knowing my place.  

Monday, August 4, 2008

I recently had someone remind me of something that i had all but forgotten about. It was a conversation with my sister that took place about 3 years after my reunion with Lori. I was talking about this or that, probably beeming with pride over my new found family, the love i felt from them and generally just on cloud nine.
She tried with all her might to be supportive and happy for me, but you could hear in her voice the hollowness.

I think i have blogged before about my sister. Our relationship over the years had been nothing short of caustic. We are the polar opposite of one another. Not one thing in common and it had caused many problems in our lives. We now joke that if a gift was to be bought for the other, each of us would go to the store and pick out something we absolutely hated and buy it for the other. It worked like a charm, if i hated it-she loved it and vice versa.
We were never a close bunch. They were, meaning mom, dad and sister. But I never blended in with them. My life was spent watching them and the comfort they had with one another and wishing I could have that with SOMEONE. Then Lori came into my life and I had that. I finally knew what it was like to be understood.
You can imagine my anger when my afamily didn't immediately warm to her. I tried to be patient and show them this was not about them. I WAS NOT LEAVING. But the fear never subsided in their hearts. Even if I was the outsider, the oddball, I was still loved. And wanted.

So as I said, about 3 years had passed and I was desperately trying to find a place in the whole mix where I could feel comfortable talking about Lori. A place where I didn't feel I was issuing a disrespect to the family I loved so much. Thats when it happened-sister finally came out with the truth. And it hurt.

I can't remember how it unfolded, but I finally got the nerve to ask why it was so hard for everyone. I asked if it was them-would they do anything different? Don't I deserve to know where I started life, where I came from, what my roots were?
My questions became increasingly desperate. I was hurt and angry. When I found Lori I was 28, hardly looking for a new 'mommy'. It was about me, not them. About who and what I was.
Sister-in her classic calm cool and collected persona (as usual) began to explain. About half way through I wanted to cover my ears and yell 'blah,blah,blah....' as loudly as I could, but I didn't. I listened. And to be honest with you-I truly feel in my heart-THIS one conversation was the turning point for many things. Including a whole new respect and love for her and the rest of my afamily.
She simply asked "what about me?"

What about you?! Yeah, what about you? This isn't about's about ME....'what about you?' <>
She then spoke of how mom and dad had been her whole world, that she was very close to them both and all she ever wanted was to have this with me too. But it just didn't work out that way. I never was able to mesh with them. I just didn't fit in.
Now I had this whole 'new/old' family that I adored and wanted to spend so much time with and made me so HAPPY, where did that leave them? Where would our relationship be in 10 years. I had already made long term plans with Lori, but did I have any with them?

That was a ton of bricks. I was hurting them, scaring them. They thought I was going to run off with Lori and never come back. AND IT BOTHERED THEM. For years i rebelled against their whole way of life. I lashed out. I was the root cause of the problems. I was an angry, hurt, spoiled little brat that never took responsibility for my actions. I blamed (silently) them for not understanding me, but it was me. Not them.
And even though I put them through hell-they STILL wanted me. And Lori scared them. She had the power to take me away forever and they knew it. Yet they still tried to be supportive, they never bashed her or shunned me for her. They simply nodded and smiled. But you could see it in their eyes.
I put myself in their shoes. I am a custodial step parent. Not quite the same thing, but it was all I had to base off. I imagined my step children's mother coming to take them back forever. I had raised them, I may not be their mom, but I was THE mom. It made me angry, it made my heart ache. It made me slightly understand how my family must be feeling.
Sister wasn't trying to steal my glory about finding Lori, she was asking where her place would be in the future. She was timidly asking to be a part of my world, she wanted to be my sister. Not just that girl I grew up with.
My head started to swim at this point. My stomach was in knots, relevations are never easy and this one was a doozey.

She didn't miss a beat though. She could feel that I was listening and was finally 'getting it'. She went on to say that when something happens to mom and dad she would be alone. I would have this great new family that loved me and I would not want or need her. Where would she fit in? Imagine-all those years I wondered where I fit in and now here she was, in MY shoes. She was just as lost as I had been for so long.
I was so wrapped up in what I was feeling I never stopped to consider what they were feeling. I am sisters only sibling-if I left she would be alone.

What she didn't know was, I would never let that happen. EVER. I reassured her that she was my sister, we were a package deal. I would never leave her or mom and dad. I was just trying to find myself. I needed them too. I loved them. More than words could explain.
She didn't know, because I never took the time to tell her or anyone else.

Since that day, we have made huge progress. I have never felt more at ease with who I am and where I belong. I know one day mom and dad will not be with us. Its inevitable, no wishing in the world can change that. But now my sister knows that no matter where I am, she will always be with me. I will never leave her or the rest of my family. Lori, Jim and the rest of my 'new/old' family does not change my love for my afamily. It just adds to the fun.

We can and will make this all work. IT IS POSSIBLE. And if anyone can do it-I can. And I will. And I will leave no one behind.

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1 comments: to “ knowing my place.

  • Lori A
    Monday, August 4, 2008 at 7:54:00 AM PDT  

    I've already heard this story but still find it beautiful. In the beginning part of my fears were exactly the same as your family's. I was affraid you would drift away from them. I was worried FOR them.
    And your sister, how powerful her words are. I understand that completely. I wouldn't let that happen either. I have frequently thought about having my boys father move up here so he can be close to them and be treated as family by us. He has few family members left in his area and will always be family to me. I hope your sister can come to feel the same way. I'm sure she has by now in the sense that you will always be with her as family. My hope is that one day we can all be extended family. That would be incredible.


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