Sunday, May 24, 2009

Permission to whine, please

My mother and older sister have a complicated relationship. They always have. I could go into a lot of detail, but I'll spare you. Quick explanation -- each is disappointed in the other.

My sister, barely a year older than I, never felt my mother gave her enough attention. Not when we were babies, not when we were teenagers, and not now. She has been a colicky, restless baby, a troubled teen and a calamitous adult in an attempt to gain my mother's undivided attention. Unfortunately, my mother has two other children, so she has always been unable to fill my sister's bottomless need for maternal love. I also have to admit that the older we become, the less attractive my sister's quest for attention becomes.

For her part, my mother does not approve of my older sister's parenting abilities. Sis' oldest child, her son, is the apple of my mom's eye and it bothers my mother that my sister is never satisfied with him or his accomplishments. Sis' youngest child, her daughter, is a cutter who has run away and attempted suicide. This has broken my mother's heart.

So why does this incite me to whine?

Most of the time, unless my sister is doing something directly to me, I try to ignore/avoid/forget her. We're in our 50s now, and this sibling rivalry is beyond old. My sister and I live 2000 miles apart, and it's easy for me to rise above the fray and just go on with my own life.

But every once in a while, like now, I am forced to listen to my mother rhapsodize and glow about my older sister. Right now it's this man (but in the past it's been "that man" or "this job" or "that new house" or "the new baby" ...) who will make it possible for my sister to stop lying, become unselfish, and forget her troubles c'mon, get happy.

Listening to this is hard because this time won't be any different than 2001, or 1997, or 1992, or 1988, or … My older sister will do something hostile or stupid or just plain nuts that will break my mom's heart once again. And now that my mom's heart is nearly 75, I really wish this wouldn't happen, and I really, really don't want to hear about it. Not my mom's steadily escalating hopes, and certainly not the sudden crash when reality and/or my older sister's true nature rears its ugly head once more.

But I keep my mouth shut. Much as I want to whine, I don't. (Except to this blog, of course.) This dance is really between my mom and my older sister. They began it before I was born, after all. When I'm forced to think about it, I'll try to remind myself that my mom is, after all, a woman. As flawed as she is strong, facing the end of her life as best she can, just as she raised me the best she could.

And look how well I came out!

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing A to Z

• Are you available? Depends on who is asking.
• What is your age? 51.
• What annoys you? People who take up too much space. Why does your briefcase deserve it's own seat on the train? Did you buy a ticket for it? And why is your iPod and water bottle taking up valuable bench space in the locker room?

• Do you know anyone named Billy? My beloved cat. He was a gigantic, purebred ragdoll (similar to this handsome gent). A gentle, melancholy soul, I miss him every day.
• When is your birthday? November 22.
• Who is your best friend? The one who is running in the Bolder Boulder tomorrow!

• What's your favorite candy? It changes. Right now, Butterfingers.
• Crush? It changes. Right now, BROOOOOOOOOCE.
• When was the last time you cried? Watching Marley & Me last week.

• Do you daydream?: All day, every day. Just call me "Sleepy Jean."
• What's your favorite kind of dog? Shelter rescue
• What day of the week is it? Why do you want to know? Do you think I was hit in the head with a hockey puck?

• How do you like your eggs? Over easy.
• Have you ever been in the emergency room? Yes. Though not in about 10 years.
• Ever pet an elephant? Not only petted him, I rode him! At the San Diego Zoo. Great fun, but not comfortable.

• Do you use fly swatters? No. I have three cats. Airborne bugs don't stand a chance.
• Have you ever used a foghorn? No.
• Is there a fan in your room? Yes.

• Do you chew gum? No.
• Do you like gummy candies? No.
• Do you like gory movies? No.

• How are you? Lazy
• What's your height? 5'2
• What color is your hair? Reddish brown

• What's your favorite ice cream? Mint chocolate chip
• Have you ever ice skated? Yes, and I suck at it.
• Ever been in an igloo? No

• What's your favorite Jelly Bean? The green ones
• Have you ever heard a really hilarious joke? Yes
• Do you wear jewelry? Two rings, wristwatch and earrings

• Who do you want to kill? Right now, no one. Amazing, huh?
• Have you ever flown a kite? No.
• Do you think kangaroos are cute? Yes.

• Are you laidback? At home, yes. At work, no.
• Lions or Tigers? Why the capitalization? Are you asking about the critters or the sports teams?
• Do you like black licorice? No.

• Favorite movie as a kid? Mary Poppins
• Ever shopped at Moosejaw? No.
• Favorite store at the mall? Carson's. (Or Bergner's, depending on where you live.)

• Do you have a nickname? Goodness, I have many. My friend Chad bestows and revises them easily.
• What's your favorite number? 7
• Do you prefer night or day? No

• What's your one wish? To be peaceful
• Are you an only child? No
• Do you like the color orange? Sure

• What are you most paranoid about? Suffering through an airplane crash
• Piercings? One on each ear
• Do you know anyone named Penelope? Not anymore. (The one I did know died.)

• Are you quick to judge people? I can be. Not my best quality.
• Do you like Quaker Oats? Yes.
• Know anyone that makes quilts? No.
• Do you think you're always right? Think? No. I'm POSITIVE.
• Do you watch reality TV? Well, the Jon & Kate marathon is on right now.
• Reason to cry? Sad critters.

• Do you prefer sun or rain? Sun
• Do you like snow? Yes
• What's your favorite season? Autumn

• time is it? After noon
• What time did you wake up? 7:30

• Can you ride a unicycle? No.
• Do you know anyone with a unibrow? I can't think of anyone right now, but I'm sure I do.
• Uncles do you have? 2.5. (My aunt married a man I've never met, so he's .5)

• What’s the worst vegetable? Broccoli
• Did you ever watch Veggie Tales? No
• Ever considered being vegan? No

• What's your worst habit? Lazy, lazy, lazy
• Do you like water rides? Yes
• Ever been inside a windmill? No

• Have you ever had an x-ray? Yes
• Ever used a Xerox machine? Yes

• Do you like the color yellow? Yes
• What year were you born in? 1957
• Do you yell when you're angry? Of course not. (Tee hee)

• Do you believe in the zodiac? I'm firmly on both sides
• What's your zodiac sign? Scorpio
• When was the last time you went to the zoo? Two years ago