friendship + family

Friday Forgiveness: A Little Sister’s Plea

August 13, 2010

“Sincere forgiveness isn’t colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don’t worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time.”–Sara Paddison

I have come to appreciate my relationships and friendships much more with age and maturity. There are reasons and seasons for all relationships and I’m working hard to maintain the ones that matter, and build bridges to get over the ones that don’t. I’m learning to be grateful for them ALL because each relationship helps me learn about myself and ultimately how to be a better person. For the most part, knowing when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em has come naturally and easily as I get older. Except when it comes to my relationships with my siblings…

As I mentioned in Wednesday’s post, I am the youngest (by many years) of 5 children and my parents only child together. Moms has one of my siblings from a previous marriage, and Pops has the other three from a previous marriage. But the only consistent relationship I’ve had has been with my mom’s son, my big bro L Boogie. We are extremely close, even though we’re almost two-decades apart in age. To many people’s amusement and wonder, my brother L and I have a tight friendship and uncanny sibling rivalry that even causes Moms to pause with confusion (after all, we didn’t grow up together). If Dre and Sid from Brown Sugar were strictly platonic best friends, they would represent me and my brother because we relate to each other through hip hop culture. He’s the Ren to my Ten. We got that whole unity thing going. U-n-i-t- why? Because. Exactly. Thank you. [Side note: we literally communicate through Brown Sugar–and even other black comedy–quotes. No other words are necessary, we have our own language]. Simply put, he’s my brother, my friend, my homie, my ace.

And because I’m so close with L Boogie it really bothers me that I’m not close with my other siblings. (L Boogie isn’t either). My siblings witnessed their respective parents’ divorces and the later marriage of my parents to each other. I’m sure there was residual resentment and uneasiness about transitions as a result. The effects just seem to have had a much longer lasting effect on my dad’s kids. They’ve been distant from my family (namely my parents) for as long as I can remember. They’re fairly close with each other, but still  disconnected. And though I have fond memories of them showering me with their love and affection when I was young, they’ve become increasingly more distant with me, their baby sister, over the years.

I’m the one who tries to keep in touch, sometimes to the point of pestering. From them, calls, texts, cards, or emails are very rare. My big sister only lives about 4hrs away from where I live now, but I’ve seen her once in the 5yrs I’ve lived here. And I’m in her area at least 5 times a year. She’s on Facebook now, so maybe communication will improve. Recently, when I went to OKC to pick up my niece and nephew to go to Orlando, I was thrilled at the prospect of seeing my big brother M (who is closest to me in age), who I haven’t seen since I was in high school. He is the one sibling who was living at home when I was growing up, and he was my hero and I was never far from his side. But even though he knew I would be in town for a brief time, he was no where to be found. It broke my heart that he didn’t come to see me, his baby sister! But what can I expect from a man who is in and out of trouble and doesn’t even consistently see his own children? *smh* I still expected something. As for my big brother Junior? He’s a recluse and it’s only when I take the initiative to drive by his house unexpectedly (since he refuses to answer his phone) when I’m home in Cali that I ever have a chance of seeing him. But I gave up on the drive-bys a few years ago.

I’m tired of chasing my siblings down as if they’re being forced to interact with me. More than anything in this world I think I’ve prayed the most for my other siblings to build and cherish a relationship with me. But sadly, it seems this feeling is unrequited. This used to make me feel sad and lonely, but it’s grown to actually make me mad and slightly bitter. Admittedly, I resent them because I feel ignored and abandoned by them. Even if we aren’t all close, we could at least in communication. While I understand there are probably many issues and demons and unsettled feelings that keep them from reaching out to me, I feel like our blood relation and my sheer desire to want to be in relationship with them should trump it all. Maybe I’m just a big baby and wanting everything to go my way, as the baby of the family often does. *shrugs*

So today, I choose to openly forgive my siblings who I am out of relationship with. I forgive them for not being the siblings to me that I want(ed) them to be, and for not being more to me like L Boogie is to me. I forgive them for playing the longest game of perpetual hide-and-seek and choosing not to ever really be found. I forgive them for putting their hurts and sorrows about our family before the good and happy aspects of our family. And lastly, I forgive myself for having my own selfish expectations of them, holding them to a standard they never asked to be at, and for trying to change them, for that is out of my control. I sincerely pray that they too are able to forgive (whoever, for whatever) and learn to deal with the pain that keeps them at such a far distance. I have and always will love each of them, no matter what.

Wishing Nobody Put Me In A Corner,
~Gemmie BABY

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7 Comments

  • Reply Beez August 13, 2010 at 5:38 am

    *wipes lone tear* This… is so honest, so real, so… yeah. I hope you get the relationships you desire from your family, and more. You really deserve it. I'm sure there are plenty of things that keep your siblings from fostering those relationships, but you're making the right steps. Clearing the resentment. Loving them "in spite of." BTW, that pic of you and L Boogie makes my heart smile.

  • Reply Sukez August 13, 2010 at 5:48 am

    I found myself holding back tears as you cried out as the little sis. I really hope you get some kind of relationship with them. ((hugs Gem))

  • Reply Bajanflchick August 13, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Great Post…yet again, I've been kind of out of the loop recently, but had to stop here today & this post makes it so worth my while and the picture just makes it Mo Better 🙂

  • Reply keisha brown August 15, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    oh dear…what are you doing to me TO? (truly outrageous)?we seem to be >><< cuz i TOTALLY feel you on this post. i have 2 bros and 2 sis. both my older sibs moved out early, so i never had a relationship from them. the thing i wanted THE most was to be the younger sis to my older bro. but we fell apart due to money. and each of my sibs have a diff relationship with my mom, so my fam was very fragmented. my older sis told me to stop having expectations, and at first i was mad..but had to figure out family is not just the people you are related to by blood. and ironically enough now, since my older sis moved closer, we've seen each other alot more and have gotten closer.so in the end, it will come with time. if YOU want it.

  • Reply Gem of the Ocean August 16, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    @beezthanks for the encouragement. im not sure i "deserve" relationships with them, but i sure as hell desire it! i havent given up, but im trying to be ok with things as they are. and btw–thats actually not a pic of me or any of my bros, although i have tons of pics that look very similar to that one lol.@sukezthanks love *hugs back* it certainly wasnt easy to write (i had very different intentions for this post) but it feels good to get it off my chest. *deep exhale*@bajanflchickthanks for the love, chica, and i appreciate you reading :)@kblol @ TO. love it! its no surprise that you feel me on this, we seem to always be right >here< on deep issues of the heart. it does seem that the relationships children have with their parents can affect their relationships with their siblings. i could do a dissertation on these relationships–and given the time and resources, i prob would, just for kicks. anyway–im glad you and your sis are closer, physically and emotionally. im just waiting on the day i can say the same thing 🙂

  • Reply pattycakes August 20, 2010 at 2:24 am

    Where the heck have I been? I would have given you extra hugs and kisses yesterday had I read this on time. Family is a peculiar thing. Sometimes the hand we are dealt is not ideal, and we feel slighted. I love that you and your brother are as close you are. It reminds me of my relationship with my own big brother. I just want to say a few things on this topic. First, you are well within your right to have the desire of closeness with your siblings. It is not selfish, nor should it be considered a high expectation. I've been down this road with my own family's shortcomings and the greatest blessing has been creating my own family. That family is a potpourri of 'blood' relatives, dear friends, and mentors. It's important to create a family of your own, even if you don't have the picture postcard one. And if that's not enough, I'll be your sis. <3 But we have to go to Plum…and often.

  • Reply Friday Reflection: How Do I Say Goodbye? « That's What GEM Said April 29, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    […] Unfortunately, her death served as a reminder to me how short life could be and that were was no room for “laters”. It always seems to cliche to say that we have to enjoy our time with our loved ones now, because we can’t predict when they will be taken away from us, but it’s so true. And so necessary. Sitting in my cousin’s funeral, in the arms of my older sister (who I had seen only twice in the last 9yrs), I made a decision to make a better effort to reach out to my cousins and to try and restore my relationships with my siblings who I had been disconnected from (as I’ve mentioned in a previous post). […]

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