Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

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SisterHoodShip

April 17, 2011


Sometimes, I look back on my own childhood and marvel at the huge part my sister plays in my memories.  As I get older, our arguments are harder to remember.  But our nights spent playing spit while listening to Cyndi Lauper until 3 or 4 a.m. occupy huge pieces of my memory.  I remember her as my closest friend during childhood.  Especially in our teen years.  I remember coming out a fog of rebellion and bad relationship, and HER being the one who would ride around in the car with me, singing the songs of independence and personal strength (Sinead O’Connor sang those, by the way).  The memories of getting in trouble together, of sneaking around, of egging my parents on. (Especially when they were convinced that the fact that we knew every word to Sinead’s version of a classic Irish folksong meant that we were lesbians … having an incestuous relationship.  Fundamentalist Christians are weird.  And paranoid.)

My sister an I even coined a term (at least we thought we did) — we called it Sisterhoodship.  An amalgamation of sisterhood and friendship.

And then I watch my girls fight (a lot), and I feel sad.  Very sad.  That they don’t like each other more.

But this week, I’m seeing more.  I’m seeing more than the fights.  I’m seeing those memories – they’re recognizing them from their own past, and they’re creating new ones.

The angst that they have about the visits to the Middle of the Country has always been something that brings them together. But while things were unfolding this week, I saw sides of their relationship that I’m not always privy to.  When Lemon made the decision to come home early, and Mouse was upset – Lemon consoled her sister.  She gave her a hug, and she said, “Mouse, we can video chat every night.  I will email you, and we can talk, and we’ll stay in touch.”  And Lemon accepted the hug.  (for at least 30 seconds before they started elbowing each other and giggling and falling on the floor.)

Today, in the airport, they had inside jokes, and they were good.  They were laughing about Mouse’s fear of flying, and Lemon suggested that she was Mouse’s airplane talisman.  “You’ll always be safe, if you’re with me!” And Mouse agreed.  They came up with goofy scenarios  (“Hi, Lemon, I’m going on my honeymoon, can you meet me at the airport?”) and just generally … loving each other.

Yesterday, Mouse was explaining to me that when they’re in the Middle of the Country, they are mostly “like best friends,” but when they do get in a fight, “it’s like we can really kill each other.”

[Two Years Ago]

I remember that, too.  But those are the things that have faded.

I think they’re more good than I realize.  And I also think my mother had no idea what was going on those nights where Fishy (my sis’s nickname) and I stayed up until 3 a.m. playing cards and singing with Cyndi (Iko, Iko Unday …) She just was mad because we wouldn’t wake up at a reasonable hour the next day.

I’m feeling more optimistic than I have in the past.  Optimistic that when they’re adults, they will find support in each other, and they will have a friendship that goes beyond just being sisters.

[A Month Ago]
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Confession No. 2

November 16, 2010

I should be especially ashamed of what I’m about to admit, because when I was an adolescent, my mother victimized me with the same evil deeds, and I was so upset about it.  But I have not learned.

I have a very hard time stopping myself from reading my kids’ journals.

But since Lemon doesn’t keep one (as far as I know), I guess I just mean “I have a hard time not reading Mouse’s journal.”

I work on blaming her:  “if she would only TALK about things more, I owuldn’t have to read her journal.”  But I know that it isn’t a good excuse.

I need to either decide it’s okay for me to do it (for now) or stop doing it.

IN the meantime …

A couple of the things I’ve learned from reading her journal:

  • Her close friend told her she was fat, and picked on her for having a flat chest.  Her response was “but I think I’m thin, because last week, someone asked me if I was anorexic.  So I must be thin, right?  I also think I’m fit – I play sports every day!”
  • Then she went on to talk about how she would only eat fruit for snacks, and she would do crunches – 50 in the morning/50 at night.
    • No!  Wait a minute!!!!
      • FIRST:  this *friend* is now on my shit list.  How dare she?  Why would she?  And I had many moments of being ready to call her mother (my close friend) to let her know what was going on.  Because … come ON!
      • SECOND: The child is 5’2 and she weighs 90 pounds, if that.  She has a freaking 6 pack. She is strong, she is tall, she is lean …
      • THIRD:  Even if she wasn’t — how is that a FRIEND???
      • FOURTH: Why is she so easily swayed?
      • fifth: oh no.  it’s bc she’s afraid of getting out of shape like her mother. [see how selfish i am?]
  • Last spring, all of her friends were ganging up on her, and making her feel on the outs.  She didn’t know what was going on, and was confused.
    • I knew something was wrong.  I just knew it.  She was telling me everything was fine, but spending more and more time in the house while her friends were just outside playing on the block.  She was saying she just “didn’t feel like playing.’  But she seemed down.  I asked & asked – she didn’t budge. Everything was fine.  Things did end up fine before they all went their separate ways for the summer, but it upsets me that she can’t just say “yeah, mom, things feel funny with my friends.”

I don’t know what to do to get her to talk to me more about these things.  i don’t feel like we’re not close.  We talk a lot, and we’re happy and comfortable spending time together.  But she does have certain lines.  I am her Mother.  I get much conversation on many things; and none on other things.  She likes to spend time with me, seeks me out, looks forward to our time together – I am sure of that.  But she does not want me to talk to her about boys, or about her friendships, or about sex (god forbid).

But is that okay?

It’s really not that Lemon talks to me more about these things.  She just chatterchatterchatters all the time, and often it’s with stories about this thing that happened while she was at so-and-so’s house, and I can pick up on dynamics through these stories.  She recently had a falling out with a friend she’d had since third grade – someone whose mother I am friends with and who I had a very good rapport with and kind of miss – and it was like pulling teeth to figure out wht went on there (and I’m still not sure I have the real story).

Is it all just none of my business?  When does it become my business?  If Mouse is having severe body image issues, and is decreasing her food intake because her friend was being an ass — isn’t that my business?  If Lemon is being unkind and reacting to the pressure of entering high school by making decisions that hurt her friends of years upon years … isn’t that something that I should be talking to her about?

I mean … they’re 12 and 14.  Not 22 and 24.

And … should I stop reading the journal?

[this is hard.]