Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Scars and Relationships

Momalom's post yesterday on sisterhood got me thinking. It got me thinking about scars.

I have a scar on my abdomen. It came from an appendectomy when I was 6 months pregnant with the Queen. This scar now has stretch marks around it (thank you, pregnancy). I shudder and grin when I see that scar. It represents a hellish pregnancy. It also reminds me of my beautiful Queen.

I hope that this scar will eventually fade. I have other scars that, although they aren't facial, are more painful. These are my relationship scars.

One in particular has been on my mind a lot lately. My sister and I have struggled through the years. When she was a rebellious teenager, I hated the pain she inflicted on my parents and she hated my "know-it-all" attitude. Our tenuous relationship hasn't changed much over the years. Neither of us gives, but both of us take.

I could give you descriptions of our painful encounters, but it would be loaded with "he said, she said" crap. I could name a million offenses against me, and she could probably name a million and one. I will spare you.

I thought our relationship was nearly ended a few months ago. I had had too much.

Then the unexpected happened.

I mentioned how my sister saved the day when I went into labor. Her visit was perfectly (unperfectly?) timed.

My capricious sister lives in Alaska. She decided to make a surprise trip to my home state in the beginning of November. Before that date arrived, she jokingly remarked that maybe she would get to see the baby before she left. I didn't think it was that funny.

Lo and behold, I went into labor the day she came to visit us. Instead of eating lunch together, she took the Queen. All day long. Then, the next day and night. She even witnessed Manly's arrival into the world.

The unintended invitation to be present at the birth seemed like a way to patch up our threadbare relationship. It was a very special invitation, one that I do not extend frivolously. Heck, I wouldn't even let my mom come! (I know, I am cruel). Nevertheless, it seemed the right thing to do. I do not regret it. I am so grateful that I did.

I think that moment has done more to improve our relationship than anything ever has or could.

As I watch my two babies I wonder how their relationship will unfold. I hope I can impart wisdom of what not to do. I also hope they will support each other no matter what.

While I cannot make them love each other, I can share the experiences I have had and hope they learn.


  1. Thank you for sharing. Familial relationships can be so tough. Being there for the delivery must have been an amazing experience for your sister. You are wonderful.

  2. And though I am not so very quick to say was something that was meant to be. Right? In a way? Yes?

    Yes, I should think.

    Witnessing the birth of my sister's third child was miraculous in so many ways. Even though I was a mother three times over, I had never seen it from that perspective. The sheer COMING INTO THE WORLD act.

    If there is one thing to say about the relationship between your own kids as they grow older? You set the tone. You teach them to love one another. You keep them close to you and each other. Even as they grow older and want to separate, you keep them coming "home," as it were. I know you'll do alright. It's tough. I'm trying over here and some days? Some days are just AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

  3. Followed you over from Momalom.

    I haven't spoken to or seen my sister in 10 years. It just got too painful. I know how you feel.

    I, too, look at my two daughters and wonder if they will be a blessing to each other or a blight. I almost can't bear the thought of the latter.

  4. Beautiful post. Simply beautiful. It's so important to put things like this into words. To record the feelings we NEED to remember. I'm glad for you - and for her. =)

  5. They will love each other. And your heart will jump and skip and melt when you see tender moments between them. Mine does. I agree with Sarah that you set the tone. I was present for the birth of her second. It was amazing. And to have shared the birth experience with her from both sides was a tremendous gift. We have only grown closer since.

  6. The relationship scars and physical scars are so similar. They both remain with us. I think the relationship scars - those of nuclear family - are worse than the physical. I've lived my share.

    My own sons, I believe, will support each other. They tease, but have respect for each others' talents. I don't think that all cycles need to repeat. I hope they will be good to each other, and there for each other, as they grow into adulthood.

  7. I wrote yesterday how thankful I am for my brother and sister. That they are part of me. That they are a part of my history. We are all imperfect, but I cannot separate myself from them. I don't know how my kids' relationships will evolve. Regardless of the inevitable conflicts, I hope they appreciate how deeply connected they are. (Here from momalom. And glad I am.)

  8. Yvonne: Your words always inspire me. I hope the delivery was an "amazing experience" for my sister. It was for me.

    Sarah: You hit it on the mark. It was meant to be. Despite my careful planning, God had His ideas. His ideas are always better than mine.

    Thank you for reminding me that I set the tone. I am trying to make my house the kind of place they will always come home to.

    TKW: I looked at your blog just yesterday!

    10 years?!? I am sure that hurts you so much. There are certain relationships that cannot be maintained because of the pain associated with the person.

    Kimberly: I am so glad you are back! Thank you! I think this will be a post I will look back on to remind me.

    Jen: I pray that I can experience the birth of at least one of my sister's future children. I already feel closer to her with this experience.

    Wolf: You have such a way with words. I would imagine that if your sons are pretty close now, they will remain close in the future.

    Goldfish: I will be reading that post soon! Sibling relationships can be the most complex, yet rewarding, relationships.

  9. As the middle of five sisters, this post really struck me. There is something profound about the sisterly bond, even if it is strained. What a wonderful (and poetic) way to reconnect with your sister.

    I am a metaphor connoisseur and I love the scar metaphor.

    Living life = collecting scars.

    Really enjoy your words and your perspective!


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