Relationships in family are important to most people on the planet. In my family, we tend to be independent, go our own way, live our own lives, but our parents still hold ties to each of us. Other families tend to stay physically close and very involved in each other’s lives but ours didn’t work out that way.
My sister left home at age 15. She is two years older than I am. My brother, 7 years younger, was only 10 when I left home at 17 for college. Then he left home at 14 when my parents divorced. Because my siblings both ended up in Washington State, I chose to move my family here a little over a year ago to get to know my siblings better and perhaps build closer family bonds.
How’s that going, you ask? Well, follow my blog as I share the experience of this journey and the choices I have had to make and will have to make going forward to build positive relations with my family.
When I chose to move to WA State, I didn’t want to live in the same town as my siblings—I wasn’t quite ready for that—and I wanted to live somewhere that wasn’t so dry. They live in Wenatchee, WA, a dry, more arid region of the state which gets fairly hot in the summer and has some wicked snow due to closeness to the mountains. I chose, instead to live closer to the ocean, ending up in the Olympia, WA area. This means my drive is anywhere from 3 ½ to 4 hours to see my siblings.
The first six months we lived in WA, my boys and I tried to see my brother and sister as regularly as possible. I found that my siblings may live in the same town, but rarely speak. It seems I stepped into something of a history between the two of them and their family dynamics and still have much to learn.
Since I was coming into the picture and this was new, my boys and I enjoyed some fairly amicable get-to-know-you visits for the summer and holidays from June until December of 2009. My brother was even able to come to some of the activities at my sister’s home. You see, my sister is one of those individuals who you go to see on her turf—she will never come to your turf. You accept that, or forget having a relationship with her.
My brother, on the other hand, feels that is stupid. As for me, I have been willing to accept that part of her and accommodate it by being the one to drive to activities (soccer games, Christmas, Thanksgiving) rather than expect her and hope that she will change her behavior or habits. That would be a losing, futile battle of expectations.
So the past year and a half, I have accommodated her as it makes logical sense anyway for me to go to Wenatchee so I could see both siblings.
Now that I have set the stage a bit for this blog, you can look forward to ways to handle disagreements, turning the other cheek, helping an ailing parent, and more. All these relationship challenges have been flung my way for deciding to move closer to my siblings. As Erma Bombeck put it, “Family—the Ties that Bind and Gag.”