Friday, February 15, 2013

So Different, So Alike

NOTE: This post keeps disappearing and rearranging photos... very odd! 

I often focus on how different my sister and I are; were. (That's so hard - the past tense.) As I was lying in bed, wide awake at 2 a.m. the other night, I started to wonder why Patsy loved me at all! We were just so opposite.
I adore this photo of us because I know exactly what I'm doing... playing with Patsy's long fingernails. 

I always felt like an ugly duckling next to her. She was thin and gorgeous, perfect hair, long nails. I never felt attractive for even a few seconds in my entire life. If there was a gathering of people, she wanted to be in the thick of if. I would rather be at home, alone. Crowds make me anxious.  Even small groups make me uncomfortable. I'm always analyzing motives. Patsy took people as they are.
One of the only photos we have of Patsy as a baby. Her father who never made any effort to see Patsy broke in and stole all her photos after our mother divorced him.

And maybe that's the key. She took me as I am with all the faults that are so self-evident to me and she embraced me.

But it's made me wonder if we were alike at all.

We both love animals. It's more obsessive with me...I will bend over backwards to make mine happy. She left the care and feeding and exercising of hers to her hubby. But it was petting her Bailey boy that found her 2nd tumor. He kept sniffing a particular spot that led to her doctors finding the cancer.  I know she always adored him for saving her life and giving her almost another decade!
Making ice cream in our aunt's driveway.

We often bonded over our disjointed relationships with our mother. We both tried to be good daughters, even though only one of us would be allowed to be in Mom's good graces at any given time. We could congratulate and console each other as our rank shifted in the quicksand of our Mom's love.

Ugly is a harsh word used by Southern mother's that has nothing to do with a child's appearance. It has to do with behavior and is used to infer that you've messed up or insulted someone. "You're so ugly when __________is around!"

My mother has told me I'm ugly my whole life. I was never the social butterfly my sister was. I would say hello when Mom had a friend over and, as soon as possible, head to my room or open a book. I always understood that my Mother's friends were there to visit her...they had no interest in me. Why did I need to hang around and participate in their conversation??? The fact that I didn't made ugly. Mother would scream and yell after her friends left, leaving me to wonder what exactly I had done wrong.

Some years ago, my mother called my sister ugly for not listening to Mother's driving directions. My sister cried for three days straight and for the first time in ages, stopped calling my mother every day. I would call Patsy and console her and finally admitted that I didn't get why she was so upset. I mean, I've been told how ugly I am often once a day since I was a small child. What's the big deal? It turns out, Mother had never called Patsy ugly, ever! And Patsy was so hurt. When she found out that this was commonplace to me, she cried even more, this time for me. It was one of those moments that made me so glad I have a sister to share this weird experience of growing up with the odd rules and volatile parent we both shared.

We both love being outdoors. We are both drawn to water, especially the ocean. We both love our cousins and fun we had at family outings.

We love going to the movies. I was always amazed at her "movie rules." It wasn't a movie if there wasn't a giant coke and popcorn involved. Me? I'd rather save the money to see another movie.

We both loved to laugh; at each other, at ourselves, at our crazy, practical joke loving family. There was lots of laughter.

Patsy always wanted a baby sister and she took the one she got with joy in her heart.

There is an old Indian proverb that goes, "I will pass this way again for I like myself when I'm with you."  That's what my sister did for me. She made it O.K. to just be.

The way we were...


Raising Addie said...

awwwwwwwwww... so sweet ♥

Lots of Luv & Kisses
Addie, Lucie, Hailey and Staci

harrispen said...

My sister and I are much closer in age than you and your sister were, but you seem to have had a much closer relationship with your sister. You were lucky to have such a loving sister.


Priscilla Phang said...

What a beautiful post!

Snowbrush said...

I have an older sister who would have been as important in my life as Patsy was in yours, but, alas, we never lived together. My mother had four children that grew up in three different households.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Snow, I've seen several of these sibling relationships so far apart in age now and the one thing I've learned is - IF the older sibling wants a relationship, it will most likely happen.

Snowbrush said...

"IF the older sibling wants a relationship, it will most likely happen."

I wish I had worked to have one with my younger sister. We never were close, and she hasn't spoken to me in 19 years due to her unhappiness over her father's will.