May 7, 2009 family 12

My parents were having children post WWII, and in my mind those were not really times of family planning in the way we think of them today. My mom was 17 when she married my 20 year old father. He was just out of the Navy, and she was completely in love with him.
This is my parents on their wedding day November 27, 1944. Simple Civil ceremony in San Francisco CA, where my dad had been stationed during WWII

My mom loves to tell the story of how three years later she was pregnant with my oldest sister and how scared my dad really was. He loved my mom, no doubt about it, but he was worried about the responsibilities and he worried he really had to grow up. She had gone to her parents home to be with them and gave birth to my sister in a hospital near their home. My dad showed up later that day, and he was never spoke of being afraid again. He embraced their new family and he worked harder to provide for them.
My parents had some real passion in those days, as my mom likes to tell, as my second sister was born just 11 months later……….the doctor advising my dad keep his pants on after her birth!
My brother is 5 years younger……….and so their happy little family was done……..two daughters and a handsome young son.
Well then that passion thing came along again. I’m not sure my mom would appreciate my sharing this, but she is fairly open, so what the heck. She tells of a night of lost abandon, a night when she just didn’t take time to get that diaphragm out of her nightstand, and 40 or so weeks later………
Voila………..baby Anita!
This picture was taken the day I came home from the hospital, I still have the baby blanket my Aunt Mary made for me.

So you have the family birth order dynamics…………why all this history? To help you know me a bit better.

This is a picture from my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary, circa 1994. There is a picture like this from 1965 somewhere, but I can’t find a copy of mine to scan. We were very young in the first photo, 17, 16, 11 and 5.
In this photo I was34, so you get this gist.

Bonita, Chuck, Ouida are standing. My dad, me and my mom are seated.

My sisters are as different as night and day. My sister Bonita is different from anyone in my family. I do not really know her that well. It’s sort of heartbreaking and sad to say this.Bonita has made choices in her life that have separated her from our family on every level. She moved to CA when she was young, she has a daughter. She’s had a series of bad relationships and bad jobs and bad debt. She has grandchildren now. At 60 years old she has the maturity and depth of a much younger person. I wish I could say she’s not a bad person, but in all honesty, she’s not nice, not much of the time.
How could my sister be so distant from me? How could I be the one that keeps that distance and who has put up that wall? I speak to Ouida several times a week. We talk about mom and dad, my kids, her kids, her job, her husband, her work, shoes, nails, books, you name it. My brother and I talk…….occasionally. I seem to talk to his wife more. We are friendly but not not really super close. I never talk to my sister in CA, I choose to screen the calls if it comes up on the caller ID. I have to position myself for whatever rant she may have. She only calls to complain, cry, rant, etc. Even the call has the premise of happy birthday or merry Christmas, its has other meaning for her………it’s scary and I’ve stopped taking them as I can’t manage to shake the way I want to scream and cry when it’s over.

My sister recently visited my parents in TX. Once a year or so they purchase a plane ticket for her and she goes home. It’s emotional for her. She doesn’t like change, she very much lives in the past. She’s very close to my dad, and very distant to my mom. She’s obsessed with “things” and is a bit greedy when it comes to her fear of not getting her fair share. It’s disturbing to me, because what I want most from my parents is just them, and the ability to share my life with them and have them be a part of my kids lives. Her visits with them are short, 3-4 days. This one went very well. She had been worried about their move last year, she pictured them in an antiseptic nursing home, but its nothing like that. It’s like an apartment building with the perks of a dining hall. She seemed to enjoy them until the last day, and then they were all getting on each others nerves and she found herself stepping outside more to smoke more and be away.

Sitting here, I’m not sure why I’m blogging about this, I think it’s partly because as my children age and they bicker and aggravate each other as most siblings do, I wonder where they will be in 30 years. Will they have relationships like me? Will they have three different levels of contact? I hope that they will want to keep their bonds closer, I hope they have more friendship and love than I have with my sister. I hope they are able to support each other emotionally as Kevin and I age. It’s inevitable that if we live long enough our children will see us age, they will likely have more reasoning ability than us……..hard to see at times as I’m raising teens, but I know the roles will change. I’m doing my best to help them love each other, as much as I love them.

DISCLAIMER: I know this blog is too long. I’ve got to learn to be succinct!! Sorry

12 Responses to “Families”

  1. Mnmom

    Lovely post, so full of life in all it’s sweetness and sorrow. It’s likely your sister has a personality disorder and those stink. When I have difficult people in my life I concentrate on two things: 1 – they are walking a spiritual path that is not mine to understand and 2 – there might be something I can learn from having them in my life. I also try to think like I’m watching a movie character – don’t try to figure them out, just watch.

  2. Tammy Howard

    Lovely post. Some need to be longer – no apologies needed for that!

    My sister and I are very different, also, but we’ve come to a pretty comfortable acceptance of each other. We’re probably closer now than we’ve ever been. But we’re not the same. Not by any stretch.

    My mother and her sister have a classic love/hate going on. I think watching that helps my sister and I see past our own differences. We don’t want to be 80 and acting like them.

    Complicated stuff, this family business…

    BTW – you were an adorable baby!

  3. sheila

    Wow, how timely this post is, as I was just thinking of this VERY THING this morning as I listened to my girls get bitchy with each other over something stupid.

    My side of the family is also dysfunctional much like your description. I’ve learned to tune it out and chalk it up to personalities and choices…but I often wonder too…what will my kids be like in 30 yrs.
    Interesting post!

  4. Terra

    But if you cut anything out of we would have lost half the story. I love the old picture. I often wish there was no change – I am not like sister “no change” but I long for simpler times.

  5. Ali

    Great how you know the real story of how you came to be!

    The sibling thing, sigh, yeah, hubby and his way younger brother are estranged at this point although we’ve tried reaching out. It’s exasperating. My sister and I sound like you and your other sis–always talking, laughing, sharing recipes and beauty items we like. I hope that having my boys so close in age (2 yrs apart) will help make them closer as they grow up. I want them to have the same relationship as I do with my sister:)

  6. Denise K.

    Oh my goodness…what awesome photos you posted! Your parents on their wedding day is so neat, and what a darling baby you were! 🙂

    Being an “only” I always longed for siblings, but since I never had any I can only imagine how all the dynamics work…especially as everyone ages, marries, and has lives of their own; and as they make decisions you may not agree with etc… Thanks for sharing your story Anita. I will pray for your family, and especially your sister who may need it most.

    Have a wonderful day and give your beautiful children a big hug today!

    With love from Colorado,
    Denise 🙂

  7. Casey

    Thank you for sharing this. Sometimes it is nice to just get things out and I know how you feel about the relationships and worry how your kids will be when they are older. My sister is 7 years older than me and my brother is 7 years younger. I am not close to either of them and am truly the odd ball. I am the only “practicing” christian and we raise our kids much different than my sister. In all honesty my sister and my brother are much closer to each other. I often get left out but I have learned to be ok with it. I can write on and on about this but I wont

    Anyways, i can understand what you are feeling. Sorry for my long comment

  8. Lisa

    This wasn’t too long at all! I find family dynamics to be especially fascinating.

    I have the same concerns you do about our kids and how they will be when they are older. Close? Not close? So distant that they don’t feel like they really know each other?

    It’s hard to say which way it will go. I can tell you that I like it when I hear MathMan remind them that some day they will only have each other to share their memories. I hope they take that to heart.

  9. Pam

    Family dynamics can be very difficult. I think you are wise to distance yourself from your sister if having contact with her effects you so negatively afterward. I can totatlly relate to you wondering what kind of relationship your kids will have with each other as they grow to adults. I hope that my girls grow to be good friends – like you and Ouida. I don’t have a sister and now that I’m an adult I really wish I did. Enjoy the good relationships you have and try not to worry to much about the others.

  10. April

    i wonder the same about my kids… so far my siblings and i are still close… but who knows. life is cruel.

  11. Miss Healthypants

    Just catching up on your blogs :)…I have 7 siblings, and my relationship with each of them is different. Some are very distant, some are very close. But I know that when push comes to shove, I can count on any one of them to help me out if I need it. That’s a good feeling. 🙂 I hope your kids can always count on each other, too.

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