Thinking back is hindsight, I know. I didn’t really know it then, but I truly treasured being a part of my own family back in the day. I loved my parents and I especially loved having two younger sisters. Back when we were really little, my mother used to insist on dressing my middle sister and I alike. Being as we were only 15 months apart, everyone assumed we were twins. In those days neither of us liked it very much but looking back it was really kind of nice. As we got older and became more individualized, it became even more apparent that we were really very different in many ways—she was a wonderful student, went to Hunter College HS. I was lucky to make it through school and graduate. College? No way for me! My sister suffered from acne and dating was not easy for her. I was boy crazy, and had tons of fellas. We were two total opposites as teens. She grew up to be quite a pretty woman too. Still, we loved one another and we had a bond that nothing could sever, or so I thought.
Then there was our baby sister, who came along in 1955, when I was all of five and my middle sister was three. We loved her, though having to watch her in her stroller back then was not such fun…we wanted to play, skate or just be free to be with our own contemporaries. As we all got older, we all had our own “age appropriate” friends. Little sister found her own niche of contemporaries and later on in life admitted to doing some really crazy things. I guess we all go through phases, and she did too. Ditto for my middle sister; we all did one way or another and really, who does not?
Being the oldest of the three and very much having a mind of my own, I did my thing. Truthfully I would have to admit that yes, I did some very odd things and I earned the title of the family,” black sheep”. Looking back I know I made some awful mistakes but life and history are what they are and I cannot change those things. That was who I was, not who I am. If you’re smart, when you get older you realize you cannot continue on an ill-fated path; not only do you know it is wrong, you learn that you pay prices for mistakes and hopefully, you learn to STOP making the same ones. In addition, health issues and other circumstances play a part in making you older and hopefully, wiser (to yourself).
As adults, my sisters and I went our separate ways. By that I mean we moved away. First my middle sister moved out West, to be with a guy she fell in love with. Oddly enough he was someone I went to school with so having him as a part of the family was a natural progression; we were already good friends. Soon after my baby sister also moved West with her sweetie--a great man she has been married to for many years—who loves her very much. I too was married, had a daughter and a successful career living in Manhattan. My middle sister married her sweetheart and she had two sons. I am so happy for her that she did, as at first it did not seem she was going to be able to have children. My baby sister and her husband chose not to have children, but as aunt and uncle they are the most wonderful and giving people. My daughter and nephews regard and love them as they do their own parents.
Eventually I also moved out West, once my amicable divorce in 1990 was final. After all, my sisters were there and what better way to give my then three year old daughter stability and family life than to reignite the flame of sisterhood by being closer to both of mine. It was a wise decision, as my daughter gained two wonderful aunts and uncles who loved her as their own and she had a great relationship with her two cousins, who were like brothers to her. Life was good. We celebrated every holiday with our family and contemporaries, and many of the female friends wanted to be, “the fourth sister”. Even my ex moved out West. He too was always included in our family forays. Then he unexpectedly died at 45 from pancreatic cancer. How thankful I was to have reconnected with my sisters and their families; how very much I appreciated having them there when I needed them most.
Ultimately I made some mistakes. I got into trouble financially and once again wore my “black sheep” badge. I will certainly take major responsibility for the error of my ways and how it affected my relationship with my sisters. There is no need to go into great detail here; suffice to say the errors were mine and I paid a price. I lost my family ties and the damage was apparently irreparable. In truth over the years, I have attempted to reconnect with both of my sisters. My baby sister allows communication; my middle sister refuses my attempts. They live close to one another and I am further North, making getting together even more difficult.
I am now in my mid 60s. I am afflicted with ailments and have to be a better person to myself—my body simply will not allow for anything less. Which one of us does not have some physical issues which force reminders to slow down and take better care of the one body we are given to go through life with? Something else comes along with those issues. I am not sure if you can call it wisdom, or if it is merely self-preservation; probably it is a bit of both.
I have come to realize that the richness and beauty of life is truly woven together with love of and from family. Don’t get me wrong. I am lucky as I am not alone. I have my daughter and her sweetie with whom I live and spend holidays and special times. His family is wonderful and sharing good times with them is simply superb. I am thankful to be a part of their family now. Stilll, it makes me realize just how much I miss having that kind of joy with my own sisters. So I’ll close this by wishing them nothing but the best life has to offer; and the hope that in their hearts they wish the same for me.