Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Of Mothers, Daughters, and Sisters

Okay guys (you know, you folks of the male gender) can check out now. ;o)

This entry is a girl thing.

Watching Pinot interact with Kenya and Elsie has gotten me thinking about mothers, daughters, and sisters.The older I get, the more I realize just how important and irreplaceable these relationships really are (don't call me sexist here; I'm saving fathers, brothers, and sons for another discussion).

Regular Reader knows we've had some sizable family yuk going on here since late October.

When my brother's family's stuff hit the fan in late October (the same week, btw, as my twin sister's stuff started here), my dear 84-year-old mother flew out to AZ (yes, that's PA to AZ, and yes, she's 84!) to help my brother and his family get through their crisis.

She thought she'd be gone a week or two and was certain she'd be back by Thanksgiving.

Mom is still there, in AZ, as I write this.

Now, don't get me wrong. She's been absolutely needed in AZ. And still is (looks like she's coming home in April now). And I'm glad for her to be so wanted and needed there in this season of her life.

But I miss her.

I never thought I would. I'm pretty independent and always have been. And we weren't super close while I was growing up (jobs, busyness, etc.) and for most of my adulthood (lived too far away). She moved down here to live near my sister and me five years ago when Dad died. It's only in these recent years that I've begun to know and value her for the wonderful woman she is (instead of just "Mom").

Besides, I have always had my twin sister. Don't ask me to explain the twin thing; it is what it is.

Enter twin sister's family crisis.

We didn't tell Mom about my twin sister's (let's call her TS) crisis until a few weeks ago (the same crisis that started the same week my brother's family's issues started back in October). We kept thinking Mom was coming home and that we wanted to tell her face-to-face.

But it got too long. My sister finally told her over the phone. Of course, as soon as Mom found out what was happening here she wanted to fly back. But if Mom flew back, no one would be there for my bro in AZ. So Mom stayed.

I've been saying to Mom all along..."it's okay, [insert brother's name] needs you there more; I can be here for [insert TS's name]. Stay as long as you need to. We're okay here."

The problem is, I lied.

What I didn't realize is that I need her.

The stuff with TS's family is killing me (rips my heart out, infuriates me, confuses me, confounds me, grieves me deeply). And TS has all she can do to stay sane and function. For this season (and I hope it's a short season), TS can't be the sister she's always been. It's just too difficult. And though I'm glad to be there for her, and will be forever, and though I love her to pieces and I'm willing to support her however I can, and though she's handling things with incredible dignity, strength, grace, and endurance, I miss the playful "us" TS and I used to be.

(Okay, before you rag on me, I know TS can't be herself right now, nor do I expect her to be -- I just miss my seeester's joy and confidence and creativity and sense of humor and easy-going nature, all of which has been mostly absent since the crisis began -- I despise what this is doing to her. And I know much of her old self will return in time -- the circumstances are just too ugly right now).

I miss her. I miss life before October (should I call that life BO?)(hehe)

And missing her makes me miss Mom all the more.

Here I am, a 47-year-old grown, responsible, mature (well, some would say that... I'm not sure I would), successful (ditto last parentheses), well-adjusted (ditto again), woman. And I miss my mommy.

You know, it's funny. I miss my Dad, too (gone five years now). I saw an older gentleman yesterday who looked a lot like Dad and I started blubbering like a baby (I didn't even cry at Dad's funeral). But that's another story.

What is it about parents and children?

Why is it that when we hurt, we long for people who love us (or loved us long ago), who we think will understand?

When Pinot becomes rattled she doesn't bother Baxter or even Kenya (her best bud in all the world). She scrunches in beside Ridge (canine Dad) or Elsie (canine Mom).

When I'm rattled I first scrunch in next to hubby, but I don't want to stress him too much. And it used to be that when I didn't want to stress him, I'd scrunch in next to TS or Mom. But neither can be here right now.

I wish the stuff with my brother's and sister's families had never happened. I want life BO.

Or maybe it's just that I don't want to need people so much. Maybe we really are more pack animals than we'd care to think.

And, you know, if I think about, I suppose it's okay with me -- this needing people. Being a pack animal has its perks.

At least our laps stay warm when life gets cold!

And, when it's all said and done, I suppose that's better and healthier than managing life alone.

I just wish it didn't hurt so much.

'Til next time,

Joan (yes, that's the real, round me there snuggled in with the girls!)


Anonymous said...

Hi Joan,
Sorry you are going through so much. Not sure if you remember me or not, met a few years back. Life has struggles. I just had one where here I am 26 years old and thought I had stomach cancer. Luckily the pathology came back and showed otherwise but I think even the doctors were surprised. It has been rough but I made it. This too shall pass...
I am not up on your situation but I know that you are strong and you will prevail.
Have a good day!

Harrisburg, PA

juditudes said...

To: Real, Round You
From: Squatty Me

My heart hurts thinking of TS and you and everything that is going on.

I can attest to all the wonderful things you said about your TS; she's one of my favorite people.

Sometimes I wished I could just stand in the middle of the both of you -- bookend by beautiful smiles, brains, talents and grace galore -- and just hope that I could absorb a wee bit of what you both have.

I can also attest to the mommy thing. I see her more and more everyday in my mirror (I don't tell 'her' to get out anymore!). More and more everyday I also notice the idiosyncratic 'apples'
that have fallen close to her 'tree' -- some wonderful talents I have inherited; other trying traits that I can't seem to escape. But best of all, we love the Lord - and Scrabble - oh, and pasta.

Not having my own daughter and not being close to my sister, my momma is and has always been my anchor.
Her, and my own DH, and alot of really good friends (hairy and four-legged and otherwise) that God has blessed me with. I'm 'weighed down' in love.

Sending a hug horizontally thru town to you and a prayer vertically thru the skies to our Lord for you.

Joan said...


I do remember you...well. I've thought of you often, and tried to e-mail you last summer about some questions you sent me, but the e-mails kept bouncing back. I wonder if I have the correct addy.

I'm so sorry you've been going through as much as you have been (it's been a lot, it seems, for a couple years now). I'm glad to hear your tests came back negative for cancer, but it's still quite a scare and a lot to go through. If you get the chance, e-mail me again ( so I can check the address I have for you.

I think of you now and then, truly, and pray for you as God brings you to mind.

And, no, I'm not really very strong; but God is; and He is faithful to sustain us.

It's good to hear from you. Thanks for you comment!

Joan said...

Dear "Squatty" You,

You're a sweetie! Thanks for the hugs.

Like you, I see more of Mom in the mirror everyday (when did THAT happen!!!). And I'm resisting it less. Maybe it's this late 40s thing.


Oh, and you don't need any of what Jeanie and I have; you're beautiful, and wonderfully talented, and creative, and fun, and loving, and....more, all on your own.

Speaking of talent; why aren't you selling your greeting cards? Just curious -- they're terrific.

Keep praying (things got worse again in AZ this week).

Joan (aka real round me) :o)