Sisters, Sisters

I’ve written about my younger sister before, but I heard something on the radio that made me think about her today, and I wanted to share it with all of you.

Did you know that Sugar Ray, Everclear, Lit, Marcy Playground, and the Gin Blossoms are going on tour together this summer to play their greatest hits?  It’s like 90s pop/rock heaven.  Admittedly, I was more into Pearl Jam and Live, but I guarantee you I could sing the lyrics to every song at this concert.  Which is the point.  The only problem is, there’s only one other person I would want to reminisce about high school and sing “Someday” at the top of my lungs with.  And that’s my sister.

Actually, I have four sisters.  Three of them are much older than me.  (And when I say “much older,” I mean it.  I’m talking 12, 15, and 19 years older.)  Zappa (as I’m now calling her here) is not quite two years younger.  When we were kids, my mom would dress us alike, do our hair alike.  When we were sitting down, people often mistook us for twins.  (Then we stood up, and I was a foot taller than she was.)

In high school, she was popular; I was not.  We roamed the halls of our school in different circles, but at home, we were best friends.  And we still are.

After hearing about this concert, I fantasized that the two of us could meet (sort of) in the middle, stay in a cheap motel, and get our 90s rock on.  It would be just the two of us, which is rare these days.  It would be amazing.  We would remember out loud how we had sung “Sex and Candy” in our bedroom (with the door closed so the parental units wouldn’t overhear–it was so risqué).  And about how “Hey, Jealousy” will always be about one particular boy I knew in high school and beyond.  And I would do my damnedest not to talk about anything infertility related.

The thing is, even my sister doesn’t understand what I’m going through now.  She doesn’t understand that my husband has a medical condition and that no amount of “fun” sex is going to change that.  She doesn’t understand why it’s so difficult for me to be around pregnant women.  She actually said to me once, “You shouldn’t have to hide from pregnant women.  That’s just sad.”  Yes, it is sad.  And I shouldn’t have to do it, but I do.  To protect my heart and my sanity.  And it hurts me that she can’t understand that.

I could list a hundred reasons why infertility sucks.  (Perhaps another time.)  One of them is that it changes your relationships.  Some for better, others not so much.  I’m not saying that I now have a bad relationship with my sister.  It’s just that when she helpfully asks if we’ve considered having a lot of sex and seeing what happens, I feel the wall of infertility come up between us.

It makes me long for the carefree days of our youth.  It makes high school seem not so bad.

We have this tradition.  Every year we watch White Christmas together.  Last Christmas, my 9-year-old niece stuck around and actually showed some interest in the movie.  Zappa told her about how when she was younger, she wanted to be able to dance, just like Judy.  I told her how I always preferred Betty, and that curvy girls were cool.  We sang along with all the songs, especially this one:

Now I have a whole sorority of sisters.  As a sorority, it’s the worst.  Initiation sucks, and no one wants to live in this sorority house.  But I finally have sisters who understand how I can be so crazy and sad and depressed and hopeful and jealous and miserable all at the same time.  Because they’ve been there, too.

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18 thoughts on “Sisters, Sisters

  1. My sister has also said a few things about infertility or adoption that have really bothered me. It sucks because you assume that your siblings are going to be the most understanding people to confide in and it turns out they are like anyone else (who hasn’t dealt with infertility). And I never rushed for this sorority so how the fuck did I get here? We should at least have parties…or whatever they do in sororities.

  2. I’m so sorry this wall has come up between you and your sister – if someone doesn’t get it already, how can you make them and protect yourself from further hurt and resentment? It’s so hard when you want to let someone in, let them be there for you, and it backfires on you. Especially when it’s someone you don’t want to lose that closeness with, yet it’s like they don’t even really know you anymore, when this horrid thing is so huge in our life.

    All that being said, I think you should totally plan this concert adventure, and think of it like an infertility vacation. Last summer I went to see INXS – love love loved them ever since I was 16, know every song by heart. Had a hard time getting over the new lead singer thing, but finally felt ready. Splurged on great seats, went with my best friend, got drunk, schmoozed an usher to get right up next to the stage, made friends with everyone around us (like, we’re even on facebook to this day) and sang and danced and partied my ass off and remembered the joy of my younger self. Seriously one of the happiest nights of the past 3 years, and I still turn to that memory now. Especially since I got a guitar pick from the band – booya! So you should just do it AND HAVE THE BEST TIME. So little can make us happy these days, you just gotta DO IT!!!

  3. 1. That concert sounds amazing. Brings me right back to my junior and senior high school years and a sudden need to fill my iPhone full of cheesy 90’s music to listen to all summer.
    2. Major points to you for the White Christmas reference and video!! It’s one of my favorite movies of all time. I watch it every year as soon as I consider it a perfect time to start my Christmas movies.
    3. I hate the sorority we’re in, but at least the company is awesome. 🙂 I wish others understood, maybe that would make it just a little bit better.

  4. Mmm with two older sisters that had it very easy to get pregnant it’s hard, how can they possibly get it! I have gotten the same sort of comments, even now when we are gearing up towards treatments again. There was a reason we were thrown right into IVF with ICSI. It’s a medical condition so no, we don’t hold much hope for it to happen naturally. Sadly enough.

    Anyway, I agree that you could see this as a welcoming break and spending some quality time with your sister.

    • The rest of my family is soooo fertile. It’s annoying. They’re all long done having their kids, and we haven’t even started yet. But I’m definitely looking forward to spending a fun, relaxing weekend with my sister.

  5. I think that some time with your sister in that setting — the concert, the songs, the memories — will be a great place for her to see and understand how much this really sucks for you. It may be a time when you can open up…

    I loved this post — “wall of infertility” is a terribly apt phrase and damn this sorority — great people, terrible social events (full of bruises and needles and wacky side effects).

    • Yeah, I definitely need to talk to her about this a little more. I go into so much detail here, and I think I need to do that (on a much smaller scale) with her, too.

      Bruises and needles and hormones, oh my! I sure wish this sorority threw better parties!

  6. Sing it, sister! (Hah!) Seriously, though, this is a great post about navigating some very tricky waters when it comes to family and infertility. Thanks for posting.

  7. Sidenote:
    I want to go to that concert.

    I’m sorry you feel so distanced from your sister. I don’t have a sister, but I do have close girl friends who I’ve felt were getting away from me.
    At the end of the day I found that what bridged the divide was unbridled honesty. They know all. They read my blog, I am always honest about evverything. They don’t “get it” fully but they try, because I share my pain openly. I don’t know if that helps, but that’s what helped me.
    Much love!

    • I need to share maybe an nth of what I write here with my sister. There’s a certain freedom in writing here, knowing that no one IRL reads it (that I know of), but I do need to work on communicating better with those who aren’t privy to my every thought and anxiety about our infertility. I talked to my sister today, and we are so doing this. I guess that’s my opportunity.

      Thanks for the support. Much love right back at ‘cha.

  8. 90’s music is the best ever!!
    It’s so easy to feel distance with those we feel close too. It sounds like you should take the trip with your sister! It will be good for the both of you.

  9. My mom used to sing that song to my sister and I when we were fighting. HA!

    I hate what I’ve seen happen to some of my friendships, but this crap changes us and gives us a different life view. I know what hurts me most about the off hand comments is the dismissal of our pain. Like it’s not a big deal and we’re over reacting or something. Makes me want to punch things.

    And OMG I just clicked on that link and they’re coming here! No good concerts ever come here! Whoopie!

    • You should totally go!

      I can’t even tell you how weird some of my friendships have gotten. One person actually offered to be a surrogate for us. Um, not sure how you think that helps, since our problem is with sperm, but thanks, I guess?

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