Tuesday, September 19, 2006

My sister, my confidant?

My sister was in town recently. My sister is very important to me, and her visits can feel emotionally charged. It's weird how a sibling relationship can be both more and less intense than a "normal" friend relationship. There can be a closeness and history that is more intense than what is experienced with most friends. But there is also a tendency to treat a sibling with less care than one would another friend. As with a romantic relationship of long standing, so much is assumed.

When my sister visits I want to get as much focused time with her as possible, but know that other things will intervene. Ada takes a lot of energy and attention, my sister has friends in town she'd like to see, and this time much of the visit was taken up with a wedding that she, her fiance, my parents, Chris, Ada and I were attending. (Oh right, and that I officiated.) I recently wrote about feeling insecure about the ceremony, which I crafted for my close friends based on our conversations and my knowledge of them from many years of friendship. My sister's positive feedback was very important to me, in no small part because she is so smart and incisive. Knowing she liked the ceremony made me feel good about it in a way that, until we talked, I did not know I needed.

Despite my closeness with my sister, I held off on sharing the blog with her. I've been wanting to tell my sister about the blog but have been too big a weenie to do it. Really, how was I supposed to tell my younger, brilliant grad student, excellent writer sister that I'm writing publicly about my daughter's poop and my own petty frustrations? I can't believe I kept this a secret so long, but my fear of what she will think has kept me silent. I don't worry that she'll mock the blog to me, or even to our shared friends. I do worry that she'll mock it, that she'll think it is boring, or that the writing is bad. I already have this fear with other people. A college friend and his wife apparently check in once in a while. Both smart, funny people, those two. So I worry that they think I am ridiculous, but mostly I can deal with that. (It helps that I have incriminating photos of my friend from his less suave periods.) Another woman I know recently found the blog while searching for my friends' wedding site. Instead of worrying, I am just thrilled that she checks in once in a while. (Hi Kath!) I think it helps that I don't know her very well. Also, I can't wait for her next film to get finished, so I can tell you about it here.

But back to my sister. At first I thought I would tell her after I'd be writing here for six months. Then I thought I'd tell her when she came to visit for the wedding. But she came and left and I didn't mention the site. And now I have another reason to want to hold off, but it is the same reason I want to share with her. I decided I wanted to write about her, or really about our relationship. It feels wrong to get into that without telling her that I am writing about it, in public no less.

There are so many things I've want to talk to her about lately, including what for me is a difficult transition to knowing her partnered. I have always been able to command her time more fully during visits. Now she has a partner, soon to be spouse. Understandably, she loves him more than anyone. Although I barely know him, I can see how crazy she is for him, the extent to which her universe has shifted to accommodate his move to its center. I don't love him yet (how could I after only three visits?) but I love how much she loves him. But I am jealous, too. I am coming to terms with the fact that I things have changed, and not in a way that soothes my need for her attention and approval.

My sister had to face such a change when Chris and I got involved. Fifteen years ago, when she was 14, my sister met Chris. It was not an immediate bond. Now they get along well and even have an independent friendship of sorts, but I am sure it was an effort to deal with a changed relationship with her older sister.

I talked to my sister this weekend. After what feels like months of conversations about nothing, we talked about her visit and getting to know her with her guy. After an hour of talking, I finally admitted to the blog. (And I didn't even get to have 3 beers first) She asked a couple of polite questions. And we moved on.

It was a little anti-climactic, and a little disappointing that she didn't seem very interested. But that's ok, because I finally told her. The thing that had bothered me the most was feeling I was keeping something from her. Now that I've told her, I don't feel like I'm holding out on her. Much better for the relationship, and probably for the blog.


  1. The whole sister thing is wonderful and complicated - in some respects it can feel like there is no one closer (you came from the same womb, usually, and you shared a childhood, a love of parents, a home). Siblings are the family of your childhood. So it can be challenging, sometimes, when you experience moving off into your own families.I had that experience, anyway, with my own sister (who knows about my blog, and is mostly, eh, meh.)

  2. I'm glad you shared your blog with your sister. I think you have nothing to be embarassed about. You're an extremely talented writer and I always enjoy hearing your perspective on what's going on in your life. I think that sometimes, we (as parents) feel that our lives are a little trivial and unexplainable to those without children. But hey, it's part of who we are now, right? That being said, my brother has always known about my blog. He just never reads it. THAT kills me.

  3. ironic cupcake picture!

  4. It was a difficult adjustment for me, too, when my sister moved in with her significant other. Visits are weird now, her with him and me with my husband. We haven't fully transitioned yet and it's been rocky so I get ya, sister.

  5. This is so hard. I also feel so close to my sister but yet I havent told her about my blog. The more time that goes by the harder it seems to find the way to slip it in. I'm glad you were able to share this with her and can feel like you've disclosed.

  6. Some of my sisters (and one of my brothers) read my blog.

    I don't know what they really think of it. They never comment. I only know that they read it because they say things that reflect a knowledge of my blog postings.

    Sometimes I feel a little self-conscious about what I write since I know they will be reading, but mostly I figure that if they don't know who I am after all these years, they never will.

    Sometimes, though, I want to vent about THEM, and I can't do that for obvious reasons.

    The real hold out is my MOM. She thinks blogging is weird and kind of attention-seeking, like a post-modern narcissism that perpetuates itself endlessly. And since I like my mom and generally respect her opinions, it can be a bit...disconcerting. But I blog away, figuring (and hoping?) that she just doesn't get it.

    In any case, I hope your sister stops in often. It's such a nice way to keep up with each other's daily lives. It's not so hard to keep up with the Big Stuff, but sometimes it's fun to let the people you care about in on the more ordinary parts of your world.

  7. My family has always known about the blog because at first it was just a miles update site. Now I sometimes wish they didn't know about it so that I could write about them (mostly my parents). Congrats on telling your sister. It sounds like it was a scary thing to do, and it is good to do scary things sometimes. And you really shouldn't feel nervous about people reading your blog. You are a great writer (I know, nobody ever believes it about themselves but I am telling you it is true).