I know I promised to talk about the party, but I was looking through the photos of me and my family, and it reminded me of who I'm missing. Well, multiple whos, actually.
See, my family has issues. Not the awful, encylopedia-sized issues of abuse and mistreatment, but a couple of decent-sized volumes caused by my dad's first marriage and general shitty behaviour. And letters. Sweet fucking godopus, my family are *great* at letters.
I'm the middle child, but the oldest from my dad's second marriage. The sibling line goes: older half-sister, older half-brother, gap of about seven years, then, across four years, me, my younger brother and my younger sister. This means I get all the responsibility of the eldest child, while still being totally ignored like most middle children when the other siblings are going postal. Which, with the exception of my younger brother, happens with depressing regularity. Although, to be fair, my older brother jettisoned himself from the entire mess with relatively little fanfare, and has since stayed well out of it. I'd like to get to know him one day, but I respect why he'd rather stay out it. Hell, when I read HIS letter, basically saying, 'look, I bear you no ill will, but I want out of this shit', I had to bite back an 'amen, brother!'
My dad's first wife was from the 'leave you for another man, sell all your stuff, turn your kids against you and sue you constantly' school of divorce. Obviously it was all before I was born, but this lady sounds like a fucking nutjob. She tried to sue my parents over a fruit bowl. That was given to them when THEY got married. Apparently, the judge took one look and told the ex-wife to get out of the hell out of the courtroom, or he'd have her charged with contempt of court for wasting all their time.
So life was pretty shit for my older sibs. My older sister went off the rails for a while, but by the time I was old enough to pay attention, she'd well and truly pulled herself together. She started her own beauty salon, and did really well. She met and married a man from Israel, and they've got two gorgeous kids. She sold the business and is now a stay-at-home mum, and is building a new online business.
She is still ravaged by insecurity. I know this, so I accept the occassional bitchy comment, how she compares herself to everyone and everything. She's got more than enough good points to outweigh the bad - she's generous, loving, incredibly creative, and very, very smart. She's got gorgeous skin and perfect hair. She's gregarious, outgoing and strong. She built her own fucking business, for crying out loud!
In other words, she's my complete opposite. Always has been, and it's never bothered me. Yes, when I was younger, I wished I was as cool as both my sisters, but I never had that gift, that way of putting people at their ease. I was too weird and plain to be popular, and I knew that was my problem, not theirs. Now I'm older, and I've got a group of wonderful friends who are brilliant and weird in all the best kind of ways. The ITGeek thinks I'm beautiful and sexy, and that's all I need.
The last five years or so, it's like all my hard work and study has paid off, like I'm somehow being rewarded. The ITGeek and I got together, and we've managed to build a basic compatibility and a lot of lust into something deeper, and stronger. I'm lucky to have found someone as dedicated to me as I am to them, but it's been a hell of a learning curve, figuring out when to bite back words that wound, and rearranging my life to fit in another person. I have something that, if you look at it the right way and squint a little, could be called a career, but I work a hell of a lot. We just bought a Mary Poppins House - Practically Perfect in every way, except for that mortgage, but what homeowner doesn't have one of those? I even get along wonderfully with my fiance's family.
I've built a relationship with my parents that's warmer than it ever was during my upbringing. Don't get me wrong, they were damn good parents. But my younger sister was... well, demanding and a spoilt bitch, and then she got into drugs and alcohol and added abusive to that list. I had great parents, I really did, and I don't want to sound like one of those pathetic whingers, but I had to fight to get a bit of attention, you know? I'm not going to go into the details, because I'll be ranting enough, but let's just say she's written her own letter and I haven't spoken to her in about 4 years, and I actually kinda prefer it that way.
Anyway, my parents. My dad, especially, is an emotional amoeba. Saying 'I love you' just wasn't part of his upbringing, but he feels it, big time. Put it this way: I had to tell him that I'd still like to hear the words, once in a while, at the end of a visit or phone call. Now, every single phone call or visit ends with an 'I love you'. I'm all 'Dad, little more than I expected, but okay.' My mum, on the other hand, is incredibly loving, but broken. She can't make a decision or a stand unless she's told to. Usually, that person is me. Yay.
So, my shit is somewhat together. Then, at the start of this year, my older sister kinda picked a fight with my dad, initially over how much he contributed to her wedding. It escalated into screaming and running out of the house and all that fun shit. The next night, she called me to try to get me on side, and well, that didn't go well either. Because she tried to claim my parents did nothing for her, when they did a hell of a lot. Emotional support by the truckload, reminding her husband to buy her a birthday gift so she wouldn't get upset, helping with renovations, getting her whatever groceries she'd run out of. And the one that kinda shit me - they babysat her kids three nights a week (my parents work full time, BTW. I kinda have the philosophy that if you're a stay at home mum, that's your job. I'm all for sanity time, but you don't put your kids in care four days a week and get Grandma and Grandpa to look after them as well).
It also didn't go well because she told me Dad was putting off his retirement to pay for my wedding, like I was some fucking Bridezilla who'd send her own father to an early grave for the sake of white dress. First, fuck you. Second, heard of this thing called a Global Fucking Financial Crisis? It's all over the damn news, it's kinda hard to miss, and it's made a big mess of superannuation, you know, so a lot of people who were thinking of retiring this year have kinda had to put it off a bit. In case you haven't noticed, they live in one of the crappy suburbs for a reason. All those years of suing put a dint in their finances like a Mack truck slamming into a Mini.
So it was my older sister's turn to write a letter to my parents. Some of it, I understand. I do, really. Her childhood was shit, and even if she's not completely right about the details, that doesn't change how much it hurt. But for some reason, she fixated on me. My favourite line? 'You'll have the perfect wedding for your perfect daughter and her perfect husband, then you'll move closer to her perfect house and her perfect kids and her perfect life'. It wasn't just that line, but it does sum up the theme of the entire SIX pages of the letter. On the upside, she's got previously unnoticed psychic powers and it turns out my wedding and kids are going to be perfect. Hear that, people? No rain on my wedding day, nosir, there's going to be a random shower of rose petals instead! And my kids are going to be, oh, I don't know, writing concertas and rescuing kittens and solving world hunger by the time they're five. Oh, and she told my parents they'd never see their grandkids again. Which, yanno, makes her exactly like the mother she hates for doing the same thing to her.
My younger brother laughed at the 'perfect' bit. That's because he's awesome. I freaked right out, because I'm such a dumbarse that I never even realised I'd been in a competition. Or that everything in my life, including my relationship with my dad, is something I've stolen from her. I'm not returning the ITGeek. He doesn't want to go. You can have the 14 hour days though.
I haven't spoken to her since. My mum recently had a heart scare, and my awesome younger brother, who had remained neutral (except for giving me shit about the perfect bit), used that as an excuse to get them talking to each other again. It happened a couple of weeks ago and I know, it's my move now. And today, looking at the photos, I wish she'd been there. I wish they'd all been there.
But I'm still pissed, and hurt, and feeling guilty. Because she's been damn good to me, and she's hurting, and needs my support. I've talked this over with my RL friends so much that I'm surprised nobody's punched me in the head yet. But none of them have any more of an idea than I do. So I'm not even going to read this, I'm just going to post it and ask - does anybody have any ideas on how to approach this? I'm not apologising for shit that's just in her head, but I want it sorted. I want my sister, without the jealousy/resentment, but maybe that's too much to ask for.