For all of my adult years my mother has tried to force relationships between me and my siblings (and likely vice versa). She has insisted I always invite both my sisters to any invite, that all siblings should be included in all events, that I should call this sibling or that sibling when they are ill or struggling. I have resisted this greatly.
I am particularly close with only one of my siblings. Candidly she is the only one I look forward to seeing, the only one I think has any amount of understanding and respect for me and mine, and the only one I truly want part of my life. My other two siblings? One is not a particularly friendly or emotionally available individual and the other has made life choices I disagree with. I disagree with those choices so strongly I have refused to invite that sibling to my home due to safety concerns for me, my home, family.
This situation and similar ones have upset my mother dearly. For years she pushed my siblings on me and I pushed back. We fought, debated, discussed and eventually, I think, she got my point. I am an adult. Sibling or not I have a right to decide who is in my life (particularly if they are emotionally or physically unsafe for me or my family). Further, I have always suspected her intense desire for her children to be BFF’s was rooted in the fact she was not close to her own siblings. I will not live out my mother’s dreams for her. I will live my own.
While my son was in the hospital, post head injury, he wrote a journal page or two that alluded to his sister lost to adoption, my search for her, and the current situation. While some might question my reading this journal, I should add that at the time he had no memory and no speech. It was his way to communicate with us. Further more, the page in question was directed right to me. We have not discussed that journal page since he left the hospital six months ago. I have wanted to but have not pushed. He has dealt with so much following his injury, recovered from so much, and still has recovery under way. I waited for the appropriate time.
I thought the time came a few weeks back in a therapist session. Discussing goals each of us wanted to achieve, I mentioned that I felt there was an elephant in our family room — his sister. I made no mention to the journal. Rather I said I wanted to discuss it as I felt the need.
Therapist looked towards my sons and my oldest responded to the look by stating rather matter of factly “I do not really care. I have no interest in discussing my sister.”
Internally I gasped. I might have even uttered a silent scream down the dark hallways of my own mind. Outwardly, I did my best to sit stone faced and not react. Therapist acknowledges his response and we move on.
Part of me is okay with my sons response. It may be true. He may not have any interest — and that is his right. He may also not be ready to discuss it — and that is also his right. The first option bothers me. The second does not.
Reflecting on my own experience of having a mother who pushes siblings together, I question why my sons lack of interest may bother me so. I know I strongly believe in his right to make his own decisions – now and in the future. So, why the heart ache for me?
I wanted someone to care.
I wanted someone, anyone, to care about my daughter — someone besides me. I wanted my mother to contact her. She did not. I wanted someone to express an interest, perhaps even a regret over the loss of her from our familiy. I had not realized how strongly I wanted this until a likely suspect I thought might surely care, my daughters own half sibling, said they did not.
This is not my sons issue – it is my own. If I allow and accept my daughter has no interest in her half sibings, surely I owe my sons the same acceptance.
I do. I know I do.
But it is aching my heart to let it happen. I did not, do not want, to be the only one that cared about her in our family.
Perhaps my mother feels the same way about my other siblings.