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Siblingship: Never Too Late
Reunited After Many Years
My sister and I have recently reunited after nearly a quarter of a century without communicating. We have different mothers so that's how we managed to be kept apart for so long. We both lived the early parts of our lives in Fairfield, CT, with her being with both of her parents and me with my mother and my maternal grandparents. My parents split up when I was about a year old and my father got remarried a couple of years later and had Sabrina with his second wife. We are just less than eight years apart. My father never paid child support (literally never) and managed to weasel out of it every time my mother took him to court. When I was almost twelve years old she finally cut my father off from me. Sabrina was four.
Not too long after that my father and Sabrina's mother also split up and both of us were then with our respective mothers. At that point, she was living in Colchester which is much further upstate from where I was and communication faded quickly. In fact, I lost touch with my father's side of the family altogether except for a brief period when one of my paternal uncles had died. Sabrina was not present at the wake, but my father was.
That night, I remember my mother saying: "Don't you think that jerk could have bothered to say more to you than just, 'how are you?' ?"
Soon after that, I lost touch with that side of the family for good, went to high school and then college, and then experienced the typical frustrations of the workforce.
Finally, after I turned thirty (I'm thirty-five, now), I began to remember the experiences I had with my sister. It wasn't that I didn't remember them before, it was just that I wasn't comfortable to examine them. I remember when Sabrina was born and how excited I was to have a sister. I remember that first month she was alive and I held her for the first time and the awesome power I felt from it . . . and also how nervous my stepmother was because I was so young.
I was very happy to have a sister but that didn't necessarily suit my mother's interests. She made a point to get it across to me that Sabrina was only my half-sister and that my father was playing up our siblingship to keep me close to him. In a way she was right, but she was asking a little too much of me to absorb this without it building at least some resentment. Of course, my father also managed to build a great deal of resentment in me. Being the typically irresponsible person that he had always been, my father made sure that I was Sabrina's main supervisor on the days I was with him. I had always felt distant from my father, so I needed very little help with that, but then I started to close myself off to her on an emotional level.
Most of the conflict that came between her and I was considered typical according to the many people I've spoken to that have grown up with siblings. Many have told me that they wished they could have been better friends with their brother or sister, so I worried very little about the tiny fights and arguments we had had in those days. What tortured me so much was the attitude I had assumed during that part of my life, especially when contrasted with hers. I was always a solitary kid growing up, so having Sabrina attached to me at the hip every weekend was something I unfortunately found burdensome. Of course, because of the difference in age and the nature of our relationship as siblings, I was nothing less than a god in her eyes and later, when I began to truly reflect on those days, I began to wish I had been man enough to simply give her the unconditional love she was seeking ('man enough' being a relative term at the oh so mature age of ten). Needless to say, the failure to do this caused me a great deal of pain and regret.
I cannot help but feel that I would not have felt this way had we stayed in touch consistently. Now that we are communicating again (she got in touch with out of the blue this past May), I've come to find out that she also wrote off my father's side of the family and even refers to him by his first name, and I can't say I blame her. I also came to find out from her that she had been thinking of me to just about the same extent as I was thinking of her. When she first contacted me, I couldn't help but want to make up for lost time. Now that I have a bit of a cooler head I realize there is no need to 'make up' for anything, but that I now have the oppurtunity to do what I had failed to do earlier in life.
Also, the demons that haunted my spirit for so long due to the fact that I imagined my poor little sister being traumatized by being denied a major familial relationship important to her early childhood developement had darkened me for years. Now that we are in contact again, those demons have suddenly vanished . . . and, low and behold, they have been replaced by a joyful elation that I was supposed to feel for having her in my life to begin with . . . Amen.
This hub is dedicated to you, Sabrina. I love you so much!!!