I just finished reading Suffering Summer's post about her nephew and it made me think of my own family dynamics. She talks about how her nephew has changed her life in ways she never knew or expected and how much she loves him. I am saddened to say that I have never met my sister's daughter in person. She is pregnant with baby #2 and is due in September and I really hope to see her this summer. Sis hasn't met my youngest girlie, either.
Sis got married to a man that lives in another state and so after the wedding, and when job transfer came through, she settled with her new hubby in his home. They have been busy making his house their home together and got pregnant not long after the wedding. I was so excited for her and the pregnancy, and it was nice that I was pregnant with baby #3 at the same time she was pregnant with her first. We could compare notes and I enjoyed being the experienced one for a change, me being the youngest and already on my third child. But her baby came prematurely and then I felt helpless and prayed that baby would come through healthy. She did and has grown to be a beautiful little girl.
Sis lived with us for a while when we lived at the old house and she was a great Auntie to my first 2 girlies. Then life happened and we got pulled apart; we moved, she moved... I miss my sister and we talk about every 2 weeks on videophone. It's one of those things you hook up to the TV with a camera that sits on top and you call someones' videophone (VP) and have conversation. It's great for us Deaf people, to sit and sign and the conversations flow much faster than it would to type on a TDD (tele-type device for the Deaf) or via e-mails. The kids come in and say hi to each other and then we shoo the kids away and talk and catch up on news, happenings and life. I hope that when we finally manage to get together again, my niece will recognize me as the "lady" that her mommy talks to on the "TV" and won't shy away from me for too long.
My Sis and I grew up sort of separately, with her going away to Deaf school in the fall and coming home on weekends. We had summers together and I remember them as being filled with adventures of us exploring the creeks and woods, imagining ourselves as pirates or detectives. We found the bones of some animal once, and all sorts of tales sprouted-- hunting for vampires eating poor defenseless animals, or something eerie lurking about and what have you. Or we would play on the couch and pretend we were on an island and there were crocodiles swimming in the carpeted ocean just waiting to snap up an overhanging arm or leg and then we'd flail about crying to be rescued! Sis was always a crafty child and taught herself to crochet and cross stitch and plastic canvas, so when she didn't want to be bothered by her little sister, she would shoo me away while she crocheted a granny square blanket or bury her nose in Nancy Drew mysteries.
During the week, when Sis was away at school, I dutifully went to public school every morning, came home in the afternoons and spent my days with mom and dad. We moved a few times and I found it hard to make friends, so I spent a lot of my time reading books or losing myself in fantasy world. I'd wander around the neighborhood on my bike or hike through the woods and come home in time for dinner. Life then was different, and a kid could be left alone without parents worrying about bad people stealing your child away to do harm. I looked forward to weekends, for the short time when Sis was home and I'd have someone to play with. We'd pick her up on Friday afternoons, stop at the food store and then we'd take her back on Sunday.
Now that we are adults and have families of our own, with Sis there and me here, I find it hard and I miss her. I wish she lived next door and our children could play together, grow up close and I could come over for lunch when our hubbies are away. She is a great partner when we go yard sale-ing and thrift store shopping together and I miss her company. I never dreamed that we would end up living so far away from each other and I know that life will do that sometimes, life will take people and tear them apart and plant them to grow in different places. Sis is living a life I am not familiar with, a town I have never been to, a husband I have known only a short time, a daughter I have never hugged. I don't see our paths crossing any time soon, and I have to satisfy myself with occasional visits and bi-weekly VP conversations.
They say that money can't buy happiness. But money could buy me some plane tickets and then I'd take the family and fly. I'd be happy. Money could buy two houses next door to each other and set up a college fund for each kid and have it so the Hubbies don't need to work. Money could buy Sis a craft shop and me a thrift shop. I'd be happy. I'd be happy to see Sis again, hold my niece, give her a kiss and have her meet her 3 cousins for the first time. I'd be happy.