Sunday, September 18, 2011

Do My Siblings and I Need Oprah?

Even though I am a little behind, this is my S post for the ABC meme that I participate in.

I have three sisters and two brothers.

In relation to me, the order of birth is this:
Me the oldest
Elaine is 16 months younger
Ray 3 years younger

Johanna 11, years younger
Adam 13 years younger
Marie 14 years younger

As you can see, my parents had me, Elaine and Ray, then waited 11 years and had another set of three.
I never thought to ask my mother why this was.  At the time I guess I was too young to question it.
When Johanna was born, I was just thrilled to have a real baby girl doll to take care of.

My memory of the time when we were kids is that we were a tight knit family.  Since we lived in a small three bedroom ranch house, we sort of had to be.    At various times the sleeping arrangements were a combination of bunk beds and pull out sofas.

My parent's marriage was pretty stormy, as each one of my siblings will attest to.

Obviously growing up under those conditions shaped who we are today and probably played a large part in our relationship with each other.

As we grew up and moved on with our lives, we still managed to find time to be a part of each other's lives.

I guess my Mom was the glue that held us together.   She was the point of contact, the town crier.  We each would visit or call her and then she would pass on our news to the others when they called or visited.

That's how each of us always knew what was going on in the other's lives.

Over the years there have been some minor breaks, serious fractures, and one on-going irreparable damage to each of our relationships.

One particularly difficult fracture resulted in a couple of years worth of a combination of a number of us not speaking to one or the other.

During that time I remember watching one of those Oprah reunion shows.
You know the ones where someone finds out that she has siblings that she has never met.   (Actually it happened to Oprah herself. )

Anyway, as I sat there trying to hold back the tears, (those shows always make me cry) I remember thinking, here we were, my siblings and I, we have what those people have been looking for all of their lives and we don't even speak to each other.

My mom was still alive during that particularly bad one, but she couldn't very well take sides.  Actually I think she rather enjoyed the drama, but that is for another post.

I think, I, as the first born, may have orchestrated some peace talks and eventually we were each able to (sort of) patch things up, be cordial to one another and actually have some laughs.

I have so many memories of times with each one of my siblings ranging from wonderful to horrible.

After my Mom passed away, almost two years ago,  the personal contact we have with each other has gotten less and less.

We now get the news of each other from Facebook.

How sad is that?

I am curious about other sibling relationships.  Is ours typical?  What is yours like?

I wonder if those families that Oprah re-united would feel the same about their siblings if they had always been a part of their lives.

I miss my family.  I suppose more so now for me during a most difficult time.

I wonder if Oprah would consider coming back to do a special reunion show for us.

Here is a short video of my Mom and my siblings gathered together on a Christmas eve four years ago.
It is the way I like to remember the times we shared.


  1. I get the news on a lot of my relatives through facebook. My (only) brother and I do speak on the phone and catch up when we can, but it's my relationship with my grandparents that I think resonates with your post - my dad passed away 18 months ago, he was the one who bridged the gap with his parents and kept them up to date with me and my brother. We need to make more of an effort to do this ourselves now I think. Perhaps you need Oprah, or perhaps you or one of your siblings could initiate a reunion yourselves (although I appreciate that it could be difficult/impossible depending on the ongoing rifts). 

  2. I love your video and laughed with your wonderful mum.   Perhaps you could begin bit by bit to get back together with the rest of your family.  Don't try to be too ambitious - baby steps.  Then nobody feels threatened.  Experience has taught me not to expect instant harmony, and not all the time - that's families but if you could laugh together like this, then imagine how good it might be to do that again. 

  3. I loved the video. Laughing like that is the best! I am lucky to be here in Maui with my husband, brother, SIL and their oldest daughter. We have had some good laughs and a little cry when we spoke about our Mom (me crying, him teary eyed). We don't live close he in WA and me in CA but try to keep in contact, at least through FB or email. Our sis lives in SoCal and she's a little weird but we still like her! Somehow she and my brother don't see eye to eye and I seem to be in the middle even though I'm the oldest. Conversations between them often go through me. I don't think there is a ideal family out there. There is drama in every family. The older I get however, I don't want to be separated my my sis and brother over anything stupid. Life is too short.