I'm 51 years old and I'm annoyed with myself that I let my sisters bother me. I guess it isn't their fault. Not sure that it matters at this point. The division between my two older sisters and myself has gone on for so long that they now consider themselves a twosome, a separate entity.
I can't crack the code.
It started so long ago, my parents laid the groundwork. Ann and Marie are two years apart, almost to the day. I'm 2 years and 4 months younger than Marie. The way we were always grouped , you'd think decades separated us. My brother, Pat, is less than a year younger than me, and Mike is 18 mos. younger than him. My parents ALWAYS lumped me in with the boys.
Our one local girl cousin - born smack dab between my two sisters. The 3 of them went to see Grease together. I wasn't allowed. They did sleepovers together, I was too young. They roller skated together - not me. You catch my drift.
Add to that scenario that I'm different than my sisters. I tend to speak up - even speak my mind. My sisters follow the rules. I'm not quite as by-the-book as they are. They are closed minded. I'm not perfect, but I usually have more of an open mind than they do. If someone has pushed my buttons I prefer to clear the air. They'd rather stew about irritations and complain to one another than confront someone.
LAD: COMMON GROUND
When Lad arrived, both sisters had little guys. At last, something in common. I was part of the crowd. They each would pop out another girl and I'd birth another boy. We did things together for awhile, but Ann still barked at me at the drop of a hat and Marie was out of the country for years. Eventually they planned vacations together and even borrowed the Great White for their ND tailgate.
I babysat for Ann's kids and Lad came with me. Coach was a full time student and we needed the money. Ann worked part time as a nurse and would only agree to a shift if she had a family member to watch her kids, which was usually me. It seemed like the perfect fit. Each and every time Ann came home from working a shift, she would say, "So, do you want me to pay you then?" She paid me $7/hour (late 90s), so I was hardly robbing her blind. She and her then husband were VERY well off.
How was I supposed to answer that question? "Um, yes please pay me." Humiliating.
ENTER MY MOM
The hardest thing has been how they plan things with our mom, and don't include me.
In 2010, the two of them went on a shopping weekend in the city while I was helping my dad travel to Gettysburg in the Great White with 7 of my sisters' kids and my 3 boys.
They go to dinner with my mom, or manage to spend our mom's birthday with her and I'm not included. They don't even try to hide their exclusivity, or act like they are doing something hurtful. My feelings don't count.
When I'm excluded from adult gatherings, particularly when my mom is involved, it's because Ann has never really liked me. She was mean to me growing up - she preferred everyone to act prim and proper. I don't do prim and proper. She was never corrected. As a parent, I cannot understand this. If my kids sneer at one another, Coach and I urge them to try harder, accept differences, etc.
I suspect that during her divorce, Ann requested that I not tag along, and then the three of them decided that if they got away with it once -they could always get away with it. The entire family works hard not to upset Ann. The mentality: 'she's divorced, so she's upset'. They do what they can to please her.
HOW DO I MOVE ON?
My middle child syndrome is so pronounced and I wish it wasn't. Really. I want to get over it. Move on. In my family of origin, I've been over-looked, left-out, and glossed over FOREVER.
I see a therapist. It doesn't help. My kids and Coach see things clearly, which does help, but they can't solve it. The hurt lingers.
Someone told me recently that Marie is never going to change. (neither is Ann, but she is so controlling that I gave up on her years ago) As you know, now that my folks are older, both sisters monopolize them. I've made a point to pop over to my parents' house. If Coach and I go for a walk and Ann's car is there, I feel like I should be there too. It's not normal, and I dislike the 'what I am missing' feeling.
On the way to Omaha to drop Tank at school, I asked him to read my next chapter. He opened my laptop and was more interested in reading a file titled: To Marie.
I explained: I probably won't send it, but I occasionally write in it. Tank read it and asked why I hadn't mentioned how hurt I am that they went to see Elton John together last week, etc. (I saw that on FB). I really wasn't bummed that they didn't ask me to go to Elton John. That's not the point. Most of what I vent about it my writing 'To Marie' is the emotional immaturity they display when talking behind my back and not addressing a thing that upsets them to my face.
I pointed out that asking them to include me in stuff the two of them do is silly. I don't enjoy spending time with them. That ship has sailed. While I still think I'm better off without trying to be included, the fact that they do things with my mom without me is hurtful.
As far as I know, their biggest issue with me is that I wrote a funny story about a thing that happened over 35 years ago. Then they griped about it and my nephew told Lad. *I did ask each of them to speak to me about what upset them, and neither of them would*
The funny thing? They've always considered our family 'close knit'. They hold our family of origin up as if we are the model everyone should try to emulate. Funny because Coach and I bend over backwards to not repeat the favoritism and exclusivity.
|Cousins had a blast playing |
slammo in Wisc.
Remember how I sort of dreaded the weekend in June with my side? Before the big dinner at a fancy old mansion, Coach and I and our kids attended mass. We ended up getting to the restaurant before anyone else because it made no sense to go back to the hotel for 15 minutes when we were already dressed.
The room was arranged with lots of various tables. Mini chose a table for all the young adult girl cousins. We mapped out where the boy cousin groups would fit, etc. The table in the middle of the room seemed to make the most sense for my folks. There were 6 chairs. We put my folks in the loveseat bench at one end. I sat next to the bench with Coach. Ann and Pat sat in the remaining chairs. (Aunt Leprechaun stayed home with a kid who'd been exposed to covid).
|Oops - it was Mom's 80th. Glad I |
wasn't in charge of ordering the cake.
I felt guilty all night. I felt like Marie probably wanted to sit at the table with my parents, like I didn't deserve to sit there. I wasn't worthy. Marie and her hubby/Mike and his wife were alongside this table at two tables for two.
Isn't that awful? To feel bad for sitting with my parents? My sisters are very robotic and they didn't send me cards for my anniversary last week - I think this is a first in 26 years. Hey, so long as Coach remembers our anniversary that's all that matters. They've sent an unspoken message though.
|My fam leaving the restaurant|
that was on the water.
*Another story but to be transparent, I'm adding it: I texted Marie a few weeks ago, days after Mom got out of the hospital. I asked her to *please* urge Dad to click over when someone is clicking in on the other line. He'd emailed me asking me if one of the kids could sit with Mom while he ran to the bank. I called him to discuss what time, etc. I called, and called, and called. No answer. I had many balls in the air and I had a small window that would work. Life stood still at our house while we waited. The window was closing.
Marie was annoyed and snappy. She was confident that it hadn't been her. She'd only spoken to him briefly. She wondered how she was supposed to know that someone was calling on the other line. *I refrained from telling her to start by removing her head from her ass*. I can hear when someone is clicking in, there's a hiccup in the connection.
After I drove Mom to PT that day, I took a photo of Marie's number on the caller ID on my parents' phone - it had been her. I texted her the photo, saying OOPS, I GUESS IT WAS YOU. She snarled something back to me.
I don't think it's wrong to say 'please' do this or that in order to make things easier for everyone who is trying to help our parents. She is used to being in charge - or thinking she is, so she didn't like that. She asked me to text her to let her know how PT went that day. I texted right back, SHE'LL DO FINE. *I refrained from telling her 'get a hobby'.*
What to do? And I apologize if you've heard about this too many times. I'm exhausted by it myself, and I imagine all of you are too. I want to shed the nonsense and stop the hurt.
If you are speechless, you can take a guess at approximately how many single socks I unearthed in the boys' room as part of the check out procedures. Yes, I've been begging people all summer to dig out any unmatched socks in their rooms. No, no one obliged. Shock.