Without getting into a whole lot of family history, I never knew much about my siblings while I was growing up.
Didn't know they existed until I was in first grade.
Was told "not to tell anyone" that dad had other children.
And the first grader who was asked in class the next week how many brothers and sisters she had had NO idea how to answer. She had been taught never to lie, but any answer she could give was in some way a lie.
I met my brother a couple of years later.
I met my sister on a summer evening when I was in between 7th and 8th grade.
I found out the night before that she had stopped speaking to my parents when she found out my mother was pregnant with me.
Which is understandable, really. She was 16 when her parents divorced and I'm betting she didn't have a whole lot of counseling and help through it when her father moved away and eventually met another woman who he married. That was strained enough for her, but another child meant she and her brother might be "replaced"
And while I'm at the age now (28) that she was when I was born...I can completely understand that when someone hasn't worked out their own grief about that sort of situation, the response of no longer speaking to that father is a protective measure so that they aren't hurt again.
However, my 13 year old brain couldn't process that.
So I met this gorgeous, petite, skinny woman.
And she scared me.
It's probably no surprise that shortly after that was when my eating issues began.
The first time my brother and sister and I were EVER in the same room together was when I was 22. I had just graduated from college and my brother flew me up to Kansas City to visit with his family and get to know them since he was *also* not speaking to my father at that point.
(yeah...my family is interesting. this is only the tip o' the iceberg)
My sister came up from her home a couple of hours south of KC, and we spent a day together, the 3 of us and G's wife, Karen.
(my sister and I...wow I was young!)
(and my brother and I)
The second time the three of us were in the same room together was a mere 6 months later when our grandmother passed away. Both my siblings informed me that had it not been for me contacting them and forging relationships neither of them would have come to the funeral.
As it turned out our brother played the music for the service and it was beautiful.
My sister and I sat with our arms interlocked as we wiped away our separate tears
And it was the first time I ever felt like we were truly bonded as family.
More interesting things have happened since that day in February, 2004.
But sometimes I just need to pull out this picture and remember
I don't always claim them.
I don't always stay in touch like I should.
I'm not great at being a sister...after all, I never knew how to be.
But the bond...is undeniable.