Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Longing For a Sister (While loving my brother to death!)


I call my little granddaughters Elsa
and Ana. I'm so glad they have each other.
Both of my parents-in-law were only children. My father-in-law was not supposed to have been “attempted” because his mother had given birth to a girl, who was not stillborn, but I believe only lived a few hours. The doctors advised against another pregnancy, but who listens to doctors?

I’m not researching this, but my memory tells me that she (Ruth) was born in 1916. Perhaps it was late in the year, because I don’t think they were three years apart. Donald was born February 15, 1919. He would be 98 today.

My mother-in-law does not have a similar story, but her parents didn’t have any more children. I don’t know why.

What I do remember her telling me, was that she wished she had a sibling in older age. She didn’t “speak” for her husband, but I had the impression that siblings on both sides would have been welcome. They loved their four children, their eleven grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren. They loved them, but they were not their peers.

The point of this is the desire for familial companionship in our elder years. I wouldn’t take a bazillion dollars for my baby brother, and I do speak plainly to him with matters of health; but I sometimes wish I had a sister, who thought like a woman.

I have a wonderful cousin who is 13 months younger than I am. We were raised together. Our grandmother bought us matching clothes. We were as close as could be, as our mothers were sisters. I know I can call her just about any time, and that could be happening more often as we age, but she has four children and seven grandchildren, a husband and the two of them are still working! Life is full.

My three sisters-in-law are fabulous people; but if you paid attention to those numbers earlier in the blog, you can picture the sized families they have! My one sister-in-law married a man with two sons, two daughters-in-law and four grandchildren that are not counted in the above numbers because my In-Laws didn’t know them. This alone shows that they are extremely busy with their families. We women are all retired, except the one who works in her son’s office one day a week.

I text the sister closest to my age quite a bit. You never know what she’s doing, coming, going or whatever, so she can return as she is able. She and I became what I call “fast friends” in our youth. I can only say that about three people in my life. I can talk to her just about anything.

My husband’s older sister is eleven years my senior, so the “chum” part isn’t there, but she’s a nurse and sometimes I need to call her. We eventually get off subject and by the time we’ve run through what all her kids and what all my kids are doing, it’s easily an hour. She’s usually home and settled in the evenings, so that is her best time.

My brother-in-law's wife and I are not as close, but there is a logical reason for that--she is one of eight children, only six survive today. She has A LOT going on with her aged mother, and her own three daughters and four grandchildren (and two step-grandchildren). We get along fine, but it's seldom. This past year her husband had a very serious medical situation, but I got the details second-hand through my husband. MANY prayers were said!

All of this is great, and I am thankful for them, but there is something missing.

Many of my wonderful friends live in my town and attended the school my children went to, and they have their friendships and “gangs.” They are all still close and they are there for each other, but I’m not a part of that.

I have truly loyal and friends that are like family, but most of them have left the area. I don’t have that “gang” that gets together regularly. I have a high school classmates luncheon every month, and we are very inclusive, which includes men, so it’s not like best buds. It’s great people going through life together, and I am thankful for this group.

I have one friend that I could call anytime, but even so, as much as we care about each other, she has 7 grandchildren, and she spends much time with the elderly widows of her family. A nurse, she’s another to call if I need advice that I haven’t found on the Internet and she has taken care of me with every surgery that involves changing of dressings that I can’t reach. I really WISH that we could go on a girl’s trip, but I don’t see it happening. Maybe one of these days.

I am grateful for the many relationships in my life, church, family (both, after 39 years it’s all the same), but I do wish I had a sister, that person that I could call anytime, anyplace, regardless of what else is going on in her life. And vice-versa.

It just doesn’t always work with a spouse.

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