Remember that teeny tiny phone call that drove me to take an ativan cause I was so stressed about it I couldn’t sleep – well we finally got it.  Of course, mum was over so I couldn’t leave to go out for  a walk.  I grabbed the baby from his arms so he wouldn’t have an excuse and went into the kitchen.  I fed my mum and tried not to listen in.  I chanted in my head.  About 20 minutes later, hubby reports.  Well, it went fine.  However, as per our family karma, my sister completely avoided the heated subject of the accusation of racism.

I don’t talk about my family a lot in my blog.  At one point I told my sister that I have a blog, but I don’t remember if I told her the name.  Frankly, with the exception of my mother, neither of my sisters has had any input on my arduous journey to motherhood.  They’re generally a source a stress and if my mother wasn’t alive, I don’t know how much we would be in contact with one another.  Sad, but true.  I love them but we are SO different. We share genetics but not similar attitudes. My eldest sister is 9 years older than me.  She has a history with my parents, so  I don’t blame her for not feeling close to the family.  She has her reasons.  She barely talks to my younger sister and I.  She has never, ever asked me if I needed any help with anything.  Of course, I’ve never expected it either. Therefore I am never disappointed.   She wasn’t there when I moved out on my own for the first time, she wasn’t there to help my mother pack when she moved 3000km across the country, and she wasn’t there when I got married.

We were raised with the dynamic –  don’t ask, don’t tell.  We are not confronters.  We are strong, black women who can handle everything. We tend to bury our feelings, our emotions and we rarely admit we’re wrong.  We don’t argue or fight with one another, we just stay silent for the sake of keeping the peace.  And when I say silent, I mean stuff between us can stay buried for a decades.

My younger sister and I used to fight when we were little, but of course, my mother forbade that.  At a certain point, she was on the verge of breakdown or so it seemed to me, so I did my best to please her. In hindsight that  was not the best thing.  If we had been allowed to fight, we might have learned each other boundaries and gotten things out in the open.  In our house, when things got heated, violence ensued.  So we kept a lid on everything.

So much of my adult life has been about unveiling my true emotions, not hiding things any longer and though I am so open with friends, I am rarely so open with my family.  We have so much physical distance between us, it’s been easy to maintain the emotional distance as well.  Until this year.

So while the conversation with hubby wasn’t cathartic, it was a beginning for them.  We’ll see what the future brings. Sometimes you have to endure a storm before the sun shines, eh?


5 thoughts on “Phonecall

  1. Glad it wasn’t horrible. Negativity between in-laws is so awkward.

    It sucks that you don’t have close relationships with your sisters, but if it doesn’t really bother you (sounds like you accepted it long ago as the norm) then maybe it’s not all bad. I have a great relationship with my youngest sister (9 yrs younger) but I have a strained and distant relationship with my middle sister (5 yrs younger). I am sad that we aren’t closer but there’s no bad blood between us either so, at least for now, that’s just the way things are.

  2. So many bells went off in my head when reading this post. I am the queen at suppressing how I really feel to my family. I think that is why blogging has been so wonderful of an outlet. Even to this day, I will avoid confrontation, and usually cave, because the feelings during an argument are so hard for me to deal with. Like you, when voices were raised when I was young, there was also physical violence, some severe.

    Even though I have been away from that environment for years and years, it still hovers in the back of my psyche somewhere.

    Your dynamic of racial issues brings about a whole different type of stress I would imagine. Ironically, our son is dating a girl who happens to be black. I don’t care if she is green or purple, as long as she is a kind, loving person to my son. I wonder though, should they get more serious, if they will run into issues just because of color. That seems so wrong to me.

    • What has made a tremendous difference in our lives, (anyone’s for that matter) is the people we choose to surround us. Mothers make a huge difference in supporting a couple’s relationship.

  3. Families, argh. I sometimes worry about what’s going to happen when my parents are gone, how much I will get to see of my sister. I can’t say there is any huge animosity between us, but I wouuldn’t say we are close either. She has only come to visit me in Toronto once in the almost 25 years I’ve been here.

    My dh gets along OK with his brother (better than when they were kids, he claims), but they never come here — we sometimes go there or, more often, we meet up at their dad’s. I’ve pointed out to dh that once his dad is gone, they are going to have to make more of an effort to see each other, especially if we want to stay close to our nephews (which we do).

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