - what happened was horrible (especially to a control freak), but I prefer that she try to seek help.  No one  urges her to do that.  Instead they pity her.  They sit around and listen to her venom - often sprouted at her children.  At Christmas her college-age kids showed up late to my parents house.  She scolded them, belittled them and embarrassed them in front of the rest of the family.  It was awful.  Coach and I came home cringing.

Still.  Eleven years later and we are feasting on
sloppy Joe's.  Steak not often on the menu.
 This was when we were at Irish dancing world
 championships a few weeks ago.  There was a
long line of people waiting for food in the cafe, and
 we just dug into our giant Stanley thermos at one
 of the tables at the venue.  Coach heated it up in
 the hotel microwave before he came to see Curly dance.
 Someone got to hang out at the hotel for hours and was
 a little put out that the food prep took an hour. 
I almost wept for him.  Almost.
Shortly after the divorce my folks called up and said they wanted to take the three daughters to a nice steak dinner.  What was the occasion, I wondered?  Mom explained:  'Ann has not been out to a nice steak dinner since the divorce, so we thought we would treat her.'  Um, well . . . first of all, I am surprised that I was included.  Nowadays meals out don't involve me.  Secondly, I had NEVER been out to a nice steak dinner, because my husband and I could not afford it.  My folks weren't volunteering to treat Coach and I to fancy meals.  I was not entitled- had never been, so therefore I didn't know what I was missing.  Poor Ann.  She had been in the steak-eating club, and now she wasn't.  This dinner definitely made sense.

Now:  It took me awhile.  Coach kept begging me to stop caring.  It was hard - knowing I was excluded from shopping outings with the two of them and Mom.  But, that is what was happening.  I tried to explain to Coach that as much as I didn't typically enjoy spending time with my sisters, it hurt to be left out.

Marie fights hard to maintain her #1 daughter position (which is silly, because no one is really in the running attempting to steal her thunder), so she will do anything to smooth over Ann when she is upset, because it pleases the parents in return.  It is a vicious-cycle-puke-fest.  Ann gets upset, Marie rallies to come in town from Milwaukee to surprise her or find a way to cheer her, my folks praise Marie, and I stay out of the loop.

So Easter . . .

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