Our relationship is like a wobbly table that can only be even when someone slides a book under the shakiest leg.
Let’s be honest, the fact that we didn’t grow up together and are a decade apart probably doesn’t help the emotional distance between us. But neither does your inability to let me have a moment or to be a consistent presence in my life.
On the day I graduated from a grueling program for gifted students, you call our mother after almost five years of not one word from you, and that day becomes more about your return into our lives than my accomplishment.
I had my son and on the day I brought him home from the hospital, your son tells me you are pregnant with your third child. It makes me feel weird. It is good news but somehow feels to be biting at the heels of my son’s moment.
In a way you have unintentionally stolen my moments with your timing, but I looked at the positives.
You were back in my life to be my big sister right as I was going to enter my teenage years. You were for a few years there until you weren’t.
You were having another baby. I was happy because I thought maybe having kids this close in age would bring us close as grown women – sisters who were mothers. Our kids would practically be siblings.
It didn’t quite happen that way.
Once we weren’t living in the same building anymore, the distance grew. You kept up with my son by updates from our mother. I would see your kids at family gatherings. Our mother is the glue between us passing little tidbits of information to each of us.
A few years later, I would get the call that would stop time – you had cancer. I told you that you would beat the shit out of cancer and I prayed every day not only for your health but that after cancer you would put a higher value on relationships, with our mom, with me and remove the things that weren’t benefitting you from your life.
Our mom was a rock for you during this time. She sat with you through every chemo session and through every appointment with your medical team, being strong for you but carrying a deep fear of what would happen if she lost you. I did my best to try to get closer but you didn’t seem to need me and I knew this moment wasn’t about me – it was about you getting better. I was okay with being more supportive from a distance – helping write letters and making calls in the background or caring for your younger son to give you a chance to rest.
You made it – and I am grateful for that.
I became pregnant with my daughter, I never saw you the whole time. You never called me once to see how I was doing or to ask if I needed anything. I called you to tell you when she was born – but of course you already knew, you called our mother.
You showed up at the hospital the day after I had her. It was awkward. There I was trying to get the baby to latch on and you show up like we have been talking this whole time. I couldn’t muster up a smile because your appearance caught me off guard.
You never made another effort again to see my daughter unless coming to my apartment to drop off your son to our mother counts. Then yes, you came one time to see her.
Instead you felt offended about the perceived slight at the hospital. I didn’t seem happy to see you. Did you ever take the time to think maybe I was not able to be in the moment because the baby was three weeks early or maybe the c-section was a rough one? Nope. I had a rough delivery with an unexpected reaction to the anesthesia. I felt drained and banged up. I wasn’t feeling you in the moment neither. But somehow you expected a moment to happen that there was no foundation for.
Now almost three years later, our mom calls your attention to our lack of relationship and you say I am too busy, I never respond to you – but responding would imply you have made a real effort. You have not. You choose to side step me and ask our mother about me and my kids, why not just call yourself?
You are not interested.
It’s awkward for you too. Maybe you can’t admit that because then you have to acknowledge that you just let me go assuming I’d always be there.
I have thought about this a lot. I have come to the conclusion that if we didn’t share a mother, we wouldn’t be friends with each other – not because either of us is a bad person, we are very different and that is okay.
I have told our mother that I accept that this lack of relationship is what it is. I have let her know it is not her fault and we love her but we just don’t connect as people and that is okay. We are able to be cordial when we see each other and there is some kind of love there but there will always be that awkwardness of what could have been hanging between us.
Until you can really reach out to me and show an interest in having a relationship that doesn’t depend on our mother being the glue. our table will always be uneven.