Although I am very close with my daughters and am becoming closer with my son-in-law, my siblings have never been really close.
I remember I was close to my brother, when we were very small, and I loved my youngest sister, Caroline very much when she came along.
When I was a child I had jealousy problems with my other sister, Elizabeth, who was vivacious and pretty unlike my plain and sullen little self. During therapy as an adult, I found out that my whole childhood from age three had been one long sulk because she had been born when I was three years old and had 'put my nose out of joint'. I remember laughing when I was eleven and thinking 'So this is what laughing is!' My mother used to often tell me to stop sulking and I would always reply 'I'm not sulking. This is just the way my mouth goes.'
I left home when Caroline was eleven and at the time I did not like my parents and was very happy to leave. This did mean that I never really got to know Caroline as a teenager and young adult. This is a regret of mine.
As adults we have all gone our separate ways, even to different countries and we tended to hear about each other's doings via our mother. This year has been a change.
I just started to write about my younger sister Caroline and realise that I had already written a post about her so check it out if you missed it.
Well the update is she never did contact Mum even though I gave her all the information, even for Christmas. Of course I told Mum all about the conversation we had, thinking that Caroline would be contacting her soon. Mum is getting very forgetful these days and I often have the same conversation with her several times because she had forgotten about the other conversations on that subject. Well, we were talking about Caroline, and Mum said again that Caroline obviously gets her needs met by her mother-in-law and I said again that she does not contact her mother-in-law either, but feels content with her daughter and husband. In the past I have sent several long emails that have not even been acknowledged, and continued to send cards throughout the rift within the family but I must confess that I didn't send a Christmas card this year. It wasn't a conscious decision but I have got so used to not knowing where she was, that she is not on my list.
My other sister is in the USA and sent one of those printed book/photo albums to Mum and a Christmas present. Mum was very impressed. It was a lovely book. The story of the Axe family in pictures. I must say I was a little hurt by the fact that, although there are pictures of Mike's family, there was not a picture of my family in there even though we visited several times before they left for America. But I know that when they went they traveled light and only took a small selection of photos with them. Of course there is a possibility that they don't have the photos that I have of the two families.
Since she left in 1990 we have had two phone conversations, both of which have been very pleasant, long and chatty. So there is no animosity there, we just don't seem to feel the need to communicate with each other. When I lived in North Carolina I went to Seattle to a conference and suggested that as she was living in the same state, we get together for a chat. Unfortunately she had another commitment at the same time and so we could not meet.
My brother is the only sibling that lives in England and he has never lived abroad. In the past we have seen each other about every 2 or 3 years but this year we have seen each other a few times, emailed and phoned too. We have had some wonderful conversations and I have really appreciated getting closer to him. He has also been very generous, which has given me a lovely warm feeling.
The cousins have recently got in contact with each other via facebook. There is not much communication there, I think, but there is some connection.
The lack of communication between members of my family does not mean that I do not think of them. On the contrary, they are in my daily prayers.