Wednesday, October 10, 2007


            Nine years apart.  That is the age difference between my sister and my self.  As a child this didn’t really mean much.  I was the older brother, the protector.  She was my baby sister and just as cute as she could be.  Somewhere along the line, those nine years became an uncrossable gulf. 

            My sister and I have different dads.  This has never been a point of dissention between us.  At age five, my mom and her dad broke up, and she went and lived with her dad.  It is actually infinitely more complicated than that but this is the closest approximation I can get without opening a very large bag of worms.  Her dad got married soon afterwards. 

            I didn’t much worry about things in high school.  I saw her from time to time and we kept the old roles from before.  My family has a habitation problem.  We are all very migratory.  At a point in my senior year, pretty much everyone had moved and was doing there own thing.  After high school I joined the Army and lived far, far away.  I tried to keep phone contact but if you think I was successfully you have never know an 18-22 year old boy.  Needless to say, we lost contact and didn’t see each other for a couple of years; I don’t think we even talked. 

            After the Army, I moved back to Middle Tennessee.  I then find out that my sister has moved, with her father, to her father’s hometown in East Tennessee.  I immediately make plans to go out and see her and bring her to visit me.  I am twenty-three and she is fourteen.  This is the first time I notice that I don’t know my sister.  We both have that great to see you attitude, but the situation is very awkward. 

            This awkwardness will only grow as the years pass.  My big brother teasing is met with pain and resentfulness.  My big brotherish protection is no longer wanted.  Hostility has arisen and I think that I am trying to reach out, but, am in fact, only managing to make things worse. 

            This past year has been the worst.  If it hasn’t been one thing it has been another.  She is now closing in on twenty-one and I am thirty.  I don’t understand her or the culture that she is growing up in.  We have completely different friends and really don’t know any of the same people at all.  Her dad had two more children and she has had the roll of oldest child for the past thirteen years.  She is not the baby girl of my childhood.

            I have been vocal in the past about her life decisions that I disagreed with.  I didn’t think smoking was a good idea, and, after I found out that she was okay, I let her know what I thought about getting into a car drunk with a driver that was drunk.  I was playing the big brother role and due to being a father myself, I kind of played the father role as well.  I did it because it was what came naturally.  It was a mistake.

            This summer it all came to a climax.  She was acting very disrespectful to my wife and I said some things that I didn’t mean.  I apologized and thought we were good, but I haven’t talked to her since.  The only way I know how to contact her is through Myspace, and that hasn’t worked out.  It is only affecting me in my brain though and not my heart.  I know I should be mad and/or heartbroken, but I am indifferent. 

            This twenty year old woman-child is different from me.  She grew up in a different environment, social circle, and time.  We have very little in common except genetics, or at least I think that is so, because the truth is that I don’t even know her.  We have been absent from each other for so long that there is now very little left of who we were once upon a time.  I don’t know if she is a good person or a bad person.  I don’t know what her motivations or beliefs are.  She is a complete stranger.  It will be hard to get to know her, but I think I owe that to both of us.  We may never be close, but hopefully we can at least be civil.

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grrrace said...

gosh. my brother is 11 years younger than me. it's the same thing. except he and i used to be pretty close. then he "grew up"... and i don't know him at all. i can hardly even be civil to him because of everything he's done to our family.i can only hope that things will change as he grows older and (hopefully) matures. i think that in a few years, maybe things will get better for you. i mean, "they" SAY that girls mature faster than boys, but you wouldn't think so with kids these days... one of these days i won't hate him so much and i'll be able to call him. hopefully by then it won't be too late for us to repair our relationship.and as for you and your sister, hopefully she will want to cultivate a relationship with you when she has her own family?anyway, i guess what i'm trying to say is that i understand you somewhat.even down to the migratory family. good luck. :)

Budd said...

thanks! good luck to you as well. Your brother is out, right?

grrrace said...

yup... unfortunately. hehe. or fortunately. i guess it depends on how you look at it. hehe. :)

Ender said...

I hope that you and she settle into something that is comfortable to both of you... There's a big gap of time separating you, but hopefully there is a longer space of time ahead to bridge the gap in some meaningful way.

Budd said...

Good luck to you as well. Once he reaches his mid twenties he should settle down a little. until then, you just gotta hope he doesnt' get too far our of control.
You need to get him to vox. I bet it would be very interesting.
Not meaning to stereotype, but are ABKs (American born Koreans) all on extreme sides of the saint/sinner spectrum. It seems so from my experience. They are either top of their class, successful contributing members of society or have given up entirely and eek out an existance doing menial work. There doesn't seem to be any in the middle class.

grrrace said...

i'm hoping so. or he could be like my loser cousin who's in his 30s still floundering.pffft. i don't want him to vox. i don't want him reading my stuff and i don't want to read his. hehe...a LOT of ABKs are certainly that way. i don't know why that is. but i'm one of the few exceptions, i guess. while i did excel in school, once i got out, i had no desire to continue going to school... and i'm happy being middle class. hehe.