Lately, I have examined other aspects of my life through my blog on mortgage fraud, because part of healing is to examine all parts of ones life, not just bits and pieces. I have come to the conclusion that we all reach this point in our lives where we start to examine where we have been, where we are and where we may be going with a more spiritual focus. I feel that it’s something that occurs because we become more aware of our own mortality and for some of us we have the inborn need to have a better understanding of God and our purpose. In order accomplish that I feel, at least for me personally, that even though mortgage fraud has taken up the last eight years of my life; I had forty-four years of life prior to that. That means that only 16% of my life has been devoted to dealing with this; but what of the other 84%? The last eight years do not define me; the last fifty-two do.
I came into this world, through no fault of my own, to a severely dysfunctional family. With a father that spent nearly twenty-seven years, off and on, in prison and a mother that allowed herself to make decisions that would eventually lose her both her daughters; my sister and I didn’t have a sporting chance with these two. My sister was fortunate enough not to have my father as hers; however, she would lose him during her most formidable years as a young teenager.
Because of how my parents were, we were separated at a very young age; never being able to develop that sisterly bond that usually occurs when siblings are brought up together. I was always, in some way, aware that I had a sister out there; but the reality of that fact would not present itself until I was a twelve year old pre-teen and her, an extremely witty seventeen-year-old, street wise teenager.
I first met my sister, after years of separation, in the summer of my twelfth year. The clarity of that summer is still vivid in my mind. It was the summer where my mother’s, mother bought me a Sizzler (a little cheerleading looking dress, where the matching undies underneath would show). The grandmother that I was living with was livid. I can still close my eyes and see her rage at seeing me dressed so scantly. Yeah, that disappeared quickly, and of course, I absolutely loved it and was crushed that I would not be allowed to keep or wear this “cool” garment.
It had only been a couple years earlier where I “met” my mother under the guise of my “uncle’s” (later to be known as dad) girlfriend. That’s another blog. The point is that this particular summer is the summer that I got to meet some of my family. I was introduced to my Aunt Joyce and Aunt JoAnne and all my respective cousins; so meeting my sister was going to be the icing on the cake. I remember being excited that I was going to meet my actual “sister”. Being raised by my grandparents, it was an only child scenario; and many times it was lonely existence. My grandparents were old school and my grandmother had absolutely no patience. Add to that the fact that I was an early bloomer, growing to 5’8” and 180 pounds (although solid); I had all kinds of pre-teen issues. The thought of having a sister to talk to and commiserate with seemed like one of the most wonderful gifts in the world to me at that time in my life. Then I met Robin.
When I first laid eyes on her, I was amazed that she was my sister; we looked absolutely nothing alike. Here I was, this behemoth of a pre-teen, and in front of me was a petite (5’2”) blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty. My sister would later tell me that she had all these preconceived ideas as to what I looked like; unfortunately, her vision that she beheld that first time was reminiscent of a football player bounding towards her. I laughed that statement off then, but the truth was that it in a small way and definitely not done out of malice, injured my already fragile ego; it was, in my mind, the beauty and the beastly sister syndrome. I know that she meant nothing by it and most likely never gave it a second though; but I allowed it to eat into my thoughts and eat at my already low self-esteem for a long time.
However, it didn’t take long for me to fall head over heels in love with my sister. My fondest memory of her first time visit was when she and I were sitting in my bedroom on the floor, with a tape recorder running, enjoyed sixty minutes of some of the funniest minutes of my life. My sister was, and still is, a natural comedian and by the time that those moments were over I had a tape, which I would cherish for years of our first really special time together. The tape was lost somewhere along my journey in life, but I would give my eye teeth to hear those echoes of the past again.
By the time I turned fifteen, I was losing control of my life. I was rebelling against the sexual abuse of my grandfather and another family member. I had gone from being an all-A student to skipping school and running away from home. At some point, there was a decision (whose I can’t remember) to go live with Robin, her husband and twin girls in San Antonio, Texas. I remember so much about that time, yet I can’t remember why I walked into a certain room for a thought that happened five minutes ago; but I digress. I remember the tears in my grandfather’s eyes when he said good bye. I remember the coat that I was wearing. I remember the cab ride through a blizzard to get to metro airport, sliding into a local Western Union office to pick up funds before my early morning flight. I got on that plane thinking that my life with my sister was going to be like that Saturday afternoon in my bedroom. This would become my reality check when it came to how my sister and I were going to relate, and it wasn’t going to be hours filled with unending witticism.
My sister was the mother of two beautiful twin girls that were not quite two years old. She and her husband, when I first arrived, lived in an upstairs apartment at her husband’s parents’ house located on the outskirts of San Antonio. I can still close my eyes and see the beautiful view from their property that was perched up on a hill that overlooked the city in the distance. It was all new to me and I thought that I would be spreading my wings; that is until my sister turned into my mother. I can say bless her heart now, but at fifteen, finally being away from my authoritarian grandparents and I had landed smack dab into a big sister. After the first month we just didn’t get along. I felt as if she were overbearing and was not appreciative of her being the motherly figure in my life. After all wasn’t that what I was running away from? Needless to say that ended badly.
It would take decades before I could get over what I considered the mothering that came along with being little sister. I still try to deal with something that I put in my mind years ago, when I saw her for the first time. We were as different as day and night. Not only in looks, but the way we viewed our lives and what had occurred in our lives. Each of us has been wounded by a childhood that we were not able to share, and even now, fifty years later; it’s still hard to reestablish the bonds that should have occurred so many years ago. Now, when I look back, I understand that she was trying to be my sister the best way she knew how. She was trying to protect me back then and I saw it as an invasion of my attempt at freedom. I developed a mindset that I work hard to overcome when it comes to her.
Many times I don’t understand where my sister is coming from, and it is obvious to me that she doesn’t get me either. I don’t understand what’s so hard to understand about me. I feel that I am a pretty straightforward kind of gal for the most part. I don’t have anything lurking in a closet somewhere, or any real bad habits that I’m aware of. I sit here and chuckle as I write this because for some reason I picture her saying the same thing. I have always respected and admired my sister for her tenacity and for her thirst for knowledge. I wish I had seen that develop. There are many things that I wish when it comes to my sister and the development of our relationship. We were robbed of the ability to have the bonds that tie so many sisters so closely together and because of that we grew up in two totally different worlds, fighting two entirely different battles turning into two totally different people; but there is a common bond that still shines through, at least to me.
We are good people. We both are pretty free with our opinions. I don’t believe for one moment that either one of us would ever purposely try to hurt someone. We love our families with every fiber of our being and we have long successful marriages. Our children and our grandchildren love us and we cherish them as well. We both, for all that we have went through, have turned out to be respectable, decent people whose hearts are always in the right place. To me that’s the world and it says something special about both of us. Throughout it all, we still managed to get back together. It will never be as easy as it would have been if we had been able to get to know each other in the normal way that sisters do, but I have faith that someday the light will go on for both of us; because, personally, In my world, I have a big percentage of time left on this earth and I would love to spend some of that with her.