Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Search for Sisterhood

Thought it would be nice to share my thoughts on sisterhood today, first because it's Sisters Day, and secondly, because I am fortunate enough to be both a sister and have a sister! So... what is a sister? The dictionary primarily defines a sister as a female sibling who shares one or both parents' bloodline with another sibling. This would account for sisters and half sisters - but there are expanded definitions...step sisters, sisters-in-law, sorority sisters, sisters in faith, religious sisters, women brought together by a cause, and even sister cities. So I guess you could say that sisterhood has probably touched your life in some way even if you're an only child!

Technically, I'm a "half-sister"... and I actually have/had 3 half sisters and 2 half brothers...and I'll explain that a little bit to give you a sense of how differently sisterhood can play out in life. (This is the part that used to drive the nuns where I went to school crazy when they gave us assignments on family type not your typical catholic family) Both of my parents had children from previous marriages before they had me. My dad, who happened to be 18 years older than my mother, actually had a daughter from his first marriage who was only a couple years younger than my mom. He also had been married a second time and had a daughter and son from that relationship as well. My mother had been married once before and had a daughter and son from that marriage... which left me as technically an only child with 5 half siblings. Still with me??

Since I was raised in the same home that my mother's older kids lived in, we have always had that more traditional sibling relationship and when you hear me speak of my sister and brother, they are the ones I'm talking about. It's probably no surprise that there's a pretty significant age gap between me and my sister and brother - my sister is about 15 years older than me and my brother is about 10 years older than me...and that, in and of itself, has had an effect on our relationship with each other, but the gap has definitely narrowed as the age difference has proportionately narrowed. Distance has also played a part since my sister moved away when I was about 9 and I moved away from the midwest in my early 20's. We are still very much part of each other's lives and my sister and I especially stay in pretty close touch.

On my dad's side of the family, the reverse is unfortunately true. His other children always remained distanced from his "new family" although I do remember Saturdays spent with my half brother Bill when I was little. I was never privy to my father's relationship issues with his children, and although we were invited to their weddings, that was pretty much the extent of my contact with them - and after my father passed away when I was 24, the rift had grown much wider and deeper unfortunately.

A few years ago, shortly after I married my hubby, he got me interested in genealogy and we started to look into searching down my siblings... a task that has proven frustrating and saddening and somewhat fruitless - perhaps because I'm not one of those people who feels comfortable taking a chance on opening up old wounds... and I've never really gotten the sense that I was a welcome part of their lives, for whatever reason.

But there was still a curiosity to find out whatever I could. When we started our search, we did it the typical way. I was pretty confident in being able to narrow down locations for both of my dads' daughters so we hit the phone directory... thanks to unlisted numbers, that came up dry. So, being the google search guru that I am, I took a chance on typing in their names. I was met with a long list of hits for the younger sister - including her obituary... I must admit I was a little stunned considering she had died only 2 years earlier at a very young 57 years of age. But the obituary was somewhat bittersweet, since it listed the rest of us siblings with vague information on where everyone lived (mine was wrong of course, because my life had gone thru many changes in the 20+ years since my dad died). But I knew that my oldest sister was probably still alive and that my brother Bill had achieved his dream of becoming a pharmacist and lived in Washington State. I guess a part of me wishes I was brave enough to delve deeper into my search and let this extended family of mine know that I would love to be a part of their world - to be able to get to know my nieces and nephews (and grandnieces and nephews) just as I've been able to be a part of my (by my mom) sister and brother's life. I guess time will tell... Recently I've gotten a little bolder and actually left subtle marks like guestbook signatures on websites that they might see. I'm such a wimp at some things!

In addition to being the "little sister" to my "sister " Diana, and my "brother" Allen, (and a half sister, but sister nonetheless, to Margaret, Beverly and Bill) I've been blessed with several wonderful sisters and brothers-in-law, and I've watched my own children in their brotherly/sisterly relationships... and as more grandchildren join the world, I get to watch their families grow and those relationships budding in yet another generation.

In researching my "today is" feature, I ran across a couple of really great quotes about sisters that definitely reflect my thoughts on both being and having sisters... I'd like to share them with you here... and invite you to visit the many great Etsy shops that I've featured in this article - all of which are run by... you guessed it - sisters! If you're lucky enough to have a sister, give her a call today and tell her how special she is in your world... and if you're lucky enough to have brothers, call them and remind them of how special you are in their lives . {wink} And even if the only "sister" you have fits one of the other sisterhood categories, take a moment to say thank you to the universe for letting your paths cross! I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on being/having a sister, so please feel free to leave a comment...Happy Sisters Day!

"She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities. She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway. She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark. She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink. Some days, she's the reason you wish you were an only child." ~Barbara Alpert

"Sister to sister we will always be, A couple of nuts off the family tree."~Author Unknown

"Sisters annoy, interfere, criticize. Indulge in monumental sulks, in huffs, in snide remarks. Borrow. Break. Monopolize the bathroom. Are always underfoot. But if catastrophe should strike, sisters are there. Defending you against all comers." ~Pam Brown

"Bless you, my darling, and remember you are always in the heart - oh tucked so close there is no chance of escape - of your sister." ~Katherine Mansfield

"I'm smiling because your my sister, I'm laughing because there is nothing you can do about it! " ~Author Unknown

A huge thank you to these great sisterly Etsy shops featured in this article!
Raggedy Ann Americana Angel Doll - sistersscrapping (sisters Deana, Kelli, and Cassie)
Knitted Beanie Hat and Leg Warmers Set for Baby-- Debbie Bliss Yarn - sistersluvcrafts (sisters Alicia and Ginny)
Set of 3 Embroidered Newborn Baby Bib Wash Cloth Burpee Cloth - sistersluvcrafts (sisters Alicia and Ginny)
In the Cottage - Blue and Cream Bolster - Sister2SisterDesign (twin sisters Lisa and Teresa)
Texas Hill Country Cottage - Sister2SisterDesign (twin sisters Lisa and Teresa)
Blue butterfly box - Sisters2 (sisters Laura and Sharon)
Pink poncho plus size - Sisters2 (sisters Laura and Sharon)
Tropical Indulgence- Glycerin Soap -TwinDreamCreations (twin sisters Cathy and Carol)
Scent of Morocco - Batik style Glycerin Soap - TwinDreamCreations (twin sisters Cathy and Carol)
Best Friends Pre-Designed Photo Scrapbook - sistersscrapping (sisters Deana, Kelli, and Cassie)
Baked Honey Bun Candles - sistersscrapping (sisters Deana, Kelli, and Cassie)


Twin Dreams said...

Wonderful article! Thanks for including our soaps. Happy Sister Day!

Cathy & Carol

NICO Designs said...

Thoughtful article. Good luck with the geneology stuff.

TiLT said...

I got my sister when I married my hubby :)

wonderful sister shops!

searchingforcreativity said...

Love the quotes!
Thanks for including our shop!
-Alicia for SistersLuvCrafts

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