Yeah, I have one. That's her on the left. Five years older. My brother is on the other side. I'm the little Orangutan looking baby in the middle there.
Families are hard. You can pick your friends, you can pick you nose and you can even pick your ass but you can't pick your family. You get what you get. Being embarrassed by them is a waste of time, trust me. I would know. Sometimes you have to love them enough to tell them how much they suck and on this Thanksgiving after making phone calls to my family, all but my sister, I find myself a little annoyed.
I love my sister. I feel like I need to say that but my animosity towards her has reached a fever pitch. And I don't want any responses from this post telling me how life is too short and I should accept her for what she is because this goes way beyond that. You can say that to me when your 46 year old sister has been jobless for over twenty years, uses TENN CARE and her son's injury settlement like her own personal piggy bank and seems to enjoy watching the cycle continue in her children...and Grandchildren. Did I mention I was from Tennessee?
My brother discovered, much to my shock and dismay that my sister was on Facebook. Now you're going to have trouble understanding how earth shattering that is without a little bit of back ground so here it goes. My sister once (in 1999, maybe) asked if I'd talked to my brother. I told her that I hadn't talked to him but I'd emailed him. Her response, "What is email?" She just isn't up on the latest things and where she lives, to be honest, it isn't necessary. So perhaps you can understand my chin dropping to the ground when my brother sends me an IM, "MELODY IS ON FACEBOOK!" I immediately responded with "NO SHE ISN'T!" because there was no way my sister had a Facebook account. It was just inconceivable to me but sure as shit, I searched her and not only did she have one, but my nephew did as well. My initial response, I was furious.
I was furious because she's had a Facebook account since September 27, 2010. She has 176 friends and she even has as section for family and none of her family are listed. Well, he son is. But the other people listed as her "daughters' are of no relation that I know. This isn't a "You didn't friend me on FB!" thing. This is a "How dare you send my mother a letter over the summer begging her to bail you out of jail when you'd been on Facebook for eight months with an easy way to contact her or me to tell us you and your children were OK and you never made the fucking effort?" That is so offensive that I can't even explain properly how my blood is boiling. So incredibly selfish and self serving.
I'm not going to post any recent photos of my sister for a couple of reasons. First, while my blog is about my story and my life as I see it, it isn't about hers, until it intersects with mine. Then it becomes my story to tell. A photo of her with a boyfriend I haven't met, a photo of her in her cap and gown when she received her general equivalency, neither of those are mine to share but photos of us when we were younger are. I'm also not sharing them because she's fallen so far that to be honest, her recent photos are difficult to look at and I just don't like to.
I have all of the family photos as well as my Grandmother's china because she couldn't be trusted with them. She wouldn't take care of them and show them the respect they deserved. This has been proven time and time again. Thank God because they'd be on an episode of Storage Wars right now instead of safely in a chest down stairs at my house.
I've been asked time and time again since I moved away from Tennessee "Why did you move away from your family?" Trust me, it wasn't easy. If I remember correctly, I cried for at least 40 miles and even had to pull over at some point because I couldn't see the road through my tears. It was tough but there are times in your life that the hardest thing to do is the right thing. I could have lived in Nashville my entire life and been absolutely nothing and it would have been OK, perhaps even expected. My sister is a failure and I mean at almost everything. I love her so that is difficult for me to say, but it is the truth. She dropped out of school in the 8th grade and that's where her mentality stayed. She's never grown past that point and at 40, I'm just tired of waiting. I haven't spoken to my sister since I finally found her well over three months after the HUGE flooding in Nashville about two years ago. I searched her out. None of her phone numbers worked, but they never do. I contacted local businesses and even residential addresses around her until someone finally found her. Her response, "What?"
Seriously? Is she so stupid that she didn't for one second think that her family would be concerned for her and her children after a flood like that? People died!! She didn't once think of calling one of us to let us know they're alive? No, she didn't and there is only one reason for that. She didn't need anything.
My sister calls, whenever she's in jail. Written promises of a payment plan and all the ways she'll make it up to you if you can "just help me out this one time." The last time I bailed her out it was to the tune of $2500. There were lots of promises that time. She's not made one attempt to pay anyone back and we know she has no intentions. Selfish. She's just selfish.
I've stopped making the effort. I guess it's been two years now. Her birthday is the day before mine. I'd call and wish her a happy birthday and at the end of the call she'd say. "Happy birthday tomorrow if I don't talk to you!" Yeah, that meant she wasn't calling and she didn't. She doesn't call for Thanksgiving, She doesn't call for Christmas. She doesn't call on my children's birthdays. There were years when I would drive to Tennessee, pick her kids up and drive them for a week at my mother's house in Georgia. I'd buy them some new clothes, school supplies, things they needed and then I'd drop their ungrateful asses off with her and drive the twelve ours back to my house. I stopped doing it when I had kids because, I have kids and that trip isn't as easy with a two year old and because I don't want my children around the lifestyle she has chosen for herself. In that world people lose their kids as often as they get arrested which I tell you is all the fucking time. I'm not interested in being anywhere near that. I want more for my family.
My sister is the reason I think trailers are the worst form of failure. She's the reason when we run out of toilet paper or milk I feel like a failure. She's the reason why my kids always look nice even if we're only going to the market. I don't know how to absentmindedly throw an outfit on my kids because I don't want to feel like I didn't give it any thought. I just don't know how to do that and the dirtiness of my young nephews stuck with me and I refuse to allow my own kids to appear the way hers did. It was just wrong. She's the reason I own so many bibs for River and worry so much about her clothes. The intelligent adult in me knows that they're only clothes but the feeling of poverty and dirtiness I see when I see a child in stained clothes and a dirty face is unsettling for me. She is also the reason when my house is cold, I feel poor because there were times (often) she didn't pay her bills and she and her kids would all sleep in one room because their house was freezing. Yet she was never with out pot. That seemed to always be the one constant. I wasn't the one in a cold house but knowing your family is in that situation weighs on you. Perhaps me more than her. Twenty+ years of having that weigh on you takes it toll.
I was talking to a friend one night not so long ago and I confided that I needed to slow down on buying the kids clothes. River more so than Owen. River didn't walk until she was almost 23 months old and when she did, I went crazy buying dresses. You can't wear a dress well when you're crawling. It's just difficult so now River has so many dresses that I can't fit them in her drawers, even after giving away three boxes worth of clothes. She had probably 20+ dresses laying over the rocking chair in her room because I have no place to put them. I told my friend this and she turned to me and said "What void are you trying to fill?" To be honest, it was an excellent question. The answer after way too much thought is that I just don't want to feel poor. I mean I already think like a poor person in that I buy cheaply (most of the time) but something about not having what I need or nice things like a new dress for my daughter, makes me feel dirty and pathetic and I blame my sister for that. For all the times I gave her kids gifts to visit the next time and they were either broken or had been pawned. For all the things my nephews did without because she took their money and used it to buy drugs. For all the times we couldn't send them cash in their birthday cards because she would take it. I blame her.
The truth is, my sister is the worst thing I could ever imagine being. That's a terrible thing to have to say about your sister. Every youngest child wants to be able to look up to their siblings and I feel like I have that with my brother but I've never had it with my sister and as a little girl growing up, I always wanted that and never got it. I want so badly to be proud of her but she never gives me the chance. It's shameful and I'm tired of feeling guilty for it, I'm tired of the constant concern I have to have for her because she takes care of nothing. I hear people say "my sister and I are nothing alike." I always laugh because I think they have no idea.
If I could say one thing to my sister today it would be this, It's Thanksgiving at my house too. It sure would be nice to have a big sister I was proud of but I gave up on that the time you shot up drugs in front of me when I was twelve. I have children and I want more for them than you clearly want for your own. They're good kids that you'll never know but get over yourself and do for my kids what I did for yours. Send them a fucking Christmas card. Know when their birthdays are. It's really not that difficult to care about someone besides yourself. Try it for once in your life. Also, while you're at it, tell me who you think is going to pay for your headstone, because I'm not.